The on-again, off-again, and now on-again movie remake of The Sweeney is taking shape, as the 21st century incarnations of DI Jack Regan (Ray Winstone) and DS George Carter (Ben Drew, a.k.a. Plan B) are ﬁlming—with the Ford Focus ST as their car of choice.
Six early-build STs were delivered to the Sweeney set last month. The car goes on sale next year.
The ST is the sporting version of the new, third-generation Ford Focus, launched in most markets earlier this year. Shown at the IAA Frankfurt show in September, the hottest (for now), 250 PS model carries on the lineage of high-performance, retail C-segment Fords that trace their lineage back to the 1970 Escort Mexico.
Also in the new movie are Ford Mondeo, Galaxy and Transit models, used as unmarked vehicles.
Nick Love (The Football Factory) directs the new ﬁlm. He has collaborated on the screenplay with John Hodge (Trainspotting).
Hayley Atwell (Captain America), Damien Lewis (The Escapist), Steven Mackintosh (Underworld: the Rise of the Lycans) and Paul Anderson (from 2009’s The Firm) also star in the new movie.
Love felt it was important to honour the original TV series, which used Ford cars. The original pilot, Regan, saw the use of a Mk IV Ford Zephyr in an early scene, while the bulk of the series saw the lead character, played by John Thaw, in various Ford Consuls and Granadas. The Sweeney was spun off in to two big-screen outings in the 1970s, where Fords were also used by the main cast members.
The Sweeney is also notable for being one of Dennis Waterman’s most famous roles, before he starred in Minder.
The use of a Focus, rather than a full-size Ford car, highlights how much vehicles have grown dimensionally since the 1970s.
Interest in a Sweeney remake has surfaced from time to time since the series went off the air in 1978. As well as two Comic Strip parodies, Nissan poked fun at the series with commercials in the 1990s.
The remake of a rival ’70s cop show in the late 1990s, The Professionals, arguably failed to capture the spirit of the original when only a minority of episodes saw the characters adopt Ford cars. The successful 2006 BBC series Life on Mars, set in 1973, had its creative origins in The Sweeney.
Production company Vertigo plans to release the movie in September 2012.—Jack Yan, Publisher, Lucire