Back in 2001, BMW decided that instead of the usual billboards with lame captions or boring TV commercials, they would try something new with the advertising of their new range of cars. Titled The Hire, the campaign consisted of a series of eight short films, all starring then up-and-coming actor Clive Owen as The Driver, a mysterious man who gets hired by various people to transport a number of different items to different locations, each with their own unique set of challenges.
The films all showed off different BMW cars in incredible feats of driving, but what made even more special was each that of them co-starred a wealth of Hollywood talent and was directed by either hot prospect filmmakers or established screen legends. John Frankenheimer, Ang Lee, Wong Kar-wai, Guy Ritchie, Alejandro González Iñárritu, John Woo, Joe Carnahan and the late Tony Scott all contributed entries. My favourites were the Guy Ritchie directed Star and Joe Carnahan’s Ticker (this was actually where I first discovered Carnahan), but they were all brilliant in their own way. The groundbreaking films were released online at a time where such a thing as Youtube didn’t even exist yet, but they still managed to draw massive numbers, clocking in at over 100 million views online.
And now, 15 years later, BMW have revived the campaign for a brand new short film titled The Escape. And this short film is directed by none other than our very own Neill Blomkamp (District 9, Elysium) and once again sees Owen back as the silky smooth Driver. Joining him in this new 11-minute long vehicular adventure will be Dakota Fanning, Vera Farmiga and The Punisher himself Jon Bernthal. The Escape will be released on Sunday, October 23rd on BMWFilms.com, but a sneak peek of the action has already been released. Check it out below!
How cool does that look?! Blomkamp himself appears to be even more excited to be working on this project than we are about the fact that it’s returning. And as he explained to THR, this has been a long time coming:
“I was like, ‘Man, count me in. When I was in film school, these films were really groundbreaking. They seemed like the perfect halfway point between commercials and features. I actually emailed the production company as a 20-year-old and was like, ‘I’d really like to make one of these.’ They wrote back, ‘Never contact us again.’ And here I am [laughs].”
And for those of you who are (very, very) late to the party, you can check out all the original short films from The Hire in the Youtube playlist below.
Last Updated: September 21, 2016