The Story Behind the Movie <i>The Bikeriders</i>

You may have seen the new movie The Bikeriders this weekend, starring Austin Butler and Jodie Comer. The movie is about a fictional outlaw motorcycle gang called The Vandals. While the setting is fictional, it is based on the 1968 book of the same name by Danny Lyon, which is non-fiction.

After writing about the Civil Rights movement, Lyon spent 1963 to 1967 documenting the Chicago motorcycle club the Outlaws in interviews and photographs. He ended up joining the group in 1966 for a couple of years, despite advice from Hunter S, Thompson to “get the hell out of that club.” Filmmaker Jeff Nichols read the book in 2003, and has been trying to get the movie made ever since. The plot of the movie was contrived, but 70% of the dialogue is based on Lyon’s interviews. Benny, the character played by Auston Butler, was never interviewed and only appears in photographs with his face obscured. Nichols insisted on changing the name of the motorcycle gang to avoid comparing the 1968 Outlaws to today’s club, which still exists with 1,700 members in more than 100 chapters. Read about Lyon, his book, and the movie that came from it at Smithsonian.

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Source: neatorama

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