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May 5, 2008

Speed Racer

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — nazalea @ 11:40 pm
 wikipedia
Theatrical poster
Directed by Wachowski brothers
Produced by Joel Silver
Grant Hill
Wachowski brothers
Written by Wachowski brothers
Starring Emile Hirsch
John Goodman
Christina Ricci
Susan Sarandon
Matthew Fox
Music by Michael Giacchino
Cinematography David Tattersall
Editing by Roger Barton
Zach Staenberg
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date(s) Flag of Germany May 8, 2008
Flag of the United States May 9, 2008
Running time 135 min.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $120 million

Speed Racer is an upcoming 2008 film that is a live action film adaptation of the 1960s Japanese anime series Speed Racer. The film is written and directed by the Wachowski brothers who also serve as co-producers. The film had been in development since 1992, changing writers and directors until producer Joel Silver and the Wachowski brothers collaborated to begin production on Speed Racer as a family film so the directors could reach a wider audience. Actor Emile Hirsch was cast as Speed, the hero of the animated series, and Christina Ricci portrays Speed’s girlfriend, Trixie. Speed Racer was produced in Germany at Babelsberg Studios, where filming took place entirely against greenscreen. The Wachowski brothers also filmed in high-definition video for the first time, using a layering method to put both the foreground and the background of scenes in focus to have a real-life anime appearance. Marketers have prepared toys and video games to coincide with the film’s release. Speed Racer premiered on May 3, 2008 as the closing film at the Tribeca Film Festival,[1] and will go on general release on May 9, 2008.

Synopsis

Hirsch and Ricci at the Tribeca Film Festival premiere.

Hirsch and Ricci at the Tribeca Film Festival premiere.

Speed Racer (Emile Hirsch) is a young man with natural racing instincts whose goal is to win The Crucible, a cross-country car racing rally that took the life of his older brother, Rex Racer (Scott Porter). Speed is loyal to the family business, run by his parents Pops (John Goodman) and Mom (Susan Sarandon). Pops designed Speed’s car, the Mach 5. The owner of Royalton Industries (Roger Allam) makes Speed a lucrative offer, but Speed rejects the offer, angering the owner. Speed also uncovers a secret that top corporate interests, including Royalton, are fixing races and cheating to gain profit. With the offer to Speed denied, Royalton wants to ensure that Speed will not win races. Speed finds support from his parents and his girlfriend Trixie (Christina Ricci) and enters The Crucible in a partnership with his one-time rival, Racer X (Matthew Fox), seeking to rescue his family’s business and the racing sport itself.

The story begins with Speed Racer who is a young man with natural racing instincts whose goal is to win The Crucible, a cross-country car racing rally that took the life of his older brother, Rex Racer. Speed is loyal to the family business, run by his parents Pops and Mom. Pops designed Speed’s car, the Mach 5. The owner of Royalton Industries makes Speed a lucrative offer, Speed rejects the offer, angering the owner. Speed also uncovers a secret that top corporate interests, including Royalton, are fixing races and cheating to gain profit. With the offer to Speed denied, Royalton wants to ensure that Speed will not win races. Speed finds support from his parents and his girlfriend Trixie and enters The Crucible in a partnership with his one-time rival, Racer X, seeking to rescue his family’s business and the racing sport itself. Written by Anthony Pereyra {hypersonic91@yahoo.com}

Hurtling down the track, careening around, over and through the competition, Speed Racer is a natural behind the wheel. Born to race cars, Speed is aggressive, instinctive and, most of all, fearless. His only real competition is the memory of the brother he idolized-the legendary Rex Racer – whose death in a race has left behind a legacy that Speed is driven to fulfill. Speed is loyal to the family racing business, led by his father, Pops Racer, the designer of Speed’s thundering Mach 5. When Speed turns down a lucrative and tempting offer from Royalton Industries, he not only infuriates the company’s maniacal owner but uncovers a terrible secret-some of the biggest races are being fixed by a handful of ruthless moguls who manipulate the top drivers to boost profits. If Speed won’t drive for Royalton, Royalton will see to it that the Mach 5 never crosses another finish line. The only way for Speed to save his family’s business and the sport he loves is to beat Royalton at his own game. With the support of his family and his loyal girlfriend, Trixie, Speed teams with his one-time rival-the mysterious Racer X – to win the race that had taken his brother’s life: the death-defying, cross-country rally known as The Crucible. Written by Warner Bros. Pictures. ( imdb)

Cast

  • Emile Hirsch as Speed Racer. Actors Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Shia LaBeouf were previously considered for the role.[3] To prepare for the role, Hirsch watched every Speed Racer episode and visited Lowe’s Motor Speedway, where he met with driver Jimmie Johnson.[4]
  • John Goodman as Pops Racer, Speed’s father.[5]
  • Susan Sarandon as Mom Racer, Speed’s mother.[5]
  • Christina Ricci as Trixie, Speed’s girlfriend. Ricci was chosen over Elisha Cuthbert and Kate Mara.[3]
  • Scott Porter as Rex Racer, Speed’s older brother.[6]
  • Matthew Fox as Racer X [5] Keanu Reeves turned down the role.[7]
  • Nayo Wallace as Minx, Racer X’s girlfriend.[8]
  • Hiroyuki Sanada as Mr. Musha, a businessman.[5]
  • Rain as Taejo Togokhan,[5] a rookie racer. Rain is a South Korean pop singer who is making his first appearance in a Hollywood film with Speed Racer.[9]
  • Yu Nan as the sister of Taejo Togokhan.[10]
  • Richard Roundtree as Ben Burns, a commentator who was formerly a racer.[11]
  • Benno Fürmann as Inspector Detector.[5]
  • Roger Allam as Royalton, the corrupt owner of Royalton Industries.[2]
  • Kick Gurry as Sparky, Speed’s mechanic.[5]
  • Paulie Litt as Spritle, Speed’s younger brother.[5]
  • A chimpanzee as Chim Chim, Spritle’s pet.[12] Two chimpanzees were used to portray Chim Chim: Kenzie and Willy.[13] In July 2007, PETA contacted Speed Racer producer Joel Silver about reports that the chimpanzee had been beaten and had also bitten one of the actors and encouraged production to switch to animatronics. A studio spokesperson confirmed that an actor had been bitten, but the actor was treated and the chimpanzee was given a rest. The studio denied to PETA that the chimpanzee had been mistreated, saying that the decision would remain to use live animals in production.[14]
  • Melvil Poupaud as a race commentator.[15]
  • Christian Oliver as Snake Oiler.[16]
  • Milka Duno as Gearbox.[17]

 

[edit] Project history

In September 1992, Warner Bros. Pictures announced that it held the option to create a live action film adaptation of Speed Racer, in development at Silver Pictures.[18] In October 1994, singer Henry Rollins was offered the role of Racer X in the film.[19] In June 1995, actor Johnny Depp was cast into the lead role for Speed Racer, with production slated to begin the coming October,[20] with filming to take place in California and Arizona.[21] The following August, Depp requested time off to the studio for personal business, delaying production.[22] However, due to a high budget,[23] the same August, director Julien Temple, who was attached to direct Speed Racer, left the project. Depp, without a director, also departed from the project. The studio considered director Gus Van Sant as a replacement for Temple,[24] though it would not grant writing privileges to Van Sant.[25] In December 1997, the studio briefly hired director Alfonso Cuarón for Speed Racer.[26] In the various incarnations of the project, screenwriters Marc Levin, Jennifer Flackett, J. J. Abrams, and Patrick Read Johnson had been hired to write scripts.[27]

In September 2000, Warner Bros. Pictures and producer Lauren Shuler Donner hired writer-director Hype Williams to take the helm of Speed Racer.[28] In October 2001, the studio hired screenwriters Christian Gudegast and Paul Scheuring for $1.2 million split between them to write a script for the film.[27] Eventually, without production going underway, the director and the writers left the project. In June 2004, actor Vince Vaughn spearheaded a revival of the project by presenting a take for the film that would develop the characters more strongly. Vaughn was cast as Racer X and was also attached to the project as an executive producer.[23] With production never becoming active, Vaughn was eventually detached from the project.[29]

 

[edit] Production

The Mach 5 (shown on display at the 2007 Comic-Con International), is designed to be driven, but was hung from a crane for the film's sequences and have its motoring effects computer-generated.

The Mach 5 (shown on display at the 2007 Comic-Con International), is designed to be driven, but was hung from a crane for the film’s sequences and have its motoring effects computer-generated.

In October 2006, directors Larry and Andy Wachowski were brought on board by the studio to write and direct Speed Racer. Producer Joel Silver, who had collaborated with the Wachowski brothers for V for Vendetta and The Matrix Trilogy, explained that the brothers were hoping to reach a broader audience with a film that would not be rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America. Visual effects designer John Gaeta, who won an Academy Award for Visual Effects for the Wachowski brothers’ The Matrix, was brought in to help conceive making Speed Racer into a live-action adaptation. Production was set to begin in summer 2007 in European locations for a summer 2008 release.[30] In November 2006, the release date for Speed Racer was set for May 23, 2008.[31] Producer Joel Silver described Speed Racer as a family film in line with the Wachowski brothers’ goal to reach a wider audience.[32]

In February 2007, the Wachowski brothers selected Babelsberg Studios in Germany to film Speed Racer.[33] In the following March, Warner Bros. moved the release date of Speed Racer two weeks earlier to May 9, 2008.[34] The studio received a grant of $12.3 million from Germany’s new Federal Film Fund, the largest yet from the organization, for production of Speed Racer in the Berlin-Brandenburg region.[35] The amount was later increased to $13 million.[36] Filming commenced on June 5, 2007 in Berlin,[32] and was shot entirely against greenscreen,[37] lasting 60 days.[13] The Wachowski brothers filmed in high-definition video for the first time.[38] With the camera, the Wachowskis used a layering approach that would put both the foreground and the background in focus to give it the appearance of real-life anime.[39] The film will have a “retro future” look, according to Silver. The Mach 5, the vehicle driven by the protagonist Speed, was an actual vehicle.[12] Filming completed by August 25, 2007.[40] The Wachowskis purchased the rights to the sound effects and theme song of the television series for use in the film.[39]

 

[edit] Marketing

Further information: Speed Racer (2008 video game)

The film will be backed by multiple promotional partners with over $80 million in marketing support. The partners include General Mills, McDonald’s, Target, Topps, Esurance, Mattel, and LEGO. The film also received support from companies outside of America in an attempt to attract international audiences. With early support before the film’s release, the studio provided 3d computer models of the Speed Racer vehicle Mach 5 to the companies so they could accurately render the vehicle in their merchandise. Warner Bros. is aiming to garner enough attention for Speed Racer so it would spawn sequels.[41]

Mattel will produce toys based on the film through several divisions. Hot Wheels will produce die-cast vehicles, race sets and track sets. Tyco will produce remote-controlled Mach 5s and racing sets. Radica Games will produce video games in which players can use a car wheel. The products will become available in March 2008.[42] Also, The LEGO Company will be producing 4 LEGO sets based on the movie.[43] As part of the General Mills promotional tie-in, during the 2008 Crown Royal Presents the Dan Lowry 400, part of the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup season, the famous #43 Dodge Charger of Petty Enterprises was transformed into a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series version of the Mach 5, driven by Bobby Labonte.

Warner Bros. will also self-publish a video game based on Speed Racer to be released on the Nintendo DS, Wii and PlayStation 2.[44] The game will be released on the Nintendo DS and Wii in May with the film’s theatrical release and on the PS2 in the fall to accompany the film’s DVD and Blu-ray release. Due to a short development schedule, the studio chose not to develop games for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.[45]

 

[edit] Reception

Todd McCarthy of Variety called the film “pure cotton candy [but] too sweet and pretty for young people to resist”. He said that the target audience of families and children should be amused, but that others might think the film “a cinematic pile-up”, citing its implausibility and the lack of identifiable peril in the driving sequences. McCarthy noted that no expense had been spared on the effects, saying that viewers with an interest in CGI innovations would be “in a corner of heaven”, but that the frame sometimes resembled “nothing so much as a kindergartner’s art class collage”. He had praise for the cinematography and the “playful and busy” musical score. He also said that even if not much was asked of them “other than to look alert and driven”, the cast was “very good for this sort of thing”, and Roger Allam made “a delicious love-to-hate-him villain”.


 

The Mach 5 from <I>Speed Racer</I>
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3 Comments »

  1. The Wachowski bros certainly put a lot of effort into making Speed Racer… the movie overall looked and felt like a cross between anime, a kaleidoscope, that Flintstones movie, a video game and the Dukes of Hazard

    Comment by patrick — May 15, 2008 @ 11:49 pm

  2. Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Malcontent.

    Comment by Malcontent — June 19, 2008 @ 4:17 am

  3. Thx for your comment, Malcontent..
    I will try to write a post nicely than i did. and i need your wish to do that. thx…

    Comment by manganimevsfilm — June 19, 2008 @ 7:56 am


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