Thursday, July 26, 2007

Wachowski Brothers as the Creators

Wachowski Brothers are the Creators of the Speed Racer movie. Both are huge comic/anime fans and were inspired by the original cartoon series enough to make it their next big project.
Andy and Larry Wachowski are mysterious filmmakers who want their films to stand out as well as on their own. For the popular Matrix films, they signed it into their contracts to avoid press junkets and pictures that they believed would detract from the film.
Their Matrix films were essentially a merging of various philosophic thoughts and the popular Japanese anime style that became popular with cartoons like 'Speed Racer' as well as movies like 'Ghost in the Shell.'
After the Matrix films, the Wachowskis help produce the big screen adaptation of 'V for Vendetta,' based on the wildly popular graphic novel by Alan Moore. Seeing as how cartoons, anime, comics, and graphic novels fit into their work, the Wachowski brothers are a perfect fit to bring the story of Speed Racer to the screen.

Matthew Fox as Racer X

Matthew Fox

Matthew Fox is known to an older generation, such as my own, as Charlie Salinger on the long running FOX drama, "Party of Five". After a few years off Television Matthew Fox ran head on into the phenomenon known as "Lost."

Staring as the lead role and tribal leader of the "Lost" victims, Fox stepped in front of the big screen cameras for juicy roles in Smokin' Aces, Vantage Point, We Are Marshall and Speed Racer.

Matthew Fox will be staring as Racer X. In the cartoon series, Racer X's true identity is a mystery to Speed.

Susan Sarandon as Mom Racer

Susan Sarandon as Mom Racer.It was after the 1968 Democratic convention and there was a casting call for a film with several roles for the kind of young people who had disrupted the convention.

Two recent graduates of Catholic University in Washington DC, went to the audition in New York for Joe (1970). Chris Sarandon, who had studied to be an actor, was passed over. His wife Susan got a major role. [ source:imdb ]

John Goodman as Pops Racer

John Goodman is Pops Racer. The versatile Goodman has been a staple on film and television for over 20 years with his biggest break coming as Roseanne's husband in the long running sitcom, Roseanne (1988-1997).

After 221 episodes you'd think that one might need a break from acting. However, John kept going and appeared in various TV shows like "The West Wing" and dozens of movies including O Brother, Where Art Thou? and Monsters, Inc.

Speed Racer Offical Storyline

Via the Warner Bros. Official Speed Racer Website, the offical storyline:

From writer/directors Larry and Andy Wachowski, the creators of the groundbreaking “The Matrix” trilogy, and producer Joel Silver comes the live-action, high-octane family adventure “Speed Racer.”

Hurtling down the track, careening around, over and through the competition, Speed Racer (Emile Hirsch) 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 (John Goodman), 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 (Roger Allam) 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 (Christina Ricci), Speed teams with his one-time rival—the mysterious Racer X (Matthew Fox)—to win the race that had taken his brother’s life: the death-defying, cross-country rally known as The Crucible.

Slated for release on May 9, 2008, “Speed Racer” marks the Wachowski brothers’ first writing/directing collaboration since “The Matrix” movies. Joel Silver, who previously worked with the Wachowskis on “The Matrix” movies and “V For Vendetta,” is producing the film under his Silver Pictures banner.

The film stars Emile Hirsch (“Alpha Dog”) as Speed, Christina Ricci (“Black Snake Moan”) as Trixie, Matthew Fox (TV’s “Lost”) as Racer X, and Oscar winner Susan Sarandon (“Dead Man Walking”) and John Goodman (“Evan Almighty”) as Mom and Pops Racer. Rounding out the main cast are Australian actor Kick Gurry (“Spartan”) as Sparky; Paulie Litt (TV’s “Hope & Faith”) as Spritle; Roger Allam (“The Queen,” “V For Vendetta”) as Royalton; and Asian music star Ji Hoon Jung (popularly known as Rain), making his major feature film debut as a rival driver.

Based on the classic series created by anime pioneer Tatsuo Yoshida, the live-action “Speed Racer” will showcase the kind of revolutionary visual effects and cutting-edge storytelling that have become the benchmarks of the Wachowski brothers’ films.

“Speed Racer” is a Warner Bros. Pictures presentation, in association with Village Roadshow Pictures, of a Silver Pictures Production.

Christina Ricci as Trixie

Christina Ricci

Christina Ricci speed racerChristina Ricci is an Emmy Award-nominated who shot to fame as a child actress. Her first big break came with the role of Wednesday Addams in The Addams Family (1991) and the sequel Addams Family Values (1993). Since then, Ricci has kept busy in movies and television by constantly picking unique roles including the recent Penelope.

Her portrayal of Rae in the controversial Black Snake Moan raised many eyebrows and is the complete opposite of the role as 'Trixie' in 'Speed Racer.' As Speed's girlfriend, Trixie is spunky and stubborn and usually gets her way.

Speed Racer - Christina Ricci Interview

Hiroyuki Sanada as Mr. Musha

Hiroyuki Sanada is the extremely talented Japanese actor that few American have had a chance to see on the silver screen. He stared in the original 'Ring' horror film 'Ringu' and has been in big budgeted movies lately like The Last Samurai and Sunshine which opens this summer.

When asked by Hoga Central about his portrayal of the stereotypical Japanese villain in a mostly American cast, Sanada replied :

A Japanese villain is a bit delicate position for Japanese people, but if I say I don't do this role, after all it will be played by non-Japanese actor in a stereotype way like in the past. I have a desire to change such stereotype, so I dared to accept the role and want to express it in a proper way. In that sense, my position is the same as in "The White Countess" (where he played a Japanese spy who causes the fall of Shanghai).

Sanada goes on to talk about the Speed Racer adaptation from anime to live action movie:

"I am playing a Japanese owner of race teams, an ambitious businessman. There is a main villain, and my role is in a position to support this guy, or to sway to either side for the sake of money.

It is great that this Japanese anime classic gets remade and introduced to the world, now that animation has been established as a leading form of Japanese pop culture. I hear the original anime is popular only in Japan and the U.S., but it has a universal theme and I believe it will be accepted in other countries.

The essence of the original is all there, but the visuals will be quite new and different. Wachowski Brothers are trying to load it with various new things that you have never seen. Although it is a live action, it probably will be even more anime-like than the real anime, with colorful and futuristic circuits. So in that sense, it will be more a reborn rather than a remake. I hope it will make people interested in the original anime in new territories as well, so even if a Japanese man is a bad guy in this Japanese-originated story, I believe still the benefit exceeds the negative. [ ...continued ]

Sunshine movie clip

Emile Hirsch As Speed

Emile Hirsch

has been tapped by the Wachowski Brothers to play the lead role of Speed in the upcoming live action movie for 'Speed Racer.' Emile Hirsch played various roles on TV shows for about five years before staring in the motion picture 'The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys.'

A few years later, Emile landed the lead in 'The Girl Next Door' as the high school neighbor to a porn star played by the very attractive Elisha Cuthbert. Hirsch's other film roles include Lords of Dogtown, The Emperor's Club, Alpha Dog and Into the Wild, which was directed by Sean Penn.

Speed Racer - Emile Hirsch Interview

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

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