Speed Racer (US live-action movie)
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Among the supporting cast are Rain and Milka Duno. Rain is one of South Korea's most popular singers. Venezuelan-born Milka Duno is a former model and a professional race car driver, having competed in the Rolex Sports Car series and the Indy Racing League.
Peter Fernandez, the original voice of Speed Racer, makes a cameo appearance as a race commentator.
During the film, Royalton mentions he did all of his work in the past on a Commodore 64. Commodore 64's where used mostly for video games, and various other programs.
The idea of a live-action Speed Racer feature started in September 1992, when Warner Bros. announced the option to produce one. Initial casting included Johnny Depp as Speed and singer Henry Rollins as Racer X. British music video director Julien Temple was to be at the helm, but he and Depp dropped out at almost the same time. Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting) and Alfonso Cuarón (Children of Men) were also offered the director's chair.
In 2000, producer Lauren Shuler Donner (wife of acclaimed producer/director Richard Donner) and rap music video director Hype Williams were given control of the project by Warner Bros., but they both stepped out.
Prior to the official release, actor Vince Vaughn spearheaded the Speed Racer project by by being the executive producer and starring as Racer X. Due to lack of production, Vaughn eventually abandoned the project.
Aside from numerous negative reviews from critics, Speed Racer also received an "Unacceptable" rating by the American Humane Association. During a training session, a trainer hit one of the chimpanzees playing the role of Chim-Chim, after it bit a stand-in actor doing the role of Spritle.
According to producer Joel Silver, this movie was largely shot in green screen.
Rose McGowan was seriously considered for the part of Trixie, but the directors felt she was too old.
Danica Patrick was reportedly offered a cameo but declined secondary to racing commitments with Andretti Green Racing and the Indy Racing League.
Keanu Reeves turned down the role of Racer X.
Some prints were shipped to movie theaters under the name "Race Chasers".
In the original draft of the script, Royalton's name was Remmington.
The view inside Speed's locker at the start of the film shows his watch to be a Heuer Monaco Sportiva, the same watch worn by Steve McQueen in the classic racing film Le Mans (1971).
Technically, Speed Racer (2008) was a first in many areas but two stand-out. It was the first film to use the Sony F23 Digital Film Camera and also to record in parallel to Sony HDCAM SR, for archive masters, and to Codex Digital Data Recorders for on-set uncompressed HD playback, digital dailies and file generation for editing and VFX.
All the people that do a lot of driving in the movie did it in a "gimble" - a cockpit of car attached to a hydraulic system that had the race sequences programmed into them.
In the first race, where Speed is in the criss-crossing section with Rex Racer's "ghost car", their motion resembles the fighter plane attack maneuver called the "Thach Weave", invented by US Navy pilot John S. Thach in World War II.
Shot in 60 days.
In a number of scenes, the "bokeh" (out of focus points of light) are shaped differently than the usual circles or ovals. The most obvious of these is when young Speed sees Trixie for the first time - the unfocused lights become hearts. In the Royalton's opulent club, they are shaped as diamonds, and in a number of the race scenes, they are squares or rectangles.
Peter Fernandez's final movie debut.
To prepare for his role, Emile Hirsch watched every episode of Speed Racer, and paid a visit to Lowe's Motor Speedway, where he met and got advice from racecar driver Jimmie Johnson.
This is the first time the Wachowski Brothers have filmed a movie in high-definition (HD) film. With this format, they could utilize a layering approach that gave equal clarity to the foreground and background of each scene in the film, creating the appearance of real-life anime.
In October 1994, Henry Rollins was offered the role of Racer X.
In September 2000, Hype Williams was briefly hired to direct the film and writers Christian Gudegast and Paul Scheuring were hired to write the script. They left when the production failed to materialize.
After winning a race, Speed Racer jumps out of his car while it's still moving and strikes a pose as his car slows and stops just behind him; in addition, the lights flashing in the grandstand behind Speed briefly dissolve into a red-yellow checkerboard background. This scene replicates the trademark pose of Speed Racer in the opening credits of Speed Racer.
Shia LaBeouf, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zac Efron were considered for the role of Speed Racer. LaBeouf had previously done Transformers, and Gordon-Levitt went on to do G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra - two other films adapted from an animated series.
While the racecars are totally fictional, most of the pedestrian cars are actually based on real-life futuristic concept cars (one can easily spot an orange Rinspeed E-GO Rocket parked at the nearest to the screen when Rex picks Speed up from school). At one point, two Peugeot concept cars (the award-winning Peugeot 4002 Lion design and the quirky Moonster) are seen as well.
A working drivable Mach 5 automobile was constructed for the film. It was hung from a crane for its driving sequences. The rest of the racecar automobiles were completely computer-generated, with the actors sitting in a gimbal, a racecar cockpit with a computer-programmed hydraulic system.
Katsuji Mori, Kiyoshi Kobayashi, & Kenji Utsumi were the only original voice actors from "Machi Go Go" to provide voice work in the Japanese dub of this movie.
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