Rev Your Engines: Get Ready For Speed Racer - New Photos and More!
The latest issue of Entertainment Weekly features an exclusive preview of The Wachowski's upcoming film Speed Racer, due out in mid-May. We luckily got our hands on a few of the photos from the article early as well as some of the quotes, including detailed explanations behind the visual style straight from multiple visual effects supervisors. I've been waiting for a better way to explain how it looks and justify my excitement, and this is finally it. Speed Racer is one of the big summer films at the very top of my most anticipated list and this new preview only excites me more.
Originally titled Mach Go Go Go in Japan, the TV show was brought to America in 1967 and renamed Speed. Now 41 years later, the same two guys who brought us The Matrix are back to bring us even more groundbreaking, edge-of-your-seat entertainment in the live-action adaptation of the beloved cartoon series. We hope by now you've seen the latest trailer; even if you have, check out these photos and more importantly read the article - you might realize there's more to Speed Racer than you originally thought.
All excerpts below come from the Entertainment Weekly preview of Speed Racer.
Working almost exclusively with green-screen sets was challenging, says Christina Ricci, who plays Speed's sidekick/girfriend Trixie, but "everybody had a really great sense of humor about the whole thing. The brothers were just like, 'Okay! Yes. You can't see it, but, um, today you'll be in the snow.'"
Matthew Fox spent two months working on Racer X's distinctive voice in the movie. "I was sweating it pretty hard," says Fox. "Those blade glasses are very dark..and without the use of your eyes, you're finding other ways of making the audience want to find who this person is."
You've heard of kung-fu--and there's plenty of it in Speed Racer--but how about car-fu? "[The brothers] realized that real racing wasn't what they were after," says Muhen Leo, an effects supervisor. "So the idea of cars fighting one another came about early on. The idea is that drivers have such elaborate control over the cars that they could do kicks and spins and hit each other."
Because the actors weren't really racing, they were plopped instead into hydraulically-controlled cockpits that would bob and weave in real time along with what the cars were supposed to be doing on screen. "We gave the directors a joystick that would allow them to simulate other cars bumping into them," says Leo.
If these photos are looking a bit more two-dimensionsal than usual, that's by design. The Wachowskis "wanted to incorporate some of the limitations of '60s cell animation in the movie," says Leo. Explains fellow effects supervisor Kim Libreri: "The backgrounds are mostly from photographic elements that have been shot from locations around the world [and then] intensely processed to be super-colorful and super-contrasty."
"Do you remember the 1980s video game Outrun," asks Libreri, "with the palm trees flying past? A lot of the movie looks like that. But instead of using painted elements that they used the early days [of anime]. there are actually photographic elements flying past the road."
There are only 43 more days left until Speed Racer makes its big screen debut in regular and IMAX theaters on May 9th. It's a date I've had written down on my calendar since the very first teaser trailer debuted last December. I have a feeling this is going to be as revolutionary as The Matrix, but it will take a few viewings for people to accept and embrace that, especially because this is rated PG and not R. However, it IS the Wachowski's - don't try and tell me they're not bound to do something beyond our current comprehension - that's what they do!
Stay tuned for more Speed Racer hype as we lead up to the summer movie season this May!