Another Inspirational Teacher Film on the Way: Speed Boyz
by Ethan Anderton
October 15, 2009
Like the uplifting sports films we've all come to expect every year, another subgenre has become almost as predictable in its execution: the story of an inspirational teacher showing a group of misfit kids that they're underestimating their potential as he drives them towards accomplishing a seemingly impossible goal. Alcon Entertainment is throwing another one of these stories our way as THR reports that they have purchased a pitch called Speed Boyz about "real-life engineer-turned-teacher Simon Hauger, who inspired a group of troubled Philadelphia high schoolers to win a competition to build an alternative-fuel vehicle."
The pitch comes from screenwriter Michael Schiffer who had success with a similar story in Lean on Me, a drama that starred Morgan Freeman as real-life, hard-nosed New Jersey high school principal Joe Clark.
The pitch for Speed Boyz based on the true story: "when Hauger launched an unorthodox curriculum in 1998 to improve students' performance in math and science. The kids went on to win the annual Tour de Sol -- a national green car competition -- where they beat teams from top universities with their electric cars." And apparently the story isn't even finished as the kids have progressed with their idea towards an even bigger prize, and an amazing accomplishment to improve fuel efficiency and decrease carbon emissions.
"They are now competing for the $10 million Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize. All they have to do is build a really fast vehicle that gets 100 miles per gallon and cuts the standard car's carbon emissions in half while devising a business plan that can manufacture 10,000 autos per year by 2014."
The title for this, Speed Boyz, reminds me a bit of October Sky, adapted from a book called Rocket Boys, about a group of boys who, inspired by their teacher, went on to build some of the first homemade rockets. Though I gotta say, as far as falling into the cookie-cutter mold of the inspirational teacher stories we're used to seeing, this one certainly has an ending that not only is an accomplishment for the participants, but for the environment and world economy. I'm sure we'll be hearing more about this as it develops, as Alcon Entertainment doesn't usually take their any of their projects lightly. Sound interesting to anyone?