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Speed Racer (2008) Poster

(2008)

Trivia

Jump to: Cameo (2)  | Spoilers (1)
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 (1967).
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Peter Fernandez and Corinne Orr, the original English voices of Speed Racer/Racer X and Trixie/Spritle in Speed Racer (1967), voice race announcers in the film.
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This is the first time the Wachowskis 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.
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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.
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A working Mach 5 was built for the film, along with several other full size cars, including Racer X's Shooting Star. All driving scenes were filmed with the actors sitting in a gimbal, a race car cockpit with a computer-programmed hydraulic system.
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Keanu Reeves turned down the role of Racer X.
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Emile Hirsch was a big fan of the Speed Racer (1967) show, and used to watch it on Cartoon Network.
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To prepare for his role, Emile Hirsch watched every episode of Speed Racer (1967), and paid a visit to Lowe's Motor Speedway, where he met and got advice from racecar driver Jimmie Johnson.
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According to producer Joel Silver, this movie was largely shot in greenscreen in 60 days.
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The film was a first in many technical areas, but two stand-out: it was the first film to employ the Sony F23 digital film camera and also to record in parallel to Sony HDCAM SR for archive masters; and the first to employ Codex digital data recorders for on-set uncompressed HD playback, digital dailies and file generation for editing and VFX.
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WILHELM SCREAM: When Spritle and Chim-Chim are rummaging through Royalton Industries.
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Variety discussed a possible sequel, saying it could happen if the film has a good box office performance. In 2008, a possible sequel was contemplated by the Wachowskis when Rain asked them why his character is so happy for Speed winning, and they replied it could be explained in the next film. Rain said he was hired for three years, while noting that doesn't guarantee a sequel will be released. Christina Ricci also considered it a possibility; she stated "When we [the cast] were all leaving, we were like 'write the sequel!' 'We want to come back'. And they [the Wachowskis] were like, 'I know. I know. We're going to. Don't worry'.", adding she would like more action scenes to her character. Joel Silver said that the Wachowskis "have a great story idea for a sequel" but that it is "a great idea for a sequel if it makes sense to make it."
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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.
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The Mach 5 from Speed Racer (1967) had buttons on the steering wheel which produced different devices to help the car race, one was buzz saw blades which could cut trees down, one was a bubble to close the drivers compartment and run underwater, with a periscope, one was for a traction device to wrap around the tires to get grip in muddy areas, one was a homing pigeon, one was for jumping over objects, they would come out the bottom shooting the car into the air and also helped land. The last device was "wings" which came out the side to help fly over large chasms.
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Japanese voice artists Katsuji Mori, Kiyoshi Kobayashi and Kenji Utsumi voiced Ben Burns, Mr Togokahn and Pops Racer in the Japanese dub of the film. These three all worked in the original Speed Racer (1967) series: Mori in particular voiced the title character.
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J.J. Abrams wrote a draft of the screenplay.
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In one scene, "Spritle" wears monkey faced pajamas, while "Chim Chim" wears little boy faced pajamas.
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In a number of scenes, the "bokeh" (circular/oval out-of-focus points of light) are seen in different shapes:
  • in Royalton's club they are diamonds
  • in a number of the race scenes they are squares or rectangles.
  • and when young Speed sees young Trixie for the first time and when they kiss at the end of the film they are hearts.
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Mr Royalton says his drivers need to be able to cope with speeds up to 4G. Theoretically a Merry-go-round can generate that.
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Shia LaBeouf, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zac Efron were considered for the role of Speed Racer. LaBeouf had previously done Transformers (2007), and Gordon-Levitt went on to do G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009) - two more films adapted from a cartoon series.
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In December 1997, Alfonso Cuarón was briefly hired to direct the film.
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Michael Giacchino used musical cues from Speed Racer (1967) when he composed the score.
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Trixie's pink helicopter, Snake Oiler, and his number 12 race car, Prince Kabalah and his number 13 race car, Racer X and his number 9 race car, the GRX race car, the red semi known as the Mammoth Car, race fixer Cruncher Block and police detective "Inspector Detector" all appeared in Speed Racer (1967).
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During its production, animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) made allegations of animal cruelty against the film, reporting that one of the two chimpanzees used in the production was allegedly beaten after biting an actor. The incident was confirmed by the American Humane Association (AHA) Animal Safety Representative on the set, who reported that the stand-in for the Spritle character portrayed by Litt had been bitten without provocation. The AHA representative also reported that "toward the end of filming, during a training session in the presence of the American Humane Representative, the trainer, in an uncontrolled impulse, hit the chimpanzee." The AHA Film Unit referred to this abuse as "completely inexcusable and unacceptable behavior in the use of any animal." The AHA has rated Speed Racer "Unacceptable" chiefly because of this incident, with AHA noting "the aforementioned training incident tarnishes the excellent work of the rest of production" and that it "has no method of separating the actions of one individual in the employ of a production from the production as a whole."
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The last movie where the Wachowski siblings are credited as The Wachowski Brothers.
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"Pops" is a great fighter in both the movie and the television show.
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Though the Mach 5 and Mach 6 are both white, the Mach 4 is traditionally shown as a red vehicle.
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Racecar driver Danica Patrick was reportedly offered a cameo, but had to decline due to racing commitments with Andretti Green Racing and the Indy Racing League.
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In June 2004 Vince Vaughn was going to produce the film and star as Racer X. However, production never became fully active, so he left the film.
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In October 1994, Henry Rollins was offered the role of Racer X.
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"Racer X" works as a secret agent, just as he did in the Wildstorm comics.
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This is the first English-language role and Hollywood debut for Rain.
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The film features cameo appearances from Speed Racer (1967):
  • the Shooting Star, car number 9, is driven by Racer X
  • Prince Kabalah, from Kapetapek, drives an unnumbered car
  • the GRX, a high powered race car
  • the Mammoth Car, a huge red truck
  • and Snake Oiler, drives car number 12 in the film
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The "Mach" series vehicles are designed, built, and stored in the "Racer" family's garage, just as they were in Speed Racer (1967).
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Elisha Cuthbert and Kate Mara were considered for the role of Trixie.
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A different version of the Mach 4 appeared in the Wildstorm comics.
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A different version of the Mach 6 appeared in the television sequel cartoon Speed Racer: The Next Generation (2008).
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Christina Ricci admitted she never watched an episode of the original anime prior to being cast as Trixie.
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Arin Hanson of Game Grumps and Starbomb fame considers this to be his favorite movie.
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Chim Chim, who was a chimpanzee on Speed Racer (1967), was played by two bonobos, named "Willy" and "Kenzie"
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The sub machine gun the gangster is is holding Sparky at gunpoint during the mountain fight scene is a world war 2 era "grease gun". The grease gun was given to new recruits instead of the more expensive but sublime Thompson sub machine gun. It was known to be reliable but extremely cheap and slow firing making it an interesting choice for a gangster in a futureistic universe.
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At one point Julien Temple was attached to direct with Johnny Depp starring as Speed. Both dropped out of the film due to delays in production and personal issues.
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At one point during the film's early development in the 1990s, Nicolas Cage was offered the role of Racer X.
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"Racer X" wears a black suit with a black mask in the movie, but wore a white suit with a black mask in Speed Racer (1967).
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Despite playing the main villain, Roger Allam is nowhere to be found on the poster cast list.
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Some prints were shipped to movie theaters under the name "Race Chasers".
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In the original draft of the script, Royalton's name was Remmington.
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A model of of the Mach 5 can be seen on the "Racer" family's mantle.
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Rose McGowan was considered for the role of Trixie.
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The main villain Royalton, RacerX's girlfriend Minx, the Mach 4 and the Mach 6 race cars and race car champion Cannonball Taylor did not appear in Speed Racer (1967).
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In a flashback, a "Ben Burns" poster can be seen in the bedroom of "Young Speed Racer"
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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.
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Was supposed to be directed by Patrick Read Johnson in the early 90s. J.F. Lawton, Patrick Read Johnson and John Lau wrote the script.
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Spritle and Chim Chim are obsessed with candy and food, just as they were in Speed Racer (1967).
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Gus Van Sant was considered to direct after Julien Temple dropped out of the project in 1995.
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When the project was first set up at Warner Bros., Richard Donner and Lauren Shuler Donner were originally set to produce alongside Joel Silver.
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Cameo 

Andrés Cantor: Spanish sports commentator (infamous for his scream of "Gooaaallll!" in soccer matches) appears as a commentator at the Grand Prix.
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Milka Duno: Indy Racing League driver appears as Kellie "Gearbox" Kalinkov.
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Spoilers 

The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

Scott Porter and Matthew Fox, who play the same character at different ages (Rex Racer and Racer X respectively), have the same birthday of July 14th.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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