Warner Bros.’ live-action adaptation of the classic anime series Speed Racer is set to skid into theaters over the 2008 Memorial Day weekend, facing off against the highly anticipated fourth installment in Paramount’s Indiana Jones saga. Directed by Matrix creators Larry and Andy Wachowski, Speed Racer will bow just one day after the May 22 release of the tentatively titled Indiana Jones 4, which reunites Harrison Ford, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas.
Speed Racer puts the Wachowski brothers back in the director’s chair for the first time since they wrapped The Matrix: Revolutions. The duo last produced the critically acclaimed cult hit V for Vendetta, which is based on the graphic novel written by Alan Moore and illustrated by David Lloyd. Their credits also include the 2003 direct-to-video feature The Animatrix, which showed them to be big fans of anime. Other fans of the Speed Racer series and Japanese animation in general are anxious to see how they translate Tatsuo Yoshida’s beloved cartoon creation to the big screen.
Like, the 1960s TV show, the live-action Speed Racer will focus on a young man’s efforts to drive his high-tech Mach 5 to victory over the mysterious Racer X. The project sees the Wachowskis reteaming with producer Joel Silver, Oscar-winning vfx supervisor John Gaeta and exec producer Grant Hill. Shooting is scheduled to begin this year.
Speed and his pit crew will have their work cut out for them as they go up against Professor Jones, who has been out of the adventure game for early 20 years. Few film projects have sparked more fan interest and speculation than this LucasFilms production. The closely guarded script was penned by Spider-Man scribe David Koepp, whose credits include Jurassic Park, War of the Worlds (2005) and Zathura: A Space Adventure. Principal photography is slated to begin in June.