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Joel Silver Talks Speed Racer

Published May 6, 2008 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Warner Bros
Speed Racer Speed Racer
Joel Silver is best known for making big, loud, R-rated action movies. He's done some PG-13s, often in the comedy genre, but his latest is a bona fide family movie. Speed Racer is rated PG, though not quite all out G.

Speed Racer Reviews


"These things have a life of their own but no, it was intended to be a PG movie from the beginning," said Silver. "From the very beginning we had these deals with Mattel these big companies and it was predicated on being a PG movie. I always had a desire to make a picture with all that stuff. I walked into a Toys R Us a few days ago and the entire store was just incredibly full of Speed Racer material. It was like Lion King, it was like a Disney movie which I've never had before. And this morning my son had a cereal box that says Speed Racer. All that, I mean, McDonald's Happy Meals, I've never had that before and that's all a part of what we are trying to do. We're trying to make a big, fun, family movie that everybody can appreciates."

Since the Wachowski Brothers do not like to meet the press, Silver has become their unofficial spokesperson. "I know people don't really want to hear what I have to say, they want to hear what they have to say but what they have to say is in the movie. That's their gift. What they've done, that's what they have to say, that's what they want to say. I'm happy to speak on their behalf, I'm just here to help explain what we've tried to do, what the intention was. But, you know, they don't want to do that so, you know, I got no choice."



Silver's first Wachowski production, The Matrix, inspired many rip-offs of bullet time style. He expects similar inspirations this time around. "They've changed the system again on how to make pictures. I was reading last week in USA Today an article about the Bond film, Quantum of Solace, and they were in a desert in Chile and they were shooting in 120 degree heat and he's at a roof of some building and he's shooting the glass to drop in. I'm saying they could be sitting in Pinewood shooting this movie with nobody dying of heat stroke, but this is the picture making process. George Lucas didn't have to fly to Tatooine to make the movie. There's no such place. They found a way to do it. This process of making a movie like this doesn't need to be the way they used to make it. You can make things differently and this proves that, look, this movie looks differently because that's what they wanted."

The Wachowskis could have made a realistic auto racing movie on a green screen. In fact, they kind of did and nobody knew it. "There's a shot in Matrix Reloaded, there's a scene where Trinity's character is driving a motorcycle against traffic and there's all these cars coming at her and we couldn't shoot that with real cars. If somebody was an inch off then the stunt girl would have died. So, all of those cars were CG cars. They were all CGI cars, every car. But, they were meant to look photo-realistic, they weren't meant to be fantasy cars, you weren't supposed to know they weren't real cars. That's probably where they had the notion of doing this because these cars aren't meant to be realistic, they are meant to be versions of cars that can do things you never saw before."

Speed Racer opens to theaters on May 9th.

For the trailer, stills, posters and more information on the film, go to the Speed Racer Movie Page.
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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Warner Bros
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