After a bazillion years in the business, Joel Silver has become highly skilled in keeping all his cats safely tucked in the bag when it comes to new projects. But during a recent chat with Empire about the Wachowski brothers' comeback movie, Speed Racer, he let a couple out, revealing a smattering of details on the movie, as well as a surprising inspiration for the maligned siblings' return: Ice Age: The Meltdown.
"They said they'd never work again the Matrix sequels," says Silver. But then V For Vendetta, which the Wachowskis produced, was released. "At the end of the first couple of days the studio was able to forecast what it would make domestically, which was $70million+. That was great. The movie didn't cost very much, so everyone was very happy. The next weekend Ice Age 2 opened with $70million and the boys thought that was very interesting...They wanted to make a big family entertainment".
And they chose Speed Racer, a long gestating adaptation of the 1960s TV series about a teen boy racer who wants to become the greatest driver in the world. "I've been struggling with Speed Racer for 11 years," continues Silver. "They said, "what if we did it?". I said yes, obviously! They did a little pre-viz for us and it was just unbelievable".
Although he wouldn't be drawn on plot details, Silver did say that this would stick fairly closely to the cartoon series: "It's the story of Speed Racer, but in a way that you've never seen anything like that before in your life. The Wachowskis brought a tremendous sense of wonder and magic to that story. They just had a different way of seeing the story, in the way they do on everything they do. And we're going to shoot all of that in Germany".
To get fanboys either scratching their heads or thumping their fists, Silver also offered the following tease: "I don't know if we'll even use any cars". Which could mean that we'll be seeing another mighty CG leap from the brothers. Or that this Speed Racer will be riding a tricycle. Which would be kinda awesome, in a really really slow Straight Story kinda way.
Speed Racer will be released in 2008.