Speed Racer is a 2008 film that is a live action film adaptation of the 1960s Japanese anime series Speed Racer. The film is written and directed by the Wachowski brothers, who also serve as co-producers. The film has been in development since 1992, changing writers and directors until producer Joel Silver and the Wachowski brothers collaborated to begin production on Speed Racer as a family film. Actor Emile Hirsch was cast as Speed, the hero of the animated series, and Christina Ricci portrays Speed's girlfriend, Trixie. Speed Racer was shot between June and November 2007 in Potsdam and Berlin, Germany at an estimated budget of $120,000,000.2 Speed Racer premiered on May 3, 2008 as the closing film at the Tribeca Film Festival,3 and was released on May 9, 2008.
Speed Racer (Emile Hirsch) is an 18-year-old whose life and love has always been racing. Racing is "in his blood": his parents, Pops (John Goodman) and Mom (Susan Sarandon), run an independent business building racecars, and his brother, record-setting racer Rex Racer (Scott Porter), was killed in Speed's childhood in the running of the Casa Cristo, an incredibly intense cross-country racing rally notorious for rough and foul play. Before his death, Rex was rejected by his father for his choice to run the Casa Cristo, and publicly defamed for appearing to cheat underhandedly in a race. Now, Speed Racer is quickly sweeping the racing world with his artistic skill, driving the "Mach 5" of his father’s design, but remains interested only in the art of the race and the well-being of his family. When Mr. Royalton (Roger Allam), owner of conglomerate Royalton Industries, offers Speed an astoundingly luxurious lifestyle in exchange for signing to race with him, Speed is tempted but declines, knowing that his father would never wish Speed to sign with the very power-hungry corporations he so mistrusts. When Speed refuses Mr. Royalton’s offer, Royalton reveals that top corporate interests, including Royalton, are fixing races and cheating to gain profit, and then threatens Speed’s career success and very life when he still does not agree to sign on. When Royalton later proves ready to make good on his threats, Speed teams up with his girlfriend Trixie (Christina Ricci), his one-time rival, Racer X (Matthew Fox), and shifty Japanese racer Taejo Togokhan (Rain) to enter the Casa Cristo – known as "The Crucible" – in part of a plot to uncover the treacheries of Royalton and save the Racer business. Despite his father’s initial anger at his racing in the Crucible, his family eventually joins up as well, as Speed overcomes Royalton’s brutal team and many seemingly-unsurpassable obstacles to win the Casa Cristo, and, finally, the Grand Prix, returning racing to its true purpose and exposing Royalton’s corruption. 4 Furthermore, it is revealed to the audience at the movie’s end that Rex did not really die (and also did not cheat), but instead underwent plastic surgery to reemerge as Racer X, helping his younger brother finally save his family and his sport.