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SPEED RACER

The Racer Family, Friends And Foes
There are two elements at the center of "Speed Racer”—racing and the Racer family, both of which are deeply intertwined. "Speed's family eats, drinks, and breathes car racing. After all, their last name is Racer,” smiles Emile Hirsch. "They work together as a unit. It's all about teamwork and doing the right thing. I think that's what makes the heart of the story appealing—everyone gets to participate in the adventure.”

The Racer family home is an idyllic suburban single-family house, where Pops Racer builds racecars in the garage and their pride and joy, the Mach 5, is the centerpiece of the living room. Mom Racer is the backbone of the Racer household, providing comfort, support, and advice, not to mention delicious baked goods. Speed's wisecracking younger brother, Spritle, and their family pet chimpanzee, Chim-Chim, have their own ways for staying close to the action by hitching rides in the trunk of Speed's Mach 5 or hiding in unexpected places. Speed's faithful girlfriend, Trixie, shows her dedication to the Racer family on, off and even above the track from her pink helicopter. Sparky provides dependable service to Racer Motors as Pops' trusty mechanic.

For the title role, Hirsch held the pole position in the minds of filmmakers throughout an exhaustive casting process that spanned three continents and involved hundreds of actors. "I couldn't believe it when I got the part,” Hirsch states. "I used to watch the ‘Speed Racer' cartoon at home in the mornings while eating my cereal. I've watched every episode. I'm also a huge fan of ‘The Matrix' trilogy, so I am really excited to be in a movie directed by Larry and Andy.”

"When we first met Emile, we knew that he had the right look, youthful appeal and talent necessary to play Speed Racer,” Joel Silver offers. "At the time, ‘Into the Wild' had not even come out, but we also felt strongly about his ability to carry the lead role in our movie.”

Christina Ricci plays Trixie, Speed's number-one crush, who has been his friend and fan since grade school. Smart, stylish and strong-willed, Trixie can be found cheering for Speed in the grandstand or helping him navigate treacherous racecourses from her helicopter.

"Trixie is my kind of girl,” says Ricci. "She's always up for adventure and does everything the boys do without the film commenting on the fact she's a girl. She does all these things—strategizes with Speed, flies a helicopter and even does kung fu—but she has a special super cute ensemble for each activity. Trixie is a tomboy and girly girl all at the same time, which makes her really fun.”

Never one to discount the significance of personal style, Ricci recalls, "When I went in for my meeting with the Wachowskis, I was intimidated to meet them because I had been such a big fan of theirs for so long. I was a bit shy and couldn't really speak, but then I looked down and saw that we were all wearing the same black Chuck Taylor Converse sneakers and I knew then that everything was going to be alright.”

Another steadfast supporter in Speed's world is Mom Racer, played by Susan Sarandon. The Oscar-winning actress was attracted to the project by the Wachowskis' story, which emphasizes the importance of a cohesive family unit. "I liked the idea that the Racer family lives in a timeless little pod, where they still sit down together to have dinner every night,” she says. "Mom Racer is the glue that holds everybody together.” "Mom Racer is definitely the rock of the Racer family,” adds John Goodman, who stars as the head of the Racer family in the role of Pops Racer. "She's the one everybody goes to with problems.”

Pops Racer is a brilliant car designer and engineer who builds Speed's racecars, just as he had Rex Racer's cars before him. "He's been building cars since Speed was an infant,” says Goodman. Staunchly i

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