A little over three months ago we reported on the news that the mindlessly fun 2008 movie, Death Race, was going to be getting a sequel - or rather, as was reported at the time by Shock Till You Drop, a prequel that would lead up to the first Death Race and Jason Statham's antics as top driver Jensen Ames.
And now, thanks to SpoilerTV we get some info on both what the plot and the characters will be , by way of casting call info. Nothing has changed in terms of it being a prequel, in fact this news is kind of a confirmation of that. It will indeed take place before the first film, this time being called Death Race: Frankenstein Lives (Frankenstein is the name of the top driver, FYI, they're not just trying to turn it into a horror movie for no reason...).
So what is writer Tony Giglio (overseen by the first film's director, Paul W.S. Anderson, who's serving as exec producer on this one) going to bring to the car-driving mayhem this time around? Something different to the first one, maybe? Perhaps going a bit more serious this time, exploring the collapse of the U.S. economy and such that led to the state of the affairs we witnessed in Death Race? Apparently not, as by the sounds of the following info, it's almost an EXACT replica of the original (inevitably minus Statham and Co. from the first). Along with a one line plot description, here's just some of the casting call info for some of the main characters:
STORY LINE: Newly arrived at Terminal Island, a prison for the most nonredeemable of convicts, CARL "LUKE" LUCAS must prove his mettle in a race to the death...
[CARL "LUKE" LUCAS]
In his 20s-30, American, European, British, Australian, Latino, etc., handsome and confident, with a hint of danger, Lucas has been in trouble since the age of 12. Right-hand man to a notorious mobster for twelve years, he is sent away for life
after killing a cop in the course of robbing a bank. Offered a deal by the DA if he turns state's evidence, Lucas opts to take his chances behind bars, where he soon captures the attention of a violence-peddling television producer. Possessed of some serious driving skills, assertive, strong, and charismatic, Lucas is a natural fit for the ultimate test, aka, the "Death Race."...LEAD (2) STAR NAMES PREFERRED - ANY NATIONALITY, ANY ETHNICITY
In her 20s - early 30s, a model turned journalist, September is is "insatiably ambitious and eye-poppingly gorgeous," a woman who knows how to use what she's got to get what she wants. She's callous and self-serving, dressed provocatively, with the soul of an ice-pick, but the brains to know how to market violence to the masses. When ratings for her gladiator-style television show begin plummeting, September is quick to come up with the "Death Race" concept, thrilled by its stunning success sptv050769...LEAD (2) STAR NAMES PREFERRED - ANY NATIONALITY, ANY ETHNICITY
[ELIZABETH JAYNE CASE]
In her 20s - early 30s, and sexy, she is a card girl for the fight matches, later a navigator when the prisoners are forced to test their driving skills. Intelligent (valedictorian of her high school class), decent, with a good heart, Case landed in prison after killing her abusive cop husband. Quick to come to the aide of girl in peril or help Lucas outwit an adversary, she's a courageous, admirable young woman. Teamed with Lucas for a death race, the chemistry soon heats up between the two...LEAD (16) STAR NAMES PREFERRED - ANY NATIONALITY, ANY ETHNICITY
In his 30s - 60, American or foreign, bold, opulent and self-indulgent, the CEO and Founder of the Weyland Corporation, he is a opportunist at best, a man who makes millions on the backs of others. Clearly not immune to September's come-hither charm, he agrees to produce a televised gladiator-style series of fighting matches, later disappointed by the ratings. However, he's quite impressed when September's idea for a race to the death has the viewers tuning in again...LEAD (11) STAR NAMES ONLY - ANY NATIONALITY, ANY ETHNICITY
For the rest of the info, you can head over to SpoilerTV.
If you've seen the first Death Race, you'll already recognize a lot of what's described above. Now I must get to the obvious question, namely, why even make this prequel? It's clearly not bringing anything new to the table, and it's apparently going straight-to-DVD, so it's not like it's going to collect on a huge box office return (the first one made decent money, doubling its $45 million budget to make almost $100 million if you count DVD sales). And it remains to be seen whether any of the original cast, notably Statham, will make a return, but logic story-wise (since it's a prequel) that just doesn't make any sense.
I said it when this prequel was announced - I really enjoyed Death Race for what it was and wouldn't mind a sequel. I wouldn't be terribly excited about it, but at least I'd give it a shot. But this prequel... I realize it's all about the driving carnage, but c'mon, they could've come up with something a LITTLE different than just copying the first.
What do you think of the info for the Death Race prequel? Have you seen the original and do you think what they have in store for the prequel is going to be more fun, or just a more of the same?
Death Race: Frankenstein Lives is supposedly to start shooting on February 22nd, 2010. No release date (theatrical or DVD) has been set as of yet.