DreamWorks is aiming to tap into the Fast and the Furious fanbase's demands for more high-octane thrills, bromance, and hot women in cars with an adaptation of the Need for Speed video game series.
Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) and Imogen Poots (Fright Night) are onboard as one of the two male leads and female lead, respectively. The latest reports reveal that Dominic Cooper has begun negotiations to tackle another important role in the racing flick.
Cooper, for those unaware, has quietly occupied a niche over the past two years as a character actor who specializes in portraying playboys - be they rich and deranged (The Devil's Double), an engineering genius (Captain America), or even a literal creature of the night (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter). However, neither Cooper nor Paul are yet big-enough names to sell a film like this without the support of a brand name behind them; hence, the use of the Need for Speed title, even though the project isn't based on any specific installment in the original gaming series.
Nonetheless, Variety reports the movie will be "faithful to the spirit of the popular Electronic Arts video game franchise" (take that as you will). Moreover, Paul is playing an underground racecar driver who seeks revenge after he is framed for his best friend's death, while Cooper is an ex-NASCAR driver who's in the business of rebuilding and modifying supercars. Their characters' paths cross thanks to a third party (Poots), described only as an "exotic car dealer."
The project has some interesting talent working behind the scenes (under the hood?), as Scott Waugh (co-director of Act of Valor) is at the helm - working from a script penned by producer-turned newbie writer George Gatins (She's Out of My League), who developed the story with his screenwriter brother, John Gatins (Real Steel, Flight). J. Gatins is also producing, along with EA's Patrick O'Brien and Mark Sourian (the upcoming Steven Spielberg flick Robopocalypse).
Fast and the Furious, of course, isn't the only film that the Need for Speed movie will draw comparisons to, but the continued popularity of that franchise will make it all the trickier for the latter to stand out. On the other hand, Need for Speed could have more dramatic substance, given the involvement of John Gatins; moreover, Paul and Cooper are generally better-regarded as actors than FATF's Vin Diesel and Paul Walker. So... that's worth something, yes?
Need for Speed hits theaters in the U.S. on February 7th, 2014.