Electronic Arts' (EA) Need for Speed racing video game property will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2014, which is the same year that DreamWorks is unleashing a movie adaptation in theaters (by no coincidence). The Need for Speed live-action film is headlined by fan-favorite Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) as Tobey Marshall, a blue-collar car mechanic (with a knack for vehicular racing) who is double-crossed, when an unsanctioned race ends badly and results in Tobey (unfairly) being sent to prison for manslaughter. Once he is freed, though, Tobey goes looking for payback by competing in a dangerous cross-country race against his treacherous ex-partner (Dominic Cooper).
A scruffy Paul introduces the newly-released Need for Speed trailer, which might be more somber that you would've expected. The film has already drawn comparisons to the Fast and the Furious series (for obvious reasons), yet this initial footage suggests that the video game feature may have its feet planted more firmly in the neo-Noir genre than the first F&F installment. Then again, James Wan's upcoming Fast & Furious 7 is being described as a gritty 1970s revenge flick throwback, so maybe 2014 is just going to be a more serious year for racing cinema in general...
Moving on - the supporting cast that's been put together for Need for Speed includes Imogen Poots (Fright Night (2011)), Michael Keaton (RoboCop (2014)), Dakota Johnson (Fifty Shades of Grey), Rami Malek (Oldboy (2013)), Ramon Rodriguez (Battle Los Angeles) and the hip-hop recording artist/actor Scott "Kid Cudi" Mescudi (How to Make It in America). Meanwhile, directorial responsibilities were handled by Scott Waugh, the former stunt performer who made his directing debut co-helming the Navy SEALs feature Act of Valor last year.
The urban cultural influence and diverse casting - combined with the cleanly-shot and high-octane car racing/collision sequences offered by Waugh - means that it'll be easy for some people to dismiss Need for Speed as a Fast & Furious knockoff right away. Yet, the additional promise of a storyline that features meaty dramatic substance - written by first-time scribe George Gatins and his Oscar-nominated writer brother John Gatins (Flight) - suggests the two properties will be different (and, more importantly, good) enough to both occupy the same niche in peace.
Moreover, Paul (now that Breaking Bad is coming to an end) seems to be more interested in choosing quality scripts over easy paydays, as evidenced by his appearance in last year's acclaimed indie drama Smashed (where he played one-half of a recovering alcoholic couple) and him signing on to appear next in Ridley Scott's Moses drama, Exodus. In other words, he may've decided to appear in Need for Speed based on the script's potential to be a better-than-average popcorn flick.
What do you think of the Need for Speed trailer?
Need for Speed opens in U.S. theaters on March 14th, 2014.
Source: iTunes Movie Trailers
Image source: EW