Wachowskis Go With Original ‘Speed Racer’ Theme

In the grand-scheme of TV-to-movie translations, I’ve gotta admit: The idea of “Speed Racer” seems only slightly better than “The Honeymooners” and a few notches beneath even “Aeon Flux.” Honestly, the show is beloved for the same reasons that doomed “Thunderbirds” – it’s a tongue-in-cheek guilty pleasure, remembered for repetitive plot lines and laughably bad, low-budget visuals.

But here’s the twist: The more we learn about what the Wachowski Brothers’ are doing with their version of the Sixties anime series, the more it sounds like Speed really could become a demon on wheels.

“I just finished with the Wachowskis…I just came from Berlin where I was doing ’Speed Racer,'” Susan Sarandon told us over the weekend, talking about the flick that has her playing Speed’s mother opposite John Goodman as the dad. “I can’t even understand [what they’re doing]. But I worked with the chimp, so that was really worth it.”

Pressed for details, Sarandon revealed that the Wachowski Brothers have purchased the rights to the sound effects used in the cartoon, and confirmed that they will be using the trademark theme song. It’s all part of their attempt to reproduce the cartoon in reality – but Sarandon admitted that she isn’t quite sure what to make of it all, since she never watched the ’toon.

“Yeah, it’s very saturated,” she grinned, adding that the Wachowskis showed her a few minutes of brightly-colored footage before she left the Germany set. “I’ve only seen a little tiny bit of it, but it’s much more complicated than ’Willy Wonka’, in the way that they’ve done the backgrounds and all that. It should be fun.”

The actress also elaborated on the innovative high-def camera the Wachowskis are using for the May ’08 flick – which could yield a groundbreaking new style much like “bullet-time” did when they put it in “The Matrix.”

“[All] of it is in-focus, the front and the back, because they’re layering the film,” Sarandon explained of the technique, which hopes to make the live-action resemble real-life anime. “You know, in a cartoon, everything is in focus, right? Well, we don’t act like cartoons – we act like real people. But it’s very saturated, the look of it – it’s not an animated process over us, there are real people in this very bright world. Every color that was not in ’The Matrix’ is in this movie.”