DreamWorks’ upcoming “Need For Speed” had already been busy lining up a pretty decent cast, and that was enough to make us optimistic that this video game adaptation might be the one to buck the trend. Aaron Paul, Dominic Cooper and Imogen Poots were the big three so far to give their seal of approval and sign on to star in the Scott Waugh (“Act of Valor”) directed picture, as well as the likes of Rami Malek (“The Master”), Kid Cudi and Ramon Rodriguez. Now the film has gone and added an unexpected name to the cast. Who knows whether he just needs the pay-check or whether he too thinks there’s more to this project than meets the eye, but Michael Keaton will also be feeling the need for speed.
We haven’t seen Keaton on the big screen for a while, not since he followed up “Post Grad” and “The Company Men” with roles in “The Other Guys” and (a voice part, admittedly) in “Toy Story 3.” Keaton’s got the Larry David/HBO improv comedy “Clear History” lined up, and he also replaced Hugh Laurie at short notice to become the villain in the new “Robocop” movie, so adding "Need For Speed" to those upcoming projects gives him a nice bit of variety. He’s set to play a “reclusive and eccentric host of an underground supercar race where he invites the best drivers from around the world.”
The script for the film has been written by George and John Gatins (the latter of whom penned “Flight” and “Real Steel”) and will focus on Aaron Paul’s street racer who partners with a rich business associate played by Dominic Cooper, only to be framed by his colleague and subsequently jailed. Upon release he joins a New York-to-Los Angeles street race to get revenge, but a bounty put on his head forces him to turn to underground, illegal races instead. We’re basically expecting a new “The Fast and the Furious,” except with probably even more driving, the boost of being based on a popular property already, and what looks like much better actors. Here’s hoping Scott Waugh can deliver the action. [THR]