Racing is art in this new trailer for NEED FOR SPEED; plus star Aaron Paul and director Scott Waugh talk about keeping it real

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When I think of Need for Speed, I think of high-speed chases, spectacular crashes and that one song of Snoop Dogg featuring The Doors. What I generally don’t think of is arty, ethereal visuals and music which doesn’t give us any real idea of what little story there is, which is kind of all that the first trailer for the big screen adaptation of EA’s racing franchise brought to the table.

Luckily, whoever cut this second trailer knows that the only arty thing that fans most want to see is how pretty the debris looks when a supercar gets turned into chrome confetti. That and star Aaron Paul breaking bad behind the wheel.

 Based on the most successful racing video game franchise ever with over 140 million copies sold, DreamWorks Pictures’ “Need for Speed” captures the thrills of the game in a real-world setting. An exciting return to the great car-culture films of the 1960s and ’70s, when authenticity brought a new level of intensity to the action, “Need for Speed” taps into what makes the American myth of the open road so enticing.

The story chronicles a near-impossible cross-country race against time: one that begins as a mission for revenge, but proves to be one of redemption. In a last attempt to save his struggling garage, blue-collar mechanic Tobey Marshall (Aaron Paul), who with his team skillfully builds and races muscle cars on the side, reluctantly partners with wealthy, arrogant ex-NASCAR driver Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper). Just as a major sale to car broker Julia Bonet (Imogen Poots) looks like it will save the business, a disastrous, unsanctioned race results in Dino framing Tobey for manslaughter.

Two years later and fresh out of prison, Tobey is set on revenge with plans to take down Dino in the high-stakes De Leon race – the Super Bowl of underground racing. To get there in time, Tobey must run a high-octane, action-packed gauntlet, dodging cops coast-to-coast and dealing with fallout from a dangerous bounty Dino put on his car. With his loyal crew and the surprisingly resourceful Julia as allies, Tobey defies odds at every turn and proves that even in the flashy world of exotic supercars, the underdog can still finish first.

Now that’s more like the vroom vroom, boom boom stuff I was expecting! Director Scott Waugh proved on Act of Valor – which besides for the gratuitous flag waving was a surprisingly competent action flick – proved that knows how to shoot good action, and based on this trailer, there’s going to be a lot of that.

And what’s going to set Need for Speed apart from big budget rival Fast & Furious is that much like how Waugh used real life Navy SEAL’s for Act of Valor, here he’ll also be keeping it as real as possible, by making it a “full throwback to the ’60s and ’70s classic car-culture films,” as he explained to ComingSoon.net.

“For me growing up in the ’70s, I was so amazed at the car movies – ‘The French Connection,’ ‘Grand Prix,’ ‘Smokey and the Bandit.’ You keep going down the list of all of these fun movies and I feel like we don’t do that anymore. It all became a big CG ride and I pride myself on trying to do everything in camera.”

Even when it meant stunts like having Aaron Paul’s character Tobey Marshall “escape his pursuers by driving straight up an inclined highway median, shooting over several lanes of traffic and landing on the other side.”

That was something that definitely left an impression on Paul, who had this to say about it:

“That was speeding down the freeway at god knows what speed, going up this ramp and flying over three or four lanes of traffic. That’s all practical. They actually did it. It wasn’t CG. They did it. I was just like, ‘Oh my god. Please be okay.’ Seeing that happen, I was like, ‘Thank god that isn’t me.'”

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Often though, it was Paul, something that Waugh insisted on whenever feasible, due to his desire for “all the action sequences to be practical,” and because “he didn’t want all of this to be done behind a computer”, as Waugh explains:

“I was talking to Steven [Spielberg] about the actors needing to drive, and that’s what was so cool about Steve McQueen [in Bullit]. Steve McQueen did all of his stunts. I said, ‘Whoever we get, we’ve got to train so they can do all of their driving!'”

And that’s exactly what Paul did, training to learn the ins-and-outs of high speed driving maneuvers and stuntwork. And the reason Waugh made his actors do all of this, was not because he was once a stuntman himself and just wanted them to see what it was like behind the wheel, but rather because he has a thing for physics.

“If you break physics, it hurts the story because then the characters don’t apply to the physics either. So, if a car can jump off a bridge 100 feet up and land on the ground and keep going, then my characters can get shot and their head blown off and they can keep going too, because it just doesn’t apply. I wanted to make sure that everything in this movie is authentic and real, so we put the cars through things that it would survive so that the characters’ stakes are real. So you really feel for the revenge story and you really believe in it, because it feels real and it’s not a fantastical world. It’s a very practical world.”

To be honest, I was not exactly looking at Need for Speed with much anticipation before, but this last trailer and how Waugh is going about making this movie, has now piqued my interest in a major way. I suddenly feel a need for this movie’s March 14, 2014 release date to speed on over.

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Last Updated: November 19, 2013

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