MOTW: Five Fun Facts about the "Need for Speed" Movie

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
March 11th, 2014

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With the absence of a Fast & Furious franchise entry in the 2014 box office, a lot of buzz is building about the March release of "Need for Speed" that stars Aaron Paul, Dominic Cooper and Imogen Poots. The movie is directed by Scott Waugh, who, in 2012, was named a Director to Watch and is already well known for his previous successes "Act of Valor" and the original "Spiderman" movie. It's no secret that Waugh likes to go to great extent to make his movies seem real, and in the case of "Need for Speed," that includes staging some real auto races to capture on film. That's not the only interesting tidbit about "Need for Speed," though. Here are five more fun facts about the movie.

"Need for Speed" is based on the video game franchise of the same name. Electronic Arts released the first version of the popular racing game in 1994. Since then, it has undergone seventeen incarnations, the latest of which, "Need for Speed Rivals," was released in 2013. To date, it's the top selling racing video game franchise worldwide with sales of more than 140 million copies. The film version is not based on any specific version of the video game but rather loosely on the concept of over-the-road car chases in which racers are often pursued by police officers.

The success of Breaking Bad made star Aaron Paul a household name and helped him beat out some hefty competition to play the lead character, Tobey Marshall, a recently released ex-convict set on seeking vengeance for his friend's death. His reckless, all-in Jesse Pinkman persona has helped Paul leap onto the A list in Hollywood and ultimately helped him rise to the top of the short list of actors being considered for "Need for Speed." That short list included such Hollywood heavy hitters as Liam Hemsworth and Taylor Kitscsh.

Since "Need for Speed" Director Scott Waugh is a former stunt man, it's not surprising that he asked star Aaron Paul to train in stunt driving as part of his preparation for the tricky maneuvers he had to do while filming. In fact, Paul got so adept at risky maneuvers that he once stopped only 2 inches short of a camera that was filming a scene. He did so after being challenged by Director Scott Waugh to hit him despite the actor's fear of hitting him. Paul apparently took his training very seriously, too. He recently set a record on the British car themed television series "Top Gear." Paul beat out other celebrities, such as James Blunt and Brian Johnson of AC/DC fame, to earn the top spot in the "Celebrities in Reasonably Priced Cars" challenge.

The film was shot on location in Georgia. Georgia natives, and those familiar with the state, recognize such landmarks as Road Atlanta, a 2.5-acre race course in Braselton, the 13th Street Bridge in Columbus, the Swan Drive-in, which has been continuously operating since 1955 in Blue Ridge, and other locations in Macon. Filming also took place in Detroit, Michigan. 

The collection of supercars used in the "Need for Speed" movies are sure to have car enthusiasts salivating. Models include a Lamborghini Sesto Elemento a Mclaren P1, a Spania GTA, and a Koenigsegg Agera R., all of which were produced in extremely limited run and have a collective value that well exceeds 7 million dollars. However, car lovers who are skittish about such rare gems of the automobile industry being sacrificed in the name of Hollywood can relax. Not all of the cars in the "Need for Speed" movie are as they appear, and no cars with such hefty price tags were harmed in the making of "Need for Speed." The priciest and rarest cars are replicas. This is not only because acquiring the genuine articles would require a big chunk of the film's budget but because movies that require a lot of stunt photography, like "Need for Speed," are rarely shot in one take. Replacements had to be on the ready for mishaps and re-shoots, which would not just require a 7 million dollar base price for the real things but 7 million several times over for duplicates. That would have been a particular challenge considering that fewer than 100 of a couple of the supercars used were ever produced.

With so much attention to detail, "Need for Speed" promises not only to be one of the biggest blockbuster of 2014 but a thrill ride that takes moviegoers on a fast-paced, big-screen adventure. The recent disclosure that the film will also be released in 3D paved the way for even larger profits and an even more realistic experience that quite literally drives right off of the screen and into the audience.