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Tinkering with 'Speed Racer' and 'Star Trek'

January 31, 2008 | 10:22 pm

The trailer for the Wachowski brothers film "Speed Racer" opens with about 5 seconds of the familiar "Speed Racer" theme -- the horn that mimics a honk, the hurried, frantic rhythm. Then it leaves tradition behind, breaking off into pure rave territory with a full-on explosion of techno sounds.

But don't think the trailer foretells the sound of the film.

Composer Michael Giacchino says the 2-minute "Speed Racer" teaser cribs from his pre-"Speed Racer" work.

"They used a tiny bit of music from ‘Alias,’ I think," he says. "I don’t think the music in the trailer is representative of what the music in the film will be. The film is going to be a big orchestral thing, mixed in with some rhythm elements."

Giacchino, who has received recognition from this year's Grammys and Oscars for his work on "Ratatouille," says he was given about 8 weeks to compose the score for "Speed Racer," and will begin recording it on Feb. 11. More so than the music that's used in the trailer, Giacchino says his "Speed Racer" score will have a deeper connection to the '60s cartoon series.

"It will have an injection of feeling from the old show, but just on a bigger scale," he says. "I have every single score from ‘Speed Racer.’ I found them in Japan on CD, and I love that music. I want to make sure there’s a thread to it, so this feels like it was born out of the show."

That being said, he promises his "Speed Racer" score won't be as retro-influenced as his work for "The Incredibles." He also reveals that the live-action film, starring Emile Hirsch, Christina Ricci, Susan Sarandon and John Goodman, won't have much, if any, pop music.

"'Speed Racer' doesn’t really have any of that," he says. "It’s me and a blank slate, and 118 minutes that need to be filled. Movie starts, music starts, movie ends and music ends. It seems a lot of the films I work on are score-driven films. I’m not that drawn to projects where you’re filling in between songs."

After "Speed Racer," it's another much-beloved remake he'll tackle in J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek." Giacchino has worked closely with Abrams through the years, following him from "Alias" to "Lost" and "Cloverfield," for which he wrote the end-credits "ROAR!"

Expectedly, he offers no hints to his "Star Trek" score, saying he won't have time to dive into it until after completing "Speed Racer."

"They’re still shooting 'Star Trek,' so ‘Speed Racer’ fit into the waiting area in which I would have been tinkering around with ideas for it," he says. "I’ll start on that in April. What I am thinking about is how so much amazing music has been written for the series, whether it be for the show or TV or the later shows. There’s so much stuff there that I love, so to have to put something into that world is very daunting."

But fans should expect at least some tinkering with the classic theme.

"In the same way that J.J. took the story and is re-inventing what it is, this is a chance to create something new, thematically, so I am excited about that challenge," he says. "But I want it to feel like it deserves to sit up on the shelf with the other ones."

(Photo courtesy 'Speed Racer' trailer, http://speedracerthemovie.warnerbros.com)