Who's that guy playing a racer-turned-commentator in next summer's big-screen Speed Racer flick? Shaft! Ya damn right ... so says The Hollywood Reporter. Yup, Richard Roundtree (aka the original Shaft) has signed on for a role in Speed Racer. Can ya dig it? As I said before, he'll be playing Ben Burns, an ex racer who's settled down as one of them iconic commentators with whom fans (including our hero Speed) absolutely adore. Roundtree joins a cast that already includes Emile Hirsch (as Speed), Christina Ricci (as Speed's hottie girl friend Trixie), John Goodman (as Pops Racer), Susan Sarandon (as Moms Racer), Roger Allam (as Royalton) and Matthew Fox (as Racer X). There are a host of other minor characters (including a real-life monkey playing Chim Chim), but you can check out the film's main page to see who's playing who.

Based on the popular animated series, this new (and hopefully improved) live-action version of Speed Racer will go the family-friendly route, as in it's rated G. Does that mean Ricci won't appear half-naked and handcuffed to anything? Written and directed by the Wachowski Bros (The Matrix), pic will follow a race car driver named Speed who attempts to obtain glory while riding in the souped-up Mach 5 his Pops created for him. Along the way, however, he'll have to deal with the mysterious Racer X and the devilish owner of Royalton industries who's out to sabotage Speed after the young racer declines an offer to work for him. Set to hit theaters on May 9, 2008, the film is currently shooting in Berlin. Here's hoping we get a better look at the film once ComicCon rolls into San Diego later this month.

categories Movies, Cinematical