Wachowskis hit the 'Racer' track

In their first directing effort since “The Matrix” trilogy, Larry and Andy Wachowski will helm “Speed Racer” for Warner Bros.

The brothers, who are penning the script, reteam with producer Joel Silver, their accomplice in “The Matrix” films.

Production will begin in Europe next summer, and WB will release the pic in summer 2008. Warner will co-finance with Village Roadshow Pictures.

Japanese cartoon series “Speed Racer,” created by anime pioneer Tatsuo Yoshida, focused on Speed, his tricked-out Mach 5 race car and the adventures he got into with his family. He was often bailed out of danger by Racer X, a rival with a mysterious connection to Speed.

Silver most recently collaborated with the Wachowskis when they produced the James McTeigue-directed “V for Vendetta.” Silver spent several months tying down the details with the siblings. After working in the pits with a number of filmmakers for over a decade, Silver was understandably revved up over finally locking in directors and a start date.

“I’ve struggled with this movie for a long time, but when Larry and Andy came across with their ideas and vision, it was so fresh and original that you wonder why nobody else thought of it,” Silver said.Silver said they’re doing the movie out of a desire to reach out to a broader audience than they did with the R-rated “Matrix” series.

While the Wachowskis are still writing the screenplay, they’ve begun reassembling the “Matrix” team. Grant Hill will be exec producer and John Gaeta will be visual-effects supervisor, having won an Oscar for his “Matrix” work.

The logistics of the film haven’t yet been worked out, but it is likely that shooting will be done in European locations.

“We shot ‘V for Vendetta’ in Germany and had a great experience,” Silver said. “We’ll probably go in Europe, but these guys are so talented in visual effects, we don’t know how much of this will be done in cars on a track. I am confident they will deal with car racing in a way you haven’t seen before.”

The Wachowskis are repped by WMA and Circle of Confusion.

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