Film News

George Lopez to voice Speedy Gonzales in film

Cast member George Lopez gestures at the premiere of "Valentine's Day" at the Grauman's Chinese theatre in Hollywood, California February 8, 2010. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Speedy Gonzales is taking his folk-hero status, incredible speed and signature red kerchief to the big screen, with help from George Lopez.

The comedian is attached to provide the voice of the fastest mouse in all Mexico for a politically correct live-action/CG hybrid feature set up at New Line Cinema.

The Looney Tunes character debuted in the 1950s as a regular nemesis of Sylvester the Cat. A 1955 short about the tiny hero, “Speedy Gonzales,” won the Academy Award for best short subject, (cartoon). Pat Boone even released a hit song about the famous mouse in 1962.

Over the years, Speedy appeared in the live-action/animation features “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” “Space Jam” and “Looney Tunes: Back in Action.” But the character has often courted criticism that the ethnic characterizations of him and his compatriots (especially lazy cousin Slowpoke Rodriguez) are stereotypically racist and severely outdated.

Aware of this, New Line and the producers plan to update the brand with a modernized sensibility.

“We wanted to make sure that it was not the Speedy of the 1950s -- the racist Speedy,” said the comedian’s wife Ann Lopez, who will serve alongside him as a producer. “Speedy’s going to be a misunderstood boy who comes from a family that works in a very meticulous setting, and he’s a little too fast for what they do. He makes a mess of that. So he has to go out in the world to find what he’s good at.”

That path becomes clearer once Speedy befriends a gun-shy race-car driver.

“Garfield” scribes Alec Sokolow and Joel Cohen will write the script.

Lopez hosts “Lopez Tonight” on TBS and appears in New Line’s ensemble hit “Valentine’s Day,” which has grossed $158 million worldwide after two weekends. He also recently starred in “The Spy Next Door” and provided a voice for “Beverly Hills Chihuahua.”