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No, No, Speed Racer

Written by PETA | July 6, 2007

comicbookmovie/Creative Commons

So the Wachowski Brothers (the geniuses behind The Matrix) have been holed up for a while working on a live action version of the ’60s cult cartoon Speed Racer. Sounds pretty awesome, except that they’ve made the decision to use a real chimpanzee to portray Speed Racer’s simian friend Chim Chim. And, as always when a primate is used in filming, it is an absolute guarantee that there’s behind-the-scenes abuse—even when those half-awake film enthusiasts at the American Humane Association are on the job. The fact is that while the original, animated Chim Chim never had any trouble mugging for the camera, the new guy on the job can think of about a million things that he’d rather be doing than performing for the Wachowski brothers. For most chimpanzees used on set, this natural aversion to stardom means that severe beatings, intimidation, and all-round lousy treatment are standard tools of the trade for the trainers who are paid to make them perform. And according to our source on set, the chimp being used for this movie is no exception, which may well explain why he recently deviated from the script and bit a child actor.

ucla/Creative Commons

We’ve been communicating back and forth with the movie’s producer, Joel Silver, asking that he make the humane decision and use animatronics instead of live animal actors. I’ll keep you posted on any developments with this one, and you can read more about how that discussion’s been going here. Incidentally, my favorite movie blog, I Watch Stuff, also covered the story, which pretty much made my day.

And finally, please click here to learn more and to ask that the Wachowski brothers use animatronics instead of live animals.

Commenting is closed.
  • Jennifer says:

    While I am a strong advocate for animal rights I have worked first had with the Lilles and know that they put everything they have into the proper care and comfort of their chimps. Yes I would much rather these amazing animals be in the wild or large sanctuarytype habitats..however these people have spent their lives taking care of the chimps. They take care of chimps that are old and unable to “act” where as these chimps would have been otherwise forgotten.

  • SHARIE DELLA says:


  • Michele says:

    Bob insanity is a “grave often prolonged condition that prevents a person from being held legally responsible for his or her actions” or a “serious mental illness or disorder impairing a person’s capacity to function normally and safely” dictionary definitions. I am not exactly sure how people who want to end animal suffering can be synonymous with an insane person. Please do not equate passion with mental illness your statement is neither cogent nor intelligent.

  • bob says:

    To the fall out boy person… don’t you think you could separate the music from the video? Do you understand that in the music business the band is not necessarily the producer and that die hard PETA members aren’t the target audience because you’re all fucking insane?

  • Jack says:

    Hey Mike I’m not sure exactly what you mean. There’s some good background info on the industry including some firsthand accounts of abuse and research that’s been done on the trauma chimps suffer when they’re removed from their mothers at a young age for the entertainment industry put together by Jane Goodall and others at httpwww.chimpcollaboratory.orgprojectsChimp20CollaboratoryQuark.pdf We also have a site devoted to the issue at I hope that’s helpful! jack

  • Mike says:

    I’d LOVE to see some nice shiny sources on chimp behaviour it’d really show me exactly what’s being done wrong why chimps hate it and how they react. Not quotes sources. They get VERY good press!

  • robyn says:

    In relation to using chimps for entertainment I was so shocked to see the Fall Out Boy video for Thanks for the Memories full of chimps. Dressed in clothes and pretending to play drums etc. And “smiling” which we know is done out of fear. The band is doing a concert here in a few weeks time and this video has seriously put me off them I wish I’d seen the video before buying a ticket at least I wouldn’t have wasted my money. I definitely wont be seeing Speed Racer and will pass on this info to everyone I know.

  • Warwak says:

    We think it is cute and are being friendly when we dress Animals in human clothes. Strange that we are so curious and entertained by Animals that instead of observing and appreciating Animals living their lives we make them live ours. Karma in action shows us instead of learning from Animals and protecting them and ultimately ourselves society has become a tortoise willingly and pathetically spiraling downwards into a lifeless coffin of our own making. Speed Racer can kiss my ass!