April 4, 2016
By Anita Busch
The rat pack is back! The fastest mouse in all of Mexico may be on its way to the big screen. Speedy Gonzales, the beloved Looney Tunes mouse who can outrun the fastest of cats and whose Arriba! Arriba! Andale! Andale! cry was a Saturday morning staple for kids growing up in the 1960s, is being eyed as an animated feature at Warner Bros. with Mexico’s own beloved filmmaker/actor Eugenio Derbez voicing the mouse.
“In Mexico we grew up watching Speedy Gonzales,” Derbez told Deadline. “He was like a superhero to us, or maybe more like a revolutionario like Simon Bolivar or Pacho Villa. He watched out for the little people but with a lot of bravado and a weakness for the ladies. I’m really excited to be bringing this character to the big screen. And besides being Mexican— my full name is Eugenio Derbez Gonzalez and I have big ears. The casting couldn’t be better.”
Speedy Gonzales started out as a character in another cartoon before animators Friz Freleng and Hawley Pratt introduced him in an animated short of his own in 1955. Then, the legendary Mel Blanc voiced the mouse. That short, which also featured Looney Tunes’ Sylvester the Cat, ended up winning the Academy Award for best short subject.
The in-development project, which is tentatively entitled Speedy, will be produced by Dylan Sellers via Rivers Edge Films and Derbez and Ben Odell via their 3pas Studios. Hank Nelken (Are We Done Yet?, Saving Silverman) has been hired to script the story, which is described as a heist caper. The project (which apparently was spilled by the Tracking Board) will likely be cut into both English- and Spanish-speaking versions.
“We see this as an origin story of the great master, like a Robin Hood character, who ultimately ends up taking from the rich and giving to the poor,” said Sellers. “In a time when Donald Trump is gaining momentum, the world needs Speedy more than ever.”
Animation travels well across the globe. Derbez has voiced animation in the past, particularly notable was Donkey in the Spanish-language version of Shrek. By doing so, he added even more humor into film with local colloquialisms and humor, which was credited for helping box office attendance in Spanish-speaking countries.