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Need For Speed racing to the big screen

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Need for Speed: Most Wanted (EA)

Hollywood loves a good high speed car chase — and EA's Need For Speed franchise is chock full of 'em. It was only a matter of time before the two came together.

DreamWorks Studios has acquired the film rights to the racing franchise and is fast tracking it for a 2014 release, which will coincide with the series' 20th anniversary. Filming is set to begin next year.

While he won't be working on the film personally, DreamWorks chairman (and famed director) Steven Spielberg calls Need for Speed "an epic video game that seems to have been made for the movies." Spielberg and EA have been business associates since 2005, when they announced a deal to co-develop three games. Only one of those — Boom Blox — ever made it to store shelves.

Brotherly producers George Gatins ("She's Out of My League") and "Real Steel" writer John Gatins are developing an original story for the film, using the game series as the basis for the screenplay. That should give them a pretty wide range to choose from, since the Need for Speed franchise has never really been a story-intense one. It was only with last year's Need For Speed: The Run that players have seen any sort of story-driven experience outside of the vehicles, in fact.

Scott Waugh will take on directorial duties for the film. He most recently directed and produced "Act of Valor," but he has a much longer history as a stunt person, with stints in everything from "Spider-Man" and "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" to, um, "The Princess Diaries."

The Gatins brothers say they're not basing the film on a particular game, but rather the larger series. While that series might lack a central theme (beyond driving really, really fast and avoiding the police), the game certainly has a loyal audience. The series has sold more than 140 million copies, raking in roughly $4 billion in revenue since it first burst onto the scene in 1994.

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