Arts » General Arts

Drag racing bio-pic to premiere Thu in Avon



The budget is low but the spirits are high in Snake and Mongoo$e, a docudrama about drag racing legends Don Prudhomme and Tom McEwen premiering Aug. 29 in Avon during a big weekend for drag racing anchored by the NHRA U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway. Prudhomme and McEwen, who served as executive producers and on-set consultants on the film, will attend the premiere at Regal Shiloh Crossing Stadium 18.

The biopic liberally uses footage of real races from the duo's climb to fame in the late '60s and their transformation into superstars in the '70s. While the film covers the trials in the men's domestic lives, including McEwen's marital problems and the catastrophic illness that struck one of his sons, the tone remains upbeat for the most part, with plenty of banter between the two friends and rivals.

Jesse Williams (Grey's Anatomy) plays Prudhomme as a serious fellow focused on his love of racing and dismissive of the business side of the sport. Richard Blake (Dragonball: Evolution) paints McEwen as a more laid-back fellow, full of ideas for securing sponsors.

The most winning idea was to exploit the rivalry between the two drivers. Prudhomme was already known as "The Snake" because of his quick reflexes, slim build and height. McEwen, dubbed "The Mongoose" by his engine builder, convinces Prudomme to use the nicknames to turn the duo into larger-than-life figures within the National Hot Rod Association. The tactic works, leading to a fateful meeting where the men convince a Mattel executive (Noah Wyle) to produce a line of Snake and Mongoose Hot Wheels toy cars. The move leads to beaucoup bucks for the men and a far wider visibility for the duo and the sport.

Director Wayne Holloway, who co-wrote the screenplay with Alan Paradise, does a nice job within his limited budget to recreate the look of the period, from the buildings to the clothing and hairstyles of the '70s. Prepare to smile - and cringe - at some of the fashions, particularly the painfully groovy hairdo, long sideburns and mustache of ever-present announcer Mike McAllister (Tim Blake Nelson).

Fans will want to remain in their seats through the closing credits for footage of the real Snake and Mongoose, as the filmmakers recap the men's post-movie careers.

The Avon premiere will open with a red-carpet event at 5 p.m. The screening will follow at 5:30 p.m. More info at


This Week's Flyers

Around the Web