By Fred Topel | Image property of respective holders.
Emile Hirsch has never been in a blockbuster before, instead choosing smaller, more character driven movies. All that is about to change with Speed Racer. You can’t get much bigger than The Wachowskis remaking an old anime cartoon in live-action using their crazy green screen CGI technology. Good thing Hirsch could go to his zen place during the more difficult days.
Emile Hirsch on Speed Racer
“I was so grateful to have made Into the Wild before I made Speed Racer because on Speed Racer I was indoors every single day, every single scene, on a green screen,” said Hirsch. “Some of the time, just to pass the time I would think back to climbing mountains in Alaska. That really helped me.”
The technical process did not hinder Hirsch’s acting ability, however. He still focused on the character of Speed. “You can because it's like a play. All the actors are together in the green screen room so it's like doing a play. In a lot of ways, you can focus more on the actor because they're the only ones there. It's just you and the actor. Then they put in the background later but you can definitely focus on character in a big way when you're just one on one with actors in a big old green room.”
Perhaps that is all Hirsch had to think about, because he could not explain the techie stuff. “You're talking to the wrong guy to explain to you the technical processes of the Wachowskis because I couldn't tell you. They're very, very, very hands on, very meticulous, very funny and loving to the whole crew. There's no ego. They're really great. They're just stand up people.”
On the set in Berlin, the down time was perhaps the biggest perk. “Berlin is a very beautiful city. We had a great cast. Susan Sarandon is a joy to work with. John Goodman is fabulous. A young guy, Kick Gurry, really good guy. Christina Ricci and Matthew Fox were both wonderful. Then it's a very international cast. We had Rain who's one of the biggest pop stars in Asia right now. He's a very sweet guy. Benno Furmann, the German actor, it was a very, very international cast. The Wachowskis like it like that.”
Speed Racer is due out to theaters on May 9th, 2008.