An exclusive interview with the cast of ‘Speed Racer’

Daily Cougar staff writer Jake Hamilton recently had the opportunity to interview the cast of Warner Bros. Pictures’ ‘Speed Racer.’ The film follows Speed Racer (Emile Hirsch), who loves to race his Mach 5 car designed by his father, Pops Racer. This is Hamilton’s interview with Matthew Fox, Christina Ricci, John Goodman and Susan Sarandon.

Interview: Matthew Fox

Jake Hamilton: How cool is this movie? You’ve got to be so proud to be a part of something like this.

Matthew Fox: I am. I’m very proud. You know, I just saw the movie last night. This process started for me about a year ago. I desperately wanted to be a part of this film. The whole experience has been just the most amazing time, just to go all the way through it: the three months in Berlin, getting to know everybody in the cast, becoming friends and becoming family. Larry and Andy (Wachowski), I just love. The whole experience was fantastic, so to see it last night – to see what it is – because we’ve all been try to imagine this world that they’ve created, but seeing it all done, it’s just absolutely beautiful.

Hamilton: Have your kids seen it?

Fox: No, they’ll see it next week. They’re really at their wits’ end, and they can’t wait any longer. You know, they’ve been aware that I’ve been part of this for a year – and it’s been a long year. They’re really fired up.

Hamilton: How do you approach a character like Racer X, who is supposed to be a mystery to the audience?

Fox: It was a real challenge, you know. It’s sort of a different style of work. Especially within this work, it’s sort of a hyper-real, anime thing. I wanted to find a proper voice for him, use the suit that he uses as a disguise. In a way that felt right. Not having use of your eyes as a way to communicate – there’s another way of looking at it – and that’s how well you can communicate without it and how well you can intimidate when you can see someone else and they can’t see where you’re coming from. All of that was stuff that I would try to use. And also, underneath that, I have to use the past life of who he actually is and start to feel at the end of the movie the humanity of who he is starting to be awakened a bit. It was a real challenge, but I enjoyed it very much.

Hamilton: As you know, I am a huge Lost fan – what can fans expect from the final five episodes of this season?

Fox: It’s going to be huge, I’ll tell you that. We’re right in the middle of it right now. The way the season ends – the surprises, the explanations in it -†are going to be bigger than ever. It seems like the show just keeps building the momentum, and so many lines have been put out and when things begin to connect and when the audience starts putting things together, there’s a momentum that will be pretty intense.

Interview: Christina Ricci

Jake Hamilton: How cool is this movie? You’ve got to be so proud to be a part of something like this.

Christina Ricci: Yeah, absolutely. I was just so proud after watching it, that’s exactly how I felt. It was just like, "Wow, I can’t believe I’m even in this movie." It’s just crazy.

Hamilton: What kind of imagination do you have to have? Not only as an audience member, but you’re working with the green screen, you have to pretend that you’re this different person. How do you approach something like that?

Ricci: I think that the main thing is that you have to be able to give yourself over to someone else’s imagination. To be able to say, "Yeah, I’m in the middle of a big blue box right now," but Andy and Larry are picturing whatever it is that they’re picturing so I’m going let them tell me exactly what to do and just trust that it’s going to fit within the movie. I mean, you’re really working within someone else’s imagination, so it’s much better to just trust them than to try to employ your own imagination.

Hamilton: Was there ever a moment when’re you’re working with the big screen and thinking, "What the hell are we doing?"

Ricci: Oh, there are tons of times. Where you’re like, "Wait, where are we supposed to be?" You’ll be working and saying lines for like two hours and you’ll say, "Wait, we’re not in the factory? Where are we supposed to be?" And they’ll say, "Oh no, you’re in a social club now," and you’re just like, "Oh."

Hamilton: Yeah, I would imagine that would throw you off a little bit.

Ricci: Yeah, but the brothers inspire so much trust and confidence, you know they’re not going to let anyone slip through the cracks. Nothing is going to get past them. If you do anything that they don’t feel is going to fit within what they’re doing, they’re going to say something.

Hamilton: So you’re basically working in a comfort zone, because, obviously, you had to feel comfortable with them.

Ricci: Yeah, I mean all of the actors got along really well together.

Hamilton: Yeah everyone just fed off of the chemistry, and obviously it translates on screen really well.

Ricci: Yeah, we have a really good time and, like you said, it translates and you can tell.

Hamilton: One thing I thought was great about Trixie was how she managed to be both a girly-girl and a tomboy all at the same time.

Ricci: Yeah, she’s super, super girly. She has a special outfit for each activity, but she does everything that the boys do. She is wearing lipstick that matches her shirt, and she’s got her platforms and her high heels, but she flies a helicopter, and does kung-fu fights and strategies, and races cars and builds cars and works with the family, so she’s kind of like the ultimate feminist ideal where you can be as girly as you want to be but you are just considered an equal to all men.

Interview: John Goodman and Susan Sarandon

Jake Hamilton: How cool is this movie? You’ve just got to be so proud to be a part of something like this.

Susan Sarandon: It’s so cool. That’s why I did it – for the coolness.

Hamilton: Being parents, did you pull anything from your parental instinct to bring to Mom and Pops Racer?

Sarandon: Yeah, I’m always having hearts-to-heart with my son that make me cry (laughs). It’s true!

John Goodman: Every night (laughs).

Sarandon: They just think it’s really funny. In fact, we’re watching it and I’ll look up and they’ll all be looking to me to see if I’m breaking down. They think I’m a riot. But, with the Wachowskis, it really came from them. I think family is very important for them.

Hamilton: How is imagination important for this? Not just for an audience, but with these characters, pretending you’re in a different environment in front of the blue screen.

Goodman: It’s got to be vital, but you’ve got to throw most of your concentration into the people you’re talking to. Everything else is secondary. If you don’t have that connection – who cares? The people in the audience will see it immediately and they’ll walk out in droves.

Sarandon: It’s just pretending you’re not in front of a green screen, it’s pretending you don’t see 20 people (puts hand to her face) that close to you and you’re pretending that you have feelings for a person that you don’t have feelings for.

(Goodman laughs)

Sarandon: Or that you’re not naked, or whatever.

Goodman: Yeah, that’s most of the time.

Sarandon: Yeah, so that’s just a different kind of focus. Our characters got to be in the real world more often.

Goodman: Yeah, we had our own house.

Sarandon: So we were lucky.

Hamilton: Is there ever a moment that you’re on set, you’re in this fantastic imaginary environment and you have to ask yourself, "What are we doing?" How much trust goes into that?

Goodman: Total trust. You have to be able to jump off of a cliff and know that someone will be there to catch you.

Sarandon: There were a few Chim-Chim moments that I thought –

Goodman: Oh yeah, we had the animal –

Sarandon: Yeah, like, "What a
re we doing with this animal in our family?" Because he was a great little chimp, but occasionally he would start rocking and that would be the signal that something was wrong. (laughs) Something unplanned was about to happen.

Goodman: And you don’t want to totally dossal him, you want him to follow his nature. If he was like a robot, well –

Sarandon: He loved me.

Goodman: Yeah, he loved Susan. And who doesn’t?

Hamilton: Thanks so much guys, Houston really appreciates it.

Goodman: Thank you, and good luck to you sir.

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