Emile Hirsch: interview
'Speed Racer' star Emile Hirsh talks green screens and 'gimbles' with Time Out Film
Were you a fan of the ‘Matrix’ films?'I am such a Matrix geek, I’ve seen those movies so many times and thought about them so much. I’m a huge admirer of the Wachowski brothers. It was such a great opportunity. They work so rarely as directors, and what they were proposing was so non-"Matrix", so absolutely against everything that the they "should" have done, that it was blasphemous. I got giddy.'
You made ‘Speed Racer’ immediately after ‘Into the Wild’ with Sean Penn, which was a very different sort of film. You shot ‘Speed Racer’ entirely in a studio in Berlin. For ‘Into the Wild’, you filmed all over America.'To me, the appeal of "Speed Racer", aside from the wonderful Wachowski brothers, who are absolute geniuses, was the idea of continuing "Into the Wild" in the sense of living to the fullest in extreme environments. And I have to say the idea of doing a movie completely on a green screen is so alien and seems so strangely horrid that it became a challenge in my mind. I couldn’t go and make some ordinary movie after "Into the Wild", I just couldn’t go and do it! The film has made me a challenge junkie in a weird way. I read some other scripts and they take place in the real world and I’m like: No, I want the green screen! I want the craziness! And that’s what I got with "Speed Racer"!'
Was it hard work?'It was very tough. But tough work is the only rewarding work. It was just a green stage, it was amazing. We had a chimpanzee on the set and he would jump on my lap and drink my Diet Coke out of my hand. There was 50 days of it and then they put me in the Mach 5, my car in the film, which is actually a large simulator that spins around from side and side. It’s like being on a rollercoaster. It’s called the "gimble" and they put me in this thing for 12-hour days for about three weeks. It threw me around like I was in a car. I was in a full leather jumpsuit, it was crazy.'
Author: Dave Calhoun
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