Speed Racer - Susan Sarandon, Kick Gurry, and Paulie Litt
There was actually
Susan Sarandon: "This film is unlike anything you've ever seen. It's really funny; it's really fast. It's something that adults and kids and stoners will love. You've never seen anything like it before I guarantee it. At the heart of it is a family situation, family drama, so it's actually not just special effects. It's actually something that you'll root for people to stay together and take on corporate America. There's a lot going on. I think you'll get a lot of bang for your buck."
And working with these two directors (Larry and Andy Wachowski) who have such a specific vision, what was that like?
Susan Sarandon: "It's great. I think actors can do just about anything as long as they think somebody's driving. That really when actors start to behave badly is when there isn't any vision. Even though they knew exactly what they wanted, they would show us what was going on and so they made us part of the process. And they chose a really you know they work with the same people over and over so there's not a lot of strife on the set. We never felt, considering how enormous the production was, they never passed along any tension if there was tension. So we had fun."
You got to work with the chimp a lot, right?
Paulie Litt: "Yes. There was actually two chimpanzees, Willy and Kenzie three-years old and two. It's amazing how intelligent they are. It's scary. They're very intelligent. They're like contortionists. They love to jump around and swing. It's a lot of fun just sitting back and watching them."
Did you want to take one home with you?
Paulie Litt: "No. They're a lot of work. They are a lot of work."
So why should kids go see Speed Racer?
Paulie Litt: "Because it's exciting, a lot of racing. And it's really a family fun movie. It tells not to go with the big guy just because he has all the money. Stick to your roots, stick to what you know is right, and stick with your family."
Tell me about working on this, specifically because you had so much greenscreen and not that much there on the set.
Kick Gurry: "It's interesting because everybody assumes that greenscreen is this huge departure from, you know, what a normal actor goes through "
And it's not?
Kick Gurry: "Well, essentially you're going back to being in a play, really, you know? You just have the actors, you have a contained space, and I mean really, it's pretty unrealistic when you do a movie anywhere. You're in a scene, there's a hundred guys in shorts standing around, you have to kiss a girl it's not like you really think you're kissing a girl. So the greenscreen doesn't really I mean, the one thing that was interesting was a lot of people I think find it difficult in a movie to have a relationship with the world around them because it's not actually there. And the Wachowski brothers are very, very good at putting you in the pretend world. The actors on this, we always felt like we knew exactly where we were, exactly what our relationship was with the space around us."
How did they do that?
Kick Gurry: "Their imagination is limitless so when they describe something to you, they get to the edge of your imagination. They can go further, but they keep it within your limitations. Just the way they describe things, the way they tell you how things are going to look, they speak very much in moods rather than just what it looks like. They don't sort of say, 'All right, there's a monster here,' or, 'There's a car coming this way.' It's more like they put you in an emotional state of where you're at. It was a really fun experience getting to be a part of that, getting to pretend but then making it somehow real. It was very cool. They're very talented."
Were you a fan of Speed Racer to begin with?
Kick Gurry: "Well, in Australia we didn't actually get the cartoon. We got a cartoon called Astro Boy, which was similar sort of manga cartoon but it wasn't the same, so I didn't know much about it. When I was getting close to getting the role, I rented out all the DVDs. I had a good time watching them. I became a fan very quickly."