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Matthew Fox is Racer X

Published May 1, 2008 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Warner Bros
Speed Racer Speed Racer

Speed Racer is based on the anime cartoon series, but it has taken a modern, even futuristic approach to the visuals. The actors too did not want to act like cartoon characters, so Matthew Fox played Racer X for real.

Go Speed Racer Go Music Video


"That's dangerous to get into that kind of thing because the world is so fantastic that the one thing that the audience has to identify is with the human beings and the characters," said Fox. "So you can't go too far with that or you would alienate the audience, I think. I did want to bring a sort of, I think specifically for Racer X, I wanted this sort of anime voice, the idea that he built for himself to protect himself in the world he operates in, and also to protect himself from the memory of who he once was, I think, in some respects. So that, for me specifically, was all about really building this idea that he's become."

Racer X is the mystery figure who recruits Speed to help him bring down the corporation. "It's almost slightly disturbing, I think, and he's sort of like the satellite orbiting the solar system of this family, and he's way out there, and has been for years. It's really sort of Speed graduating into his world, starting to enter into X's world, that kind of awakens that thing inside of him, that he feels ultra protective and starts to awaken this idea of who he once was and what he's left behind. I think that the movie is really, for my character, for X, it's a setup for sort of exploring what might happen down the road. Obviously, that would only happen if the movie was really well received and people respond to it."



Much of the above does come from the original cartoon, so it is not a total reinvention. "There's an original source-material cartoon that he's based on. I mean, all of those elements are taken from the original cartoon. The idea that he works for some very top-secret organization and that he's battling corporate corruption within the race world, which is really the only world, that's all part of the original source material. Larry and Andy were huge, huge fans of that and were really paying homage in every way that they could to bring that into the film that we made. So they did take, I think, a lot of design liberties with the character, and that he looks, out of any character, he looks more different than what the original material looked like. He's much darker and sort of edgier and darker. He carries a gun. His car has like big gattling guns that come out of it. I mean, he's an ass-kicker."

The costume was the biggest potential problem for Fox. "That first meeting with Larry and Andy was basically, if I think about it, they were basically warning me. The whole time they were warning me, 'This is the reason why this movie's going to be really difficult for you to make. The suit's going to be really intense, and it's going to be leather, and it's going to be hot, and you're going to do action sequences in it, and you're not going to have any use of your eyes as an actor. Are you worried about that?' And I was like, 'I'm not worried about it. I can't wait. I'm so fired up for the challenge.' The experience of doing it was absolutely fantastic. I had a great time. It was tough doing the fight sequence in the suit was about a 10-day period there where every single day I was dehydrated. I mean, I had to pound electrolyte replacements. I was really, really dehydrated. Dealing with the mask and the suit was amazing. Wardrobe is always a really important part, at least for me, about character and figuring things out and finding your way into something. This suit got to the point for me that when I would put it on and drop that helmet on, man it just was like I was so in it. It was so much fun. And there is a certain thing that when you can see other people, you can intimidate and see other people's eyes, but they can't see yours. And I would immediately notice like when I would drop into that thing that people were different around me. It was amazing."

Speed Racer opens to theaters on May 9th.

For the trailers, stills, poster and more information on the film, go to the Speed Racer Movie Page.
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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Warner Bros
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