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Susan Sarandon on Speed Racer

Published May 14, 2008 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Warner Bros
Speed Racer Speed Racer

Susan Sarandon is known for her political activism. It rarely bleeds into her acting projects, except for the occasional Dead Man Walking. In Speed Racer, she plays mom, but the story had enough going for it to fuel her intellect.

Sarandon Coasts Speed Racer

"One of the reasons I did it, because it’s a small, but it’s a really groundbreaking in terms of the way it looks and the way it unfolds," said Sarandon. "They have a very strong sense of family, the Wachowskis, and are very, very close. So when they called me and they talked about how the family is standing up to these conglomerates and how they don’t sell out, and how they let Speed make his own decision but he decides not to go with the sure thing, not to go with the big backing and to stay pure and to have principle. They stand behind him and they take on and it's very cathartic at the end. It’s one of those stories that you really root for the family."

With corruption in sports hitting buttons as hot as wars and the death penalty, Speed Racer may be quite politically charged yet. "While we were filming it they were all these scandals in racing coincidentally, while we were in Berlin last summer, in the racing world. Everything from stealing designs to fixing races. So I mean it is something that is not going to go away, this idea of power, of corporate power meddling in everything from our daily lives to our water to our security to our sports. You’d think that sports would be the last hold out of something that’s beyond and untouchable, that brings all different kinds of people together all the time without any kind of political motive. But in fact, when you see all the big money involved in everything from basketball to baseball you understand that we’ve lost some of that purity."

Speed Racer may seem like a boy movie, but it has been testing well with girls too. A real life mother, Sarandon theorized on the film's wide appeal. "It’s been surprising how much the girls have liked it. I mean I think Trixie is one of the reasons. She’s a very feisty little girl and she grows up to be a kick ass kind of young woman who solves a problem and who seems smart and at the same time is very girly. So it’s a kind of interesting combination. She’s dressed in pink and but she flies a helicopter and she fights when the guys are fighting. So she’s a very, very strong character. I mean, I’m not a big fan of car racing myself, but there’s something about the way the art of the way this movie unfolds and the family values that it has. The mom figure is very important to the family and at the same time she also helps build the car that she keeps the family together and she’s kind of the emotional thunder. So the women are represented very well."

Even guys are admitting getting choked up by the film's heartstring moments. "That is my job in the movie to be kind of the heart of the movie. It’s a very tight family and they stand up for each other, but the men are sometimes not emotionally as accessible or comfortable with their emotion. So it’s my job to make sure that the kids know that, even though the father doesn’t show it, that he is proud and that I am proud. And she also has a great scene where she talks about how what he does is art and it's not about being successful or being huge, its about doing what you want to do. And how when she watches and even though it really frightens her, it’s much more than commerce. I think that’s an interesting message for kids to have today."

Speed Racer is out in theaters now.

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

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