From writer/directors Larry and Andy Wachowski, the creators of the groundbreaking The Matrix trilogy, and producer Joel Silver, comes the live-action, high-octane family adventure Speed Racer, starring Emile Hirsch and Christina Ricci.
Trixie flies a helicopter in the movie. Is that her racecar?
They wrote this character and she made sense to me. This is a car culture, and youâ€™ve got to think that Speed raced a lot of rallies in his young life and sheâ€™s part of the team. Thatâ€™s her contribution.
Did you know before you got the role of Trixie that youâ€™d be doing martial arts in the movie?
A lot of the script was action sequences â€“ just pages and pages describing the races and action sequences. I didnâ€™t read those pages because it was a little dense and I had to audition in twenty-four hours. So, when I got to the set and the stunt coordinator came to see me, he said, â€˜So, youâ€™re going to be doing some kung fu.â€™ I was like, â€˜What? Really? I fight in this?â€™ And he assured me that I fight in this. I had a couple of training sessions. It was really fun and the stunt guys were awesome and really fun to deal with and work with. I had a really good time. I love that kind of thing, so it was great. I tend to be very competitive and athletic, so it was awesome.
With so much of the film being shot in front of a green screen, did the Wachowskis give you detailed information about what each scene would look like?
No. They explained as much as they could and you were certainly able to go and find out as much as you wanted to, or you could know as little as you wanted to. I mean, thereâ€™s no way of really knowing exactly what itâ€™s going to be like because itâ€™s very much in their hands. With Larry and Andy, itâ€™s their personality, itâ€™s their ideas and vision that stamped all over the movie. But the thing is, you get such a great feeling out of the fact that they know exactly what theyâ€™re going to be doing. They have this world worked out completely.
You can ask any question about minutia in the world and they would know the answer. So, when people are like that, it tends to inspire a lot of confidence and a lot of trust. Also, thereâ€™s this idea that if I argue with them, I have no ground to stand on because I have no idea whatâ€™s in their head. So, itâ€™s not like you can say, â€˜Look, I donâ€™t think this would go with whatâ€™s happening in the background,â€™ because you donâ€™t know what is happening in the background. So, you really are in a place where you just do what they tell you. If you donâ€™t, it probably will not fit with the rest of the film.
Were you nervous meeting the Wachowskis for the first time?
I was very nervous. I didnâ€™t talk much at my audition. Then they said they were worried about hiring me because I didnâ€™t talk much. I was like, â€˜I was nervous, people. Come on.â€™ It was a combination of the fact that I really would have liked to do the job plus being a huge fan of theirs. I loved The Matrix.
Whatâ€™s the most daredevil-ish thing youâ€™ve done in real life?
I donâ€™t do a lot of daredevil-y things. The things Iâ€™ve done for movies have been scarier. They attached me to a rope and I was swung across the gorge when I was 13, and that was totally scary. I would never do anything like that in real life, but it was one of those things where they just said, â€˜Okay, are you ready? Weâ€™re going to go.â€™ I figured Iâ€™d just have to do it.
Did you have a favorite outfit of Trixieâ€™s?
I really enjoyed my helicopter outfit. What else did I really like? I liked my Loverâ€™s Lane outfit a lot, too. Thatâ€™s pretty fun.
You did have a lot of wardrobe changes.
Oh, yes, I did. I was like the main girl in it, so it was like I was their doll. They just dressed me up and sent me out there to do things. Itâ€™s fun. Because when somebodyâ€™s using you as their dress-up doll, thereâ€™s something about that thatâ€™s incredibly endearing and fun.
The first time you see Trixie is that close-up and you immediately get an idea of the attitude the character has. How much say do you have in that?
A lot. I mean, they know what they want and theyâ€™re very communicative about that. You take their ideas and your own ideas and work it out. So, itâ€™s a blend of different peopleâ€™s opinions, but mainly coming from the original vision that the Wachowskis have.
How does being in a spectacle movie like this affect your acting?
The spectacle is not there when weâ€™re acting. Weâ€™re just acting, and then they put the spectacle in later. It doesnâ€™t really change your acting.
Did they give you helicopter lessons?
No, but they did have to teach me what it would look like if I knew how to drive a helicopter, which was really fun, actually, because you get to lean into turns and use your whole body weight. Itâ€™s pretty awesome.
Having been a child actress, whatâ€™s it like for you now to look up at the screen and see a child playing you as a kid?
Thatâ€™s always a weird thing because people know what I looked like when I was nine. Sometimes filmmakers will choose people who really donâ€™t look like I did and it is sort of odd because there is footage of me out there at that age. But in this case, they chose a girl who she looks pretty much like me. You can imagine it. She looks like the character; she looks like Trixie.