Before the cameras started rolling, Emile Hirsch and I had a chat about the way “Speed Racer” is slowly but surely growing in reputation, thanks in large part to the younger viewers who saw it and who are going to revisit the film many times as they get older. Hirsch told me he’s certainly heard from young fans more and more, and he seemed pleased to hear that the film is not fading. I know that for my own kids, it’s one of the films that are just part of their ongoing canon, in the regular rotation, and beloved.
Hirsch has made interesting choices so far in his career, and I’m glad to see him working with someone like William Friedkin. I think Hirsch has real talent, and maybe the commercial failure of “Speed Racer” was the best thing for him. I’m not sure he’d survive a steady diet of giant tentpole films. It seems like he’s far more interested in exploring the darker, stranger corners of filmmaking, and that he’s good at it.
I interviewed him for “Speed,” and for “Into The Wild,” and he seems to be a different person each time we come back together to discuss a new film. I think he’s the sort of guy who really internalizes these experiences he has, and he’s still pretty young, still developing into the actor he’ll eventually be.
He seems proud of “Killer Joe,” and he should be. He and Thomas Haden Church have a great goofball southern fried rhythm that they drop into every time they share a scene in the film, and it’s one of the reasons I really enjoyed the picture. Even if nothing ended up happening to their family, just watching the two of them try to think their way through a situation would be a a pleasure.
He’s been the star of big movies, like in “Speed Racer” or “The Darkest Hour,” and he’s also been willing to appear in ensemble roles in movies like “Milk” or “Savages,” and some of those have been among his best performances. I think he’s happiest when he can really vanish into a character, not when he’s playing something dead straight or close to himself. He seems happiest making big choices, and I look forward to much more of that from him in the future.
“Killer Joe” is open now in NY, and will open in more limited markets this weekend.