Questions for ‘Speed Racer’s Emile Hirsch

Emile Hirsch drives the Mach 5 in "Speed Racer." He spoke to NEWSWEEK's Ramin Setoodeh.

After doing this movie, are you a better driver?
It's all green screen. But I'd come off "Into the Wild," where I'd done intense preparation, so out of habit I prepared quite a bit even though I didn't have to do a lot of driving. I contacted Jimmie Johnson, the NASCAR pro.

What kind of a car do you drive?
A black Toyota Prius. But I Go Kart like a mofo.

That's impressive. How often do you Go Kart?
I Go Karted one time. Basically, anything you try to make me sound tough, I fail miserably.

This movie kind of reminds me of Mario Kart.
Yeah. Oh, totally. I love that game.

Which character would you be?

I was Princess.
Oh, really? At least you weren't Donkey Kong. Some people are, like [in a deep voice], "I like to play Donkey Kong." Don't they realize how ridiculous a gorilla looks on a little kart?

Were you really in "Sabrina the Teenage Witch"?
Yeah. I was in an episode with me and Frankie Muniz [later of "Malcolm in the Middle"] in a food fight. I remember I sprayed Frankie in the ear with ketchup and then poured chips and popcorn on his head.

Was this during the scene, or after?
That was the scene. I annihilated Muniz.

Have you ever seen the blog EmileHirschIsSexyAsHell?

Do you feel like a heartthrob?
Sometimes. I mean, I guess a little bit because people say that. But you don't want to indulge in the idea of that. It doesn't seem like the most productive idea to sit around and go, "Oh, cool, I'm a heartthrob." Those are the makings of a jackass.

Then again, people say you look like Jack Black.
That's pretty cool. I feel like maybe I'm his little brother.

Have you ever met him?
Yeah. He kind of f–––ed with me a little once. I was, like, "Hey, my name is Emile." He's, like, "Emo?!?" I was, like, "Emile." He was, like, "Emo?!?" I was, like, "Emile." He was, like, "Ego?!?" It was funny.

Your next movie is the gay biopic "Milk," starring Sean Penn. Is he the reason you got cast?
I think the last thing Sean wanted to see was my face after spending nine months and another five in the editing room. I think Gus [Van Sant, the director,] probably had to insist on me being part of the film.

Do you kiss Sean?
No. We don't have a romantic relationship. My character works for him.

Because it sounds like Sean is hooking up with everyone in this movie.
Yeah, Sean does. He beasts it up a little bit.

What does that mean?
I don't know. It's like slang.

Is it a sexual thing?
It can be.