Emile Hirsch gives the latest on the potential for a Speed Racer sequel
'If you look at the reviews for the first movie, people were weirdly, personally mean.'
Released in 2008, Speed Racer was primed to be one of the biggest blockbusters of the year, if not the decade.
The Wachowskis, hot off The Matrix Trilogy, were writing and directing this adaptation of the hit 1960s manga series, complete with a hot young international cast.
And then the movie came out, one week after Iron Man, a movie that essentially single-handedly changed the blockbuster game. Speed Racer cost $120 million to produce (and probably the same or more again to promote), and only made $94 million at the worldwide box office.
Critics were no kinder, with a 41% score on Rotten Tomatoes, and the movie was immediately consigned to the Expensive Flops page on Wikipedia.
However, in the decade-plus since then, the movie has garnered a big cult following, with a constant push from fans for a potential sequel.
With the Wachowskis returning to make a long-awaited sequel with The Matrix 4 this year, the want for a Speed Racer 2 has been renewed.
The movie's lead star Emile Hirsch is currently on the promotional campaign for his new horror movie Son, from Irish director Ivan Kavanagh and screening as a part of this year's Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival, so obviously when we got the time to chat to him, we had to ask about the potential for a return to the world of Speed Racer.
"I don't know. I don't think- I don't really know if there have been. I think it would be really cool if they were to make a Speed Racer sequel," Hirsch told us.
"It's interesting, when it came out, it got these horrible, mean reviews, and it bombed, and it was considered this massive failure and all of this stuff. And in the years since, people love the film now. I think that's fairly in line with the cartoon [it is based on]. The cartoon was fairly popular, but it was only on for two or three seasons, and then it just grew in stature over the years.
"It's funny. I never thought that would happen. The idea that Speed Racer is this cult movie that people love now. Because you have to remember, at the time, the world rejected it! We were all surprised, because we thought the movie was so rad and kind of ahead of its time.
"The Wachowskis, this was their first movie post-Matrix, and they went all out and they stylistically went in this completely different direction, it was really ground-breaking the way that they did so much of the effects. Some of it was stuff that people didn't notice or took it for granted.
"If you go back and look at some of those reviews for Speed Racer, people were really mean. They were weirdly, personally mean. It was very weird. Especially for a film that has these great family values, and spiritual values about art and courage and finding your sense of self, and linking athleticism with art.
"It is kind of wild that it got knocked as far as it did, but in the years since, people love it. It's pretty cool."
You can listen to our full conversation with Hirsch, including chats about working with Quentin Tarantino, William Friedkin, and what he's been doing to kill the time during lockdown, right here: