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Speed Racer Star Discusses the Film's Newfound Popularity

The star of the live action Speed Racer recently reflected on the film's initial release and eventual recognition as a cult classic.

Article Summary

  • Speed Racer manga and anime gained huge global popularity since 1966.
  • 2008 live-action film saw initial criticism but has since become a cult classic.
  • Emile Hirsch reflects on the film's journey and its late but rewarding acclaim.
  • Possibility of a Speed Racer sequel remains uncertain, stirring fan speculation.

In 1966, the now-iconic Japanese title Speed Racer, also known as (Mach GoGoGo), was simply created as a manga centered on automobile racing. However, not long after its print release, the manga was eventually adapted into a popular anime title that received global popularity and a massive Western audience. At one point, it exceeded 40 million viewers. It's always been a pretty big deal.

So in 2008, when an American live-action adaption was released with a budget of $120 million, a lot was riding on its success. However, just like several other anime or comic titles of its time (including the extreme public distaste for Dragonball Evolution), it didn't really manage to establish an audience that understood its creative intentions. Since then, viewers' complaints have softened their stance, and the film has earned a newfound following for being an immersive, visual dark horse flick. But has that change of heart resonated with Speed Racer himself?

speed racer
Image: Warner Bros. Discovery

Speed Racer Reflects on the Film's Reputation and Recent Popularity

While speaking to MovieWeb about the legacy of the live-action Speed Racer movie, actor Emile Hirsch admits, "What's interesting about Speed Racer is that the trajectory that it took, weirdly, is similar to the cartoon. The cartoon only had like two seasons, maybe three. And that's not very much for a huge children's show. These cartoons go forever. So it had kind of a relatively short run." He then adds, "But over the years, it just gained this cult following. When it came out, it was unanimously dogged. I remember we were all like, 'Man, this movie is so good. How come nobody gets it?' That was sort of our perspective. But then we were also like, 'Are we the crazy ones?' Because it's the public and the critics… So it's really validating to have everybody come around all these years later."

Until 2018, there had also been discussions about a possible sequel, though, at this point, it's not really clear if there are still plans to resurrect Speed Racer for another cinematic race. Would you like to see a sequel sometime down the line?

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Aedan JuvetAbout Aedan Juvet

A self-proclaimed pop culture aficionado with a passion for all things horror. Words for Cosmopolitan, Screen Rant, MTV News, NME, etc. For pitches, please email
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