Dennis Quaid and Matthew Fox play Secret Service agents on the hunt for an assassin after the President (William Hurt) is shot while attending a summit in Spain. The film moves at a slick pace and is told from numerous perspectives in a well executed, though somewhat transparent, storyline. Both actors have also been busy filming big budget adaptations of cartoon favorites. Quaid will star as "General Hawk" in "G.I. Joe" and Matthew Fox plays the mysterious "Racer X" in the Wachowski Brothers Speed Racer. Read on for some tasty tidbits on both franchises, as well as Matthew's comments on returning to "Lost" and Dennis Quaid's dignified response to questions regarding his children's health after a much publicized dosing error by their doctors.
In Vantage Point, you play a secret service agent hunting down conspirators after an attack on the president. Do you think you could be an agent in real life?
Dennis Quaid: No, absolutely not. I don't think they would have me. They might consider me a security risk. What those guys do is amazing. They make themselves larger when everybody else is making themselves smaller. Hitting the floors when the guns go off. I really don't see myself taking a bullet for anybody except for my kids. I don't think I'd want to be a secret service agent, the movies are exciting and romantic and all that, but really most of their job is really standing in a hallway for twelve hours making sure somebody doesn't come in a doorway off a stairwell. I guess I could sort of relate to that, the most boring part of my job is really waiting for people to set up.
Matthew, you also play a secret service agent, with a somewhat different agenda. What was it like working with Dennis and how much did you prepare for this role?
Matthew Fox: Dennis got to do more training. I was doing another film directly before, so I had less than a twenty-four hour turnaround on the films. I had to fly from Atlanta to Mexico City. So it was a really intense summer for me. I was shooting six days a week to get all the work on both films done in the "Lost" hiatus. For me, it was really just trying to gather the logistics of how these things would be choreographed, the positional reference of everyone around the President, what weapons were carried, how communications were conducted. As for the relationship between Dennis and I, there's a sensed history between these two guys. This was something that Dennis and I worked on quite a bit. I really enjoyed meeting him and enjoyed working on the project. This was a really rewarding thing for me, to just get an opportunity to be in a film with so many people that I had watched for so long, respect their work, and also get to know them as people, was pretty surreal. When you're in the work, you're sort of only seeing the other actors as in their characters, but then there are those moments where you've got a couple hours of downtime and you're sitting around shooting the shit. Those were the moments where I was like, "This is pretty great that I'm in this film with this group of people."
The film is pretty intense with a lot of alternating storylines. What did you do to keep track of everything while on set?
Dennis Quaid: It's an exciting story, an interesting story told in an interesting way by it being Rashomon-like. It was part of the appeal. Basically, we would shoot and be on the same set in the square and we would shoot one point of view for about four or five days. Then we would shoot another character's point of view for four or five days even though it might have been more efficient since you were there and the cameras were in place at a particular point to skip around. It just made it a little clearer I think for everyone to know whose story we were doing and to do that all the way through.
Was the Rashomon-like storyline what attracted you to this film?
Matthew Fox: For me, it's really always the project as a whole; if I like the script and the director, and the director's take on the script. I love Pete Travis [director]. Loved what he'd done before and loved the way he talked about the movie, what he wanted to do with it. I like to believe that I'm the type of actor that once the package feels like something I want to be involved in...I'll serve the story in whatever way I'm asked to serve it. Then this amazing cast came together. It was a fun role for me.
Without revealing spoilers, the climax has a really amazing car chase. Can you describe what it was like filming that?
Dennis Quaid: Ninety nine percent of it is me actually [driving], as for the parts where they really kind of bang into each other, I left that to someone else. I love to drive and I have so few lines of dialogue that I really had to do something in this film. I thought that was where it would happen, was in the chase, so I wanted to do that as much as I could.
Matthew Fox: My actual driving was pretty limited. Most of my appearance in the car sequence was done on a green screen with a couple of guys rocking the car, with Pete [Travis, the director] sitting in front of the windshield going, "You're turning left! He's behind you! He's coming up quickly!" It was the only point in the entire making of the movie that I got into it with Pete. I was frustrated, he said, "Trust me, it's going to work." Now everybody says it's like the best car chase and they love it.
Both of you are involved in some huge action films coming out this year. Dennis, what is your role in "G.I. Joe"?
Dennis Quaid: Hawk, General Hawk. Not so much for me in this one, hopefully there's going to be two more after this. I don't really have a lot to do in the first one.
So this is the first time you've signed unto a franchise?
Dennis Quaid: I think it is actually. I really kind of signed up for the future. I remember "G.I. Joe" from my generation and certainly it's a little different from the way the younger generation remembers it from the cartoon show. It seems like it's going to be a lot of fun. It's a little like a cartoon and a little bit like a modern action film. I think it's going to be straight up blow things up. My aide de camp is a 'Victoria's Secret' supermodel Karolina Kurkova. Her name is "Cover Girl", so it can't be too serious.
Matthew, what can you tell us about playing 'Racer X' in the Wachowski Brothers adaptation of Speed Racer?
Matthew Fox: I'm very excited about the movie. I've seen certain sections of the film. It's pretty amazing. The whole process that they're doing is very different. Most of the time you'd end up doing a scene and then the actors would be removed from it so you were doing it by yourself. Just the experience of discovering what this world is that they are building and trying to find a way into that world as this masked vigilante was really fun.
And you're also signed for potential sequels?
Matthew Fox: Yes, and I didn't think twice about it.
Can you tell us what's going to happen to your character in "Lost" now that the writer's strike is over?
Matthew Fox: It's pretty complex and it's evolving as well. My character started as an idea of what everybody wanted him to be, this heroic guy. He's actually really flawed. The island is stripping away this deep compassion in him and bringing out a much darker side.
With the jumping back and forth in time, how long has Jack actually been on the island?
Matthew Fox: From the time the plane crashed to Jack in the future is about a year and a half. Jack would have been on the island now about a hundred and twenty days.
Dennis, how are your infant twins doing after their recent scare at the hospital? It was tragic and a huge global story.
Dennis Quaid: It was a very horrific two weeks for the two of us that I wouldn't wish on anybody. Any parent could really feel what we went through and we really did feel the thoughts and prayers from so many people. It helped us through to get through this and I think it's had an impact on how the kids have recovered. My wife and I are going to tell our story very soon. I don't want to get too deeply in the context of selling this movie. We're starting a foundation that is dedicated to eliminating the impact of human error in medical errors, which is one of the leading causes of death in our country. My advice for parents, or anybody, is to have somebody there looking after you. You're not the doctor, you don't know the doses, you don't know what's going on, something needs to be done about it, we're going to try to turn something bad into something good.