As someone who has lived in the genre world for much of his career — from almost becoming Batman to playing the Lone Ranger opposite Johnny Depp — it’s should be no surprise that Armie Hammer would find his way into a Pixar film. As the cocky young racer and Lightning McQueen nemesis Jackson Storm, Hammer is once again flirting with Disney icon status, but in animated form.
In our chat from last week, Hammer and I discuss what it’s like to be a hot, young commodity in Hollywood (and what it’s like to suddenly not be) and all the superhero rumors.
[This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.]
What attracted you to playing Jackson Storm and dipping into the Pixar world?
The answer’s kinda there. Just getting into the Pixar world. I don’t know that there’s a production company that’s able to turn out, consistently, the same kind of quality films as Pixar. It’s funny, when they call you, they go “do you want to be in a Pixar movie?” You just go “yeah,” and they go “great, come on up to Pixar.” Then you fly up there and you get to go to their campus and you see their building and the thousands of people working there. You see how it takes millions of manhours to make these movies. I wanted to see that and get a glimpse of the process.
Do you have any toys of yourself?
Yup. I mean, I didn’t seek them out, but that’s one of the perks of doing a Pixar job. It’s all about the merch.
Could you connect at all to your character, Jackson Storm, being a young hotshot? You’re a sought after actor. You kind of blew up in Social Network and became a thing pretty quickly in the eyes of people not seeing all the hard work you put in years before. What’s it like being a next big thing?
Maybe at one time I could say something like that, but then you get a little bit older, then you realize, “Oh wow, I’m like the same age as that quarterback on TV.” And then next thing you know, you look back and say “You’re telling me I’m older than all of the NFL athletes, except maybe like a few kickers?” You’re the old guy who doesn’t know the music references. There’s a new wave of actors who are 17, 18 years old, 19 years old coming up. Here I am, I’m tearing muscles. I’ve got two kids. I’m the old man in the game now.
Since you say that, what are your plans for the future? What do you want to do next, because people always seem to want to put you in a superhero movie or something, but I’m sure there are other things you want to do?
The only thing I want to do is continue to do what I’ve done in the past, which is work with great people who I feel like there’s something to learn from, that I’m excited to work with. I want to continue to work, I want to continue to make movies. We’ll see. It’s what I love to do. I don’t want to do anything else. I don’t have any direct plans. I’ve really enjoyed this last period, making these smaller independent movies, like the passion projects I really believe in. I’m having a good time. I don’t want to do anything different.
Since this is such a thing for you during this press tour, the question of are you going to play a superhero, what about Batman, all that stuff, if you had to do this, if they forced you at gunpoint to play a superhero, and it could be any superhero ever, who would it be?
Ooof. Let’s see. If someone’s holding a gun to my head and said you have to play a superhero…
It doesn’t have to be a gun. It could be any sort of blunt instrument.
Yeah, sure, sure. Ummm…I mean, he’s not really a superhero, but did you ever read the graphic novel Y: The Last Man?
I tried getting to rights to that character, but it turns out Shia LaBeouf’s got the rights to it or something. Yeah, but I thought that was an interesting character. I can’t really think of like, a superhero superhero. I’m gonna have to take a hard pass on this one.
Y: The Last Man is an excellent choice.
This was years ago, now I think I’m too old for it. It’d have to be someone a little bit younger.