Speed Racer knocked him off his perch, but you can’t keep Emile Hirsch down. After attempting the reputation-restoring salve of Milk and Taking Woodstock, Hirsh vanished on a two-year sabbatical. “You know The Big Lebowski? I kind of became The Dude for a while,” grins the actor. “I bowled a shitload!” But now he’s back, refiring his engines in alien sci-fi The Darkest Hour followed by one of the guilty pleasures at this year’s festivals, William Friedkin’s Killer Joe.
The 26-year-old, playing a low-life scuzz who uses his virginal sister (Juno Temple) as down payment to a hitman (Matthew McConaughey) hired to kill their mother, calls working with Friedkin a “balls-out” experience. “He inspired me,” Hirsch vouches. “If I was the fire, he was the oxygen. He was blowin’ on me.” He pauses. “I can see the headline: ‘I got William Friedkin to blow me.’”