Tony Kanaan revs up 'Turbo'
LOS ANGELES, USA - When DreamWorks Animation had to race up to the high-octane world of auto racing – led by a turbo-charged snail – it turned to Brazilian auto champion Tony Kanaan.
"Turbo" tells the story of a garden snail, the title character (voiced by Ryan Reynolds), who dreams of becoming a racing star, which makes him something of an outsider in his slow-moving milieu.
In a freak accident, Turbo falls from a freeway bridge and is sucked into a car's supercharger, where his DNA mixes with nitrous oxide to make him the fastest snail ever.
With the help of Mexican truck driver Tito (Michael Peña) and other unlikely supporters, Turbo gets himself signed up for the race of his dreams, the Indianapolis 500.
This is where Kanaan – who emerged from this year's Indianapolis 500 with the fastest winning speed in race history – came in.
"I just gave some details of the race car, the race track, the speed, stuff like that," Kanaan told AFP. "It was a very nice experience. To have a movie for kids that talks about the history of the Indy 500, I think, is awesome. It's something that I had never done before. I'm very excited about that."
The 38 year old Brazilian racecar driver said the Indy 500 has always fascinated children. "Kids love cars, and they are our future fans. [If] people had no clue of what it was, now they definitely will. A movie lasts forever. So I really think it's gonna be a cool movie. I just don't wanna get beat by a snail in the next Indy 500."
Kanaan said his experience in "Turbo" whetted his appetite for the movie industry.
"Me and my wife, we go a lot to the movies. Actually, that's the only thing we do apart from racing."
But for someone who risks his life every time he goes to work, he said horror movies scare him. "I don't sleep at night. I get afraid," whereas in his racecar, "at least I'm in control of the scary things that I do."
Asked if he would like to be an actor, he said: "I'd love to. A couple weeks ago, I met Vin Diesel in Hollywood and ... he was joking around and saying, 'You're gonna be a part of Fast and Furious 7.'
"Maybe that will happen. I would love to. I don't wanna be a movie star but, you know, to be part of a movie would be pretty cool."
Kanaan won the 97th Indianapolis 500 with the fastest winning speed in race history. He collected $2.35 million from a total purse of more than $12 million.
He completed 200 laps around the 2.5-mile (4 kilometer) Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval in 2 hours, 40 minutes, 3.4181 seconds, at 187.433 miles (301.644 kilometers) per hour, breaking Dutchman Arie Luyendyk's 185.981 mph mark in 1990.
It took Kanaan 12 career starts to finally win at Indy, matching the record for the longest drought for an eventual Indy 500 winner that Sam Hanks established in his 12th attempt in 1957.
Watch the 'Turbo' trailer here:
'Turbo' opens in cinemas on July 19.
Tony Kanaan photo by Action Sports Photography from Shutterstock