At the movies

‘Turbo’ brothers Luis Guzman and Michael Peña a good team


If the whole movie star thing doesn’t work out, Luis Guzman and Michael Peña may want to think about taking their act on the road. The character actors, who star (voice-wise) as brothers running a taco stand in snail-racing flick Turbo, played off each other like a sardonic Martin and Lewis at a recent press junket at the Mandarin-Oriental Hotel.

How did you guys prep for the roles?

MP: I did kind of a nasally thing with my voice. I was reading to my [5-year-old] son, putting him to sleep, and did Tito, and he kind of looked at me. He believed it.

LG: I just showed up, man. No really, I thought the storytelling was great: That you could be a small snail and still make it in this world. The animation, too. It was amazing what they did. They showed me a picture. Angelo really looked like me.

How was it working together?

MP: I don’t like this guy at all. In his contract he said that I couldn’t borrow his style. What does that even mean?

LG: [Turning to Peña]. I said that you couldn’t bite my style! I was surprised he took so much offense to it. But technically, we didn’t work together. In his dreams, baby! He was in L.A. I was in New York.

In the movie, your characters have a taco place. Can either of you cook?

MP: Oh yeah, I can burn whatever you want, whatever you want me to charcoal, I’ll do it.

LG: I’m a chef. I can cook anything, just give me the recipe. A taco is pretty easy. You just gotta warm up some tortillas, lay everything out: meat, lettuce, cheese...

.MP: Pickles and onions?

LG: Bro! Why are you talking?! You just said you burnt everything. No, pickles and onions will cost you more.

After getting mixed up with nitrous oxide, Turbo makes it to the Indianapolis 500. Ever been to that race?

MP: I was an honorary starter for the Indy 500, and I couldn’t believe my eyes. They start at 60 mph and come around progressively faster. 120, 180, then 240....Vroom, vroom! I think it’s a definite skill set.

LG: I haven’t been to Indy, but I went to the Atlantis Speedway. It’s like amazing how those guys can drive those cars and how fast they can go. Like little jets going by.

Did you play with garden snails when you were kids?

MP: I did. I had a big back yard growing up [in Chicago], and every time it rained, you’d see worms and snails. My son plays with them, too. He likes them and little roly pollies.

LG: I like them with a little butter and garlic.

MP: [Disgusted]. My son would be so mad right now.

Madeleine Marr

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