Hollywood star Wiliam Fichtner on playing Satan’s right-hand man in Drive Angry 3D and his love of muscle cars.

Drive Angry 3D is a pretty high-octane ride – there’s a scene in it showing Nicolas Cage’s character shooting bad guys while he’s in the throes of sex – every guy’s fantasy?
[Laughs] I can tell you, I have had a lot of fantasies in my life, but that wasn’t one of them. I haven’t seen the film yet but I read that scene and thought, Patrick [Lussier, director], how are you gonna do that one?! Apparently, they had a lot of fun getting it together. Look, it would probably go on my list, but it’s not top twenty.

Did you suspect the film was going to get an R rating when making it?

Oh, no doubt about that. This definitely wasn’t Romper Room. Patrick was crystal clear – this is an R-rated film. I think we’ve all seen films that were shot as R-rated and then somebody in a suit at some desk says: “We should really go PG and get it in more theatres.” And all of a sudden it’s not what it was shot to be. No doubt about it – this was an R-rated film from the beginning and nobody backed off. It was tough, it was sexy and it was violent sometimes.

You play The Accountant, Satan’s right hand man with supernatural powers. How did you approach the character?
He’s a different kind of accountant. He has accountability for who’s in hell. But I never thought of the supernatural aspects because that would have been the wrong road to take for this kind of film. But what I did think about was, “alright this guy works in hell, and I don’t think you’re born in hell so he must have lived here on Earth at some time.” The opening scene when he runs into the waitress, I’m thinking: “When’s the last time he saw a woman?’ He probably doesn’t get back here much, so it was just all this fun stuff.

You’ve played quite a few bad guys in your time. Do you enjoy it?
In Hollywood, if you make interesting choices and you have cheekbones everybody thinks you kill people. I can’t play a bad guy for the sake of playing
a bad guy cos then it’s just twirling the moustache. But if you can find out what a character cares about, then he’s real.

There’s loads of muscle car action in this film but you didn’t get any, despite being a big fan of them.
I have a 1970 Roadrunner which is a Plymouth, so yeah I’m a huge muscle car fan and Nicolas Cage is driving that ‘69 Dodge Charger around so it was great to be on set being a total car geek.

And the hydrogen car that you got to drive over the top of all those other cars – that looked like fun. Did you do your own stunts?

One day they made this big deal of “we have to do stunt driving today” and I’ve been driving everything since I was a kid. We had Louisiana state fairgrounds, this great expanse, and Johnny Martin, our stunt co-ordinator, said to me: “This is a 15-gear air-lock brake thing whatever” and I was like: “Cool, how fast can we go?” He was like: “Let’s just take it easy.” I got up to 60 miles an hour shifting through the gears and Johnny says: “You drive this thing better than me!”

Drive Angry 3D in cinemas from February 25.

You don’t say?

What’s your karaoke tune?
I don’t think I fear anything more than the thought of doing karaoke, it’s terrifying. I get nervous watching other people doing it. If I ever got the nerve up it would be a Bobby Darin tune.

What was your nickname at school?
My family called me Shaver when I was a kid, I don’t know why.

Biggest phobia?
Outside of karaoke? I suffer from vertigo.