The venerable Need for Speed franchise is getting some new blood in its upcoming 18th installment. EW can exclusively report that through the magic of motion-capture technology, Mad Men‘s Christina Hendricks will play a leading role in the upcoming Need for Speed: The Run. She plays Sam Harper, a presumably badass big wheel in the exciting world of outlaw street racing, who serves as the player’s eyes and ears on the course.
“She’s got a relationship with the main driver player,” explains Hendricks, referring to the game’s protagonist Jack Rourke (played by Sean Faris who, in a bit of ambient gamer lore, played Kyo Kusanagi in the film adaptation of The King of Fighters.) “They come from the same hood. She gets him involved in the cross-country race with a lot of money at stake. There’s an element of pushing him but also taking care of him.”
Hendricks admits that she’s not a gamer, though she explains, “My husband and my brother are huge game players. My husband’s constantly running to GameStop because something’s being released the next day.” This is her third car-themed role in the last year, after last month’s Drive and 2010’s Life As We Know It (where her character died in an off-screen car accident), but Hendricks sounds a bit embarrassed describing her own choice of wheels. “For years, I have been driving a PT Cruiser. I like that I can put tons of stuff in it.”
She laughs. “I don’t think you’re gonna see a PT Cruiser in Need for Speed. It’s really not an action car.” We’ll soon find out — Need for Speed: The Run will hit North America on November 15 for XBox 360, PS3, Wii, 3DS, and PC, so there’s still time for the developers to add “Christina Hendricks’ PT Cruiser” as limited-edition Downloadable Content.
Follow Darren on Twitter: @EWDarrenFranich