The actor, usually associated with serious dramatic roles, hated the idea of appearing in the kids comedy - and was even more underwhelmed when he read the script.
But the 41-year-old came around in the end.
He tells Hotdog magazine, "I never thought I'd be in a sequel to the Herbie film THE LOVE BUG.
"I got a call and they wanted me to play this kind of arrogant race car driver. I was like, 'I don't think so, but let me take a look at it,' and then said, 'I really don't think so,' after I read it.
"I had a talk with them and they said they were going to work on the script. I thought if the character is funny, then I'll do it.
"They sent it back and I was laughing out loud."