We hope your nostalgia and love for the Cars universe has moved into full gear, because Cars 3 finally opens in cinemas this Friday, June 16th.
Upcoming Pixar was honored to attend the press event for the film last Saturday in Anaheim. Here are some of our favorite moments from the event that will, without a doubt, get you pumped for Friday.
- NASCAR superstar, Ray Evernham, moderated the event and started things off by asking Brian Fee why the Cars films have resonated with audiences for over a decade. “I think it’s the characters and the overall appeal to their realism. When you walk away from a movie, if you felt anything at all, it’s probably because of the characters. You can see a little bit of yourself in them, see a little bit of someone you know. I think at the end of the day that’s what we take away.”
- One of the biggest new characters that’s introduced in Cars 3 is Cruz, a personal trainer to the race cars. She has a massive impact in the story and Lightning McQueen’s own character arc. From Cristela Alonzo, the voice of Cruz,”What I like about her is that she’s very good at what she does, but at the same time she still has doubts about herself regarding the same skills that she uses to coach the cars to become the best they can be. What I like about Cruz is that I think she’s very relatable to both boys and girls. You might have doubts about things, you might not know how you’re going to pull something off, and at the end of the day you realize the only way to make sure you can do your best is to actually just go for it and trust your instincts. I think that’s something we all struggle with at times – the whole idea that you think you can do something and then you have doubts. You realize you’ve got to forget the doubts, it’s going to happen anyways – let’s just try our best and see what happens. And I love that about her.”
- You’ll notice that Cars 3 has definitely upped the game in regards to showcasing strong female characters. Not only is Cruz involved, but there’s also Natalie Certain, who works for the Racing Sports Network, and spends some of the film predicting the outcome of the races. Kerry Washington is the voice of Natalie, and said this in regards to the diversity in the film, “I do think it’s fun to see women in the film who are brave, smart, and courageous but also teachable. Women who balance having extraordinary talent and intellect but are also humble enough to learn the lessons they learn at the end of the film. To learn that you have to step into your greatness and that it’s not as simple as numbers. Heart and passion is the most important thing.”
- Director Brian Fee listed John Lasseter and the late Joe Ranft, as his professional mentors. “They’ve given me a lot of career advice and I wouldn’t be where I am without them.”
- In fact, Fee’s first memory of the Cars franchise was when he started at Pixar in the story department. “My first memory is sitting in story reviews with John and the rest of the story crew, just trying to figure out different ways to make each other laugh around the table. Drawing lots of things, gags and jokes, and pinning them up to the wall. I couldn’t believe I was there, I was trying to absorb everything.”
- Fee’s children have influenced Cars 3 a great deal, to the point of including a strong female presence throughout the story, “I want my daughters to never be afraid to try something because they think they’re not good at it. I never want to hear them say something like, certain things are for boys and certain things are for girls.”
- Cristela Alonzo definitely had the greatest presence during the press event, and offered many inspirational quotes. This one being our favorite, “I like this movie a lot because I feel it’s a good way to tell kids that they matter. And I think that growing up, when you come from a family that doesn’t have a lot, a lot of the time the parents forget to tell the kids that they matter because they’re too busy trying to survive. I want them to know back home, that it’s possible for them to have a dream and to actually achieve it.”
- Owen Wilson and Cristela Alonzo actually worked together, as opposed to recording their lines separately like the rest of the cast. Fee wanted them to record together so that they’d be able to show their relationship and the support, get those real emotions caught together, just like the same support and friendship that Cruz and Lightning McQueen give each other throughout the film.
- Cars 3 deals a lot with the old and the new – the racers of the past and the racers of the present, there was a lot of contrast between the use of modern technology in racing and how the younger, faster cars, are replacing the older makes. Isiah Whitlock Jr, who voices River Scott, a Priston Cup racer from the ’50s, gave his thoughts on the heavy themes, “I really feel that we need to pay attention to the pioneers, and the people who have come before us. And some of the struggles, especially with the character that I play. We need to pay attention to that and to see how we got to where we are today. I know with Scott, he did not have the sponsors or the equipment – there were so many obstacles and yet he was able to persevere. That’s the key word there, perseverance, overcoming a lot of those obstacles to be successful.”
- Research for every Pixar film is a key element to the success of the story, but Producer Kevin Reher mentioned that research for Cars 3 was especially important since they were honoring the racers of the past. “We were so inspired from these wonderful stories that came forward during our research. The stories of Louise Smith, Wendell Scott, and Junior Johnson. We just felt that we wanted to honor them with our story and their backstory.”
- Brian Fee mentioned that he enjoys some of the improvisation that happens during the recording sessions. He’s had to go back to the script numerous times and change dialogue or some of the action by what wonderful reactions and lines comes from the actors.
- And finally, Nathan Fillion, who voices Sterling, Lightning McQueen’s new sponsor, gives his reasons for what makes Pixar films so compelling, “Here’s my theory, nothing happens by accident in a Pixar movie. They tell their story one pixel at a time. So, by the time it gets to the point where I’m sitting there in front of the microphone, all of the hard work has actually been done. I rely very heavily on the director, we get to play around a little bit, but in all honesty you’re looking at a thanksgiving meal and Nathan is the pepper. They work has been done, we just need a little extra pepper and we’re done.”
Cars 3 is an absolute blast and we can’t wait to see it again and again in theaters starting this Friday.