CARS 3 is revving up it’s engine to speed into theaters this week bringing audience favorites like, Lightening McQueen and Tow Mater, back while adding a few brand new characters to the world of CARS. We were invited to the press conference for the latest installment of the franchise, and got to talk with Owen Wilson (voice of “Lightning McQueen”), Armie Hammer (voice of “Jackson Storm”), Cristela Alonzo (voice of “Cruz Ramirez”), Kerry Washington (voice of “Natalie Certain”), Nathan Fillion (voice of “Sterling”), Lea DeLaria (voice of “Miss Fritter”), Isiah Whitlock Jr. (voice of “River Scott”), Larry the Cable Guy (voice of “Mater”), CARS 3 Director Brian Fee, CARS 3 Producer Kevin Reher, in a panel moderated by Ray Evernham.
Here’s what they had to say about CARS 3:
On why people relate to the characters:
Larry the Cable Guy: “People can relate to the characters and it’s just fun little dudes. They have a lot of heart in them. As far as my character Tow Mater goes, I think a lot of people would like to have a neighbor like Mater. He’s dependable, he’s lovable and sweet. He may not be the smartest fork in the knife drawer but he’s a faithful guy and that’s what everybody would like to have. It’s cool seeing the progression and how these movies go through things and grow like everybody else. Cars movies have been around a long time so people relate to them and it’s cool to see every movie and the different situations.”
Owen Wilson: “I think it’s also that the animators did a pretty good job. I know when they were first animating the cars when they were figuring out how they were going to do the eyes, there is something that is kind of human or inviting about the expressions so I think that helps make the cars more relatable and lifelike to people. I think that’s a big part of it. And, the voices, you know?”
On why Cristela Alonzo decided to join the CARS universe:
It really is about skill. We don’t really reference that she is a girl. We don’t reference that she is a female driver. We actually talk about how good she is and we see it in the story. It’s one of those lessons that we tend to forget about. It’s not about a boy or a girl doing something. It’s about the best person doing the best that they can. Such a great way to get a story about female empowerment by reminding everybody that we’re pretty much all alike and we’re all the same. If you work hard and have the skill, whoever is the best will win.
On the added surprise for Lea De Laria’s character:
They used my high school on the side of the bus, which I think is amazing. And the license plate is my birthday. They called me and asked and next thing I knew… I just think that’s kind of great.
Armie Hammer on his character Jackson Storm:
It’s definitely a change. He’s part of this class of racers called the Next Gen and they’re faster, they’re smarter, they’re better looking, just saying! Look at that thing (points to a model of Jackson Storm) look at it… it’s pretty darn good looking. I want to order that thing and take it home. But at the same time, there’s not the same heart in it, not the same spirit and love in it. It’s more of a technicality. So that’s hard. It’s a big paradigm shift in a world where so much of it is the love of the game (racing).
Kerry Washington on loving the message CARS 3 sends to kids:
There are a lot of people who feel like an outsider. No matter what the specifics are about why they feel like an outsider or disenfranchised, no matter what that looks like for you, you can identify with Cruz. It will resonate with all kinds of people. What’s so special is that there’s room for the mentor and the mentee. There’s room for the champion and the newcomer. If we work together, there’s room for everyone at the table.
CARS 3 opens June 16th.