Mark your calendars! Disney/Pixar’s newest feature film hits a theater near you on June 16th! I had the unique opportunity to screen a pre-production preview of the movie, and I am proud to report that it amply holds the high standards of most Pixar creations. As a parent, you will appreciate some of these Life Lessons from Cars 3.
We sat down Director Brian Fee, Producer Kevin Reher and Co-Producer Andrea Warren, who gave us a deeper understanding of the messages from this highly anticipated equal to the blockbuster hit Cars (2006).
What is the message of the movie Cars 3?
Story is king at Disney/Pixar. Creating characters and stories that are heartfelt and universally relatable is also key. In the story of Cars 3, our kids can understand what it means to find your purpose in life, which changes throughout your life. What is important to you when you are 20, is no longer important to you when you are 45. We all go through changes.
How did you solve the typical dilemma of creating a sequel?
Initially, Cars 3 did not present itself with an automatic ‘problem’ for the character to solve. Lightning McQueen was created is an imperfect character, just like all of us. Therefore, he had a human aspect that we could all relate to.
The writers did research on real athletes and celebrities who were at the top of their game, who are facing their expiration date. Everyone has that feeling, when the next generation starts to take over our place, and you feel like you are no longer valid anymore.
Storm is not a mustache-twirling bad guy, nor is he a standard villain. He represents a younger generation that no longer has respect for the people that came before them. It is all about them. Some of that is just naïve arrogance.
Owen Wilson plays the part of Lightning McQueen. What was he like?
Before the real actors get involved, they would do ‘scratch acting’ with people around the studio. They would just grab somebody to say the lines.
Then, when Owen stepped into the booth and said his lines, the character became Lightning McQueen. Owen is very collaborative. As a writer, he often also wears his writer’s hat during the process. They would often stop in the middle of a line or scene when he would notice that ‘this does not make sense’ and offer new options. They will play around with ideas and what ends up on the screen, is not necessary what was on the page to start with.
The actors are brought in fairly early in the creative process, to help find the story. It takes about 250 people to produce a feature film like Cars 3. It takes a collaborative village.
Cruz is a new character. What does she represent?
There is more racing in this movie, so they needed to create a well-rounded character to mesh well with McQueen, his journey and the overall message of the movie. Cruz is an admirable character, modeled after her voice-actor Cristela Alonzo, who is passionate with wonderful comedic timing and a full-heart for those around her.
The writers wanted to expand the Cars world and the situation, to delve deeper into various stages in life. They hope that kids can relate to Cruz, especially when they feel like they don’t belong. Cruz is passionate about racing, but as a fish out of water, she has to follow her own personal journey and discover her own way – and WHO she is.
Director Brian Fee introduced most of the concept behind Cruz, when he was surprised to hear from his two young daughters that ‘some things are for girls and others are for boys’. If something is ‘for boys’, they automatically do not have an interest in it. He was sad to hear that at such a young age, kids were already feeling those labels from society.
Another strength in the character of Cruz, is that she find the joy of helping someone find their potential. We all need more of that in the world, don’t we?
Cars 3 is one of my favorite films this year, and I cannot wait to hear from you when you see it this summer.
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CARS 3 opens in theaters everywhere on June 16th!
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