Cars 3 is probably my favorite movie in this franchise. There’s so much heart, soul and love in this one. But there’s things I learned from listening to the writers and directors that maybe you didn’t know. Let’s look at what 5 things you should pitstop and learn from the making of Cars 3.
Cars 3 goes into the discussion about aging out of our favorite sports characters. The writers really researched this aspect well. They spoke with Jeff Gordon and looked at Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan. The found out that, yes, the new young up and comers may be fast but they don’t have the experience and know how that the older athletes do. There is knowledge and wisdom to be had as you age. They are wiser and able to accommodate in ways the younger ones can’t. Cars wanted to look at “what do you do when you become too old to do what you love?” Do you give up? Do you keep fighting? Do you reinvent yourself? They had Lightening McQueen find himself and see who he could become as he grows older.
Cars 3 is kind of Cars in reverse. So in Cars Lightening McQueen was the brash, cocky newcomer. But in Cars 3 he’s the older, wiser racer. Jackson Storm becomes the young and brash newcomer out to take over the world. Lightening kind of has to deal with not being the big guy on campus anymore.
The writers went deep in the south to explore the history of the sport of Nascar. We went to the American south and tried to dig up as much of the deep history as we still could orally, written. We went walking these old ghost tracks that we could find, talking with all the veterans like Richard Petty, and people that were part of the sport like Humpty Wheeler who used to help run events. Junior Johnson who was one of the original moonshiners. Sitting with these guys, hearing their stories he was just living in that world was invaluable to finding the spirit of the love of the game McQueen could not verbalize. He do that. He loves racing but maybe that will give us something that McQueen could reflect on.
We went to the Daytona 500 and one of the great things about McQueen is just the connection with the fans that he has of the sport. They love him and then he loves them. We made a point of sitting in the grandstands, hundred rows up in the bleachers. Because they wanted to surround ourselves with what was the equivalent of McQueen’s fans. We saw people wearing Lightening McQueen shirts at the Daytona 500. But there was a moment, the closest I can use as an illustration was Dale Earnhardt Junior. There was a moment at the race when he took the lead and there was this ground swell roar that he had taken the lead. I looked over at Scott and said yeah that’s our guy. That’s our racer, that’s the passion he has.
It’s hard to get the emotion to show up on the screen. We find the emotional depth of what we’re doing. How can we get that to live on screen? We dig in and start with story grids very early on. We draw it out. We do scratch voices and we put it up. The tricky sequence was Cruz’s Dream (as in what’s her dream? She wants to race secretly.) scene. It takes a whole team to do that. We had to find her voice. It was difficult. We finally brought on a board artist Louise Smythe (who after getting the job said she felt like she had imposter syndrome). She knew she knew how to swim but she felt like she wasn’t confident enough. She brought her own story into it. She really dug into her thumbnail project. So scraps of paper, eskimo pie wrapper we draw them on anything. What’s best going to sell that emotion. Louise felt her body language was important in this scene for Cruz. McQueen is done with her. He blows up at her. It forces her to own her story and confess why she’s there. When she leaves the trailer and takes over and tells her story she starts to take over more screen real estate. So she got bigger and he got smaller. She had to dominate and put him in his place. So at first she couldn’t even make eye contact with him. She gestures towards him but never held his gaze. Louise had to dig in and find this in herself to bring it to Cruz. That’s what lives on screen today.
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Visit the official CARS 3 website here: http://movies.disney.com/cars-3
CARS 3 opens in theatres everywhere on June 16th! You are going to want to see it and the short Lou at the front of it. So get those tickets and get ready to go on June 16th!