CARS 3 Interview With Director Brian Fee
& Producers Kevin Reher And Andrea Warren
Our trip to the PIXAR Studios, racing Sonoma Racetrack, meeting all the production teams at PIXAR who worked on CARS 3, and going to Press Conference with CARS 3 Director Brian Fee, Producer Kevin Reher and Co-Producer Andrea Warren – these events happened like a whirlwind in a few fast days. The emotional and informational download was of tremendous value and detail.
The press conference with CARS 3 Director Brian Fee (storyboard artist Cars, Cars 2) and his Producers Kevin Reher (A Bug’s Life, La Luna short) and Andrea Warren (“LAVA” short) was a lively meeting where journalists and different media outfits had a chance to ask questions about McQueen, new characters, get a scoop and download on some intricacies that this new installment of CARS 3 had to go through.
One of the very important questions to Brian Fee was about McQueen’s new role and situation among other racing cars. The problem was that Lightening McQueen did not have a problem. To crack that was one of the toughest dilemmas that the writing team and Brian Fee had to overcome.
It’s hard to find [the problem]. You don’t have a movie if your main character does not have actual problems to deal with. One of the things we allow our characters to be imperfect, ’cause that’s where we find stories.
With McQueen, it just took a little research. We started talking to Jeff Gordon [writer], we started talking to other athletes, and we started seeing people who were at the top of the game who were big celebrities, who had it all and, and they’re facing the expiration date that all athletes have. And quite frankly, we also felt like we feel that way. We felt like as an artist, new, new, new artists, young artists, interns come into the studio and they can draw better, better than I can, they can draw better than I can now, let alone when I was their age.
I think everybody in the world probably has that feeling that they know what it’s like for someone younger to come in – next generation – and you can start to feel like you are no longer valid anymore. So, we seemed like that was an honest thing to latch onto.
There was a question about the longevity of the CARS franchise. Brian Fee handled it in this way.
I think we’ll just have to wait and see. John Lasseter always says we won’t, we won’t make a movie if we don’t have a story we think is worth telling. So, I don’t know. I don’t know how long it’ll last, but we always want to make sure we have problems that people can identify with. We’ll just have to wait and see on that. Right now, I’m just focused on CARS 3 getting out the door.
Question – Can you take us behind the scenes? Like having Owen in a sound booth, how many sessions does he have to work on his own?
Before we get the real actors involved, we do scratch acting, just folks around the studio as we’re trying to craft a story and experiment with a story, try things. We’ll just grab somebody to say the lines. Then we get Owen in the booth, and now it’s actually McQueen. Right, McQueen is saying those lines, he’s really great working with, he’s very collaborative. One of my fondest memories with Owen is him looking at the lines and stopping and saying, ‘I, this doesn’t make any sense to me. I’m not so sure this would. Wouldn’t, wouldn’t the character do this?’
He wears his writer’s hat when he is in the booth. We’ll talk about a scene, and he’ll start giving me new options, and we’ll play around. Often what ends up on the screen is something that wasn’t necessarily on the page that we started with. To me, that’s exhilarating. It’s as close to improv as you can get in the animation world.
We did a lot of sessions, but I don’t know how many!
Kevin Reher echoes to Brian’s comment about the number of sessions:
We always say the movies aren’t done, they’re just, they come out. They’re never finished.
Brian Fee about Nathan Fillion, the voice behind Sterling.
Nathan’s very charming, and he kind of charmed me the moment [LAUGHS] that he walks in the room. And, and he sits you down, and he starts smiling at you, you’re like, ‘yeah, you’re the right guy.’ [LAUGHS] He is a pleasure to talk with. He’s one of those guys that will give you seven takes, they’re all perfect, they’re all different, but they’re all perfect. So, whichever one you use, you left six great takes on the floor that you can’t use.
The voice cast also features Armie Hammer as Jackson Storm, Larry The Cable Guy as Mater, Bonnie Hunt as Sally Carrera, Cheech Marin as Ramone, Michael Wallis as Sheriff, and Paul Dooley Sarge.
QUESTION – How much influence did John Lasseter have on CARS 3 vs the previous two movies?
We had him involved a lot during story [creation]. When we had story points – we’d bring him in, we’d talk, he’d have ideas, we’d try some stuff. It was back and forth.
He was very involved, but at the same time, I was also impressed that he never got in there and elbowed everybody out of the way. Even though he probably wanted to. Just because he loves his world, and he loves filmmaking, he was very respectful.
QUESTION – What is the Message of the movie for you, Brian Fee as a Director?
The message of the real movie for me is buried in McQueen’s story. And it is finding purpose in life. And that changes throughout your life, you know what is important to you when you’re twenty is no longer probably necessarily what’s important when you’re forty five. And we go through these changes where life does have new meaning – and that’s the discovery he’s on.
Regular Meetings With All Production Teams At PIXAR
QUESTION – What’s making CARS 3 different from the previous Cars? Will the children love this film any different?
With all of our movies we try to expand the world. We don’t want to just go back to the same place and do the same things again. We want to expand the world, we also want to expand the characters. We want to take our characters and put them in deeper situations; different deeper stages of life. I think there’s a lot for kids in this movie. Our hope is that kids can relate to Cruise.
Our hope is that everybody knows what it’s like to not feel like you belong. Of course we’re just looking for humor whenever we can do it. We’ve got more racing in this movie than we’ve ever had in any Cars movie.
For those of you who love “mystery” and follows the Easter-Egg messaging hidden inside the movies, Brian Fee has revealed a few to us during the Press Conference. When you watch CARS 3, be on the lookout for these hidden treasures inside the movie!
- A moonshine still highlighted in the scene where the characters are in the woods
- Frisbees on the roofs of buildings
- A nod to the next Pixar Animation film, Coco
- Sterling’s office number 113 (a number that continuously shows up in Pixar films, the number of the animation classroom in John Lasseter’s past)
- Reference to the Pizza Planet (Toy Story)
Follow Cars 3 Zooming Through Time & Spaces
Every Race of the Way!
Get Ready! RETWEET!
— Celebrate Woman (@DiscoverSelf) June 6, 2017