‘Cars 3’ star Owen Wilson and director Brian Fee – Quickfire questions

Hi Film Folk,

Cars 3 is now out internationally.

The movie follows race car Lightning McQueen as he attempts to battle a new generation of cars while mourning his late mentor Doc Hudson (Paul Newman) and making friends with aspiring racer Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonso).

Cars 3 movie Owen Wilson interview film
Owen Wilson in Cars 3 as Lightning McQueen

The Film Doctor team grabbed a minute with the film’s star Owen Wilson and director Brian Fee to talk about the acting and directing process.

Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) being chased by Miss Fritter (Lea DeLaria) in Cars 3
© 2017 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.
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Owen, tell us how you approach playing characters where you won’t physically be seen and how long did the process take?

Owen – It’s different and you are often performing on your own but we are filmed.

We always film the voiceover process because I guess the animators like to refer to that to try to integrate our expressions with the actual car. Most of the time you’re not recording with other actors so it’s little like being a kid and playing make believe – you’re in your head using your imagination.

It’s a real process. On this one it was about three years. A lot of “kachows”.

I’ve been playing the character for a while so there wasn’t so much preparation needed but more going along with what the story dictates.

I do try to “rev it up” – sometimes I can be a little bit too laid back in the way I talk. Lightning has to be more “quicker than quick, faster than fast”.

Brian, how do you work with actors on an animation?

Brian – We involve the voice talent about mid-way through. When we think we’re onto something and think a scene might live – we’re always re-writing and re-evaluating the story – we get them in. We were recording Owen a lot, re-writing scenes, cutting scenes.

It’s always interesting at the end after you’ve recorded so many scenes – you’re not even sure what’s in the movie or not. We did so many versions. Maybe six or seven.

A lot of what Tom Hanks talks about in terms of acting school is repetition. There’s a very funny thing in the Actors Studio where he says after 14 versions of the same line, the director and writer will come up with another version and it just goes on forever.

Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) and Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer) in Cars 3
© 2017 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.
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Thank you, Owen and Brian! 
Cars 3 movie Owen Wilson interview film poster
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