Photo Credit: MomStart.com
Although our Cars 3 Press trip was one of the shorter press trips I’ve taken, it was one of the best. Interviewing the cast and the genius minds behind these amazing movies is always the highlight of these trips. And this movie was no different. It doesn’t matter who you cast for the parts or voices in this case, if you don’t have talented people behind the scenes, the movie will not make it to the big screen. We had the privilege to sit down with Kevin Reher, producer of Cars 3, and Brian Fee, director of Cars 3.
Animating a film like this takes hundreds of brilliant minds and many, many months and years to create. I was able to tour Pixar a few years ago and see some of these people in action. Amazing! Once you see Cars 3, you will notice the animation is one of the best. Some of the scenes are so lifelike, you will forget this is animated!
Q: There’s a scene where they’re coming down the hill and reach the sign, that seems so real. It looks like Max really drove, the grass you can touch, talk about that scene…
Well just the graphics themselves. We have a new renderer, I don’t know if that means anything to you but we can do things that we couldn’t do on the first film. We can make things look- we can go wholeheartedly into a sense of realism, we try not to say photo realism because I think photo realism, that would actually be kind of boring, we almost want like a hyper realism. We want to be able to control how you feel but we want you to feel like you can smell the air.
That was- I remember sitting with the production designer and that was kind of like one of the main things I kept saying because he’d be like how about this how about this I’d just- I want to make sure you can smell the air. I mean we can’t smell anything, but make me think I can. So we went for a lot of atmosphere, you know, like you’ll see a lot of fog and things that are at a distance are so faded- just like the atmosphere between you and the thing that’s miles away, we just kind of dove into those things and we can now, because we can do these things. And our movie, being a Cars film, more than other Pixar movies lends itself to that, you kind of have to be careful with other movies, because they’re cartoon characters, and we have talking cars. I don’t know if you can get any more cartoon character than that. But, we want them to look real, we want the car to look like it’s four thousand pounds. We want it to look, because everyone sees cars every day, everybody knows in your brain you know there’s reflections on cars. You don’t necessarily look at these things when you’re on the road but you expect to see it, and we wanted to just lean into what we can take advantage of, and really go for it.
When I watched the movie the second and third time, I paid close attention to details in the animation. The scenery, the backdrops, especially when they are riding across the country, is truly breathtaking. At times, it looks like a real video of mountains, lakes, etc with the animated car placed in that live scene. But, it’s not. It’s all animated. Keep an eye out when you’re watching. You will see exactly what I’m referring to. Brian is right, you can almost smell the air!
The beach scene too. You can almost smell the ocean and feel the breeze. Even down to the specs of sand that fly up from the tires. It’s all so intricately done, it’s truly amazing.
Photo Credit: MomStart.com
Q. Do you ever have to pull it back like the animators go too far it gets too real?
The animators get a little jumpy. You know, they only have eyes and mouths to animate, I mean in terms of getting an emotion across. So sometimes they can get a little bouncy on the suspension. You go “okay we’re not watching the stuff in this car bounce around”.
Well yeah we did. Because we knew how this was going to look when it was all done, we did go back in at times if things initially had been over animated, which was not uncommon, you know, the animators were just coming off of a show where they were doing fish, very expressive fish.
photo credit: Disney/Pixar
I thought the photo above was pretty neat. Showing the drawovers that eventually turn into animated characters based on the notes. Once again, it shows how much work and talent goes into every piece of a movie like Cars 3!
The answer to the next question brought me to tears. I was not the only one that shed a few tears either. The room was full of mom bloggers!
Q: What do you want families to walk away with? There are so many messages in the film.
You know, I originally came at this film and for me it still is the most important part for me personally as a parent, my mother passed away, my father is getting older and I looked at McQueen’s and Doc’s relationship as a father and son relationship. You could see it as a mentor-mentee, however people plug it into their own personal lives. And I’m at that moment, the middle of my life, my mom’s passing away and you kind of feel that safety net that you’ve always had. That moment where you get just a little scared that everything you’ve ever known is kind of dropping. But I have two daughters and I realized I’m their safety net, like they look up to me, I’m playing that role for them and it’s kind of- it kind of erased the fear I had of losing my parents, not that I don’t want to see them go, but it gave me new strength that a sense of purpose in life. So to me I look at McQueen’s on that same transition and that there’s something- You may think you’re losing something, but the best thing is still in front of you- have yet to come.
Photo Credit: MomStart.com
Brian Fee con’t:
I also tell the story, you try to do an art lesson. I went to art school and have an illustration degree and my daughter has been drawing these little sketches with her crayons and stuff like that, but they don’t have very- you know, their patience is short, to say the least. And they would look at professional illustrations in books and stuff and I didn’t want them- I wanted to demystify that. I wanted them to know, that’s just a person, a person just did that, the only difference between those and their little doodles is that they took longer at it. They went to school and learned how to do it and they spent more time on it. So I set up one of their American Girl dolls and I was going to paint it. I’m going to paint this girl’s portrait and I want you to see all that goes into it and it takes a while, you’ve got to put some time in. And, you know, I don’t know after about twenty minutes, they’re gone. And I was going to stick it out, I’m going to stick it out, and I’m going to show them that a little perseverance and a little time so I spent hours on a Saturday on that, I spent hours doing this, I didn’t get quite done but I got almost done. And I showed them and they just went, “yeah that’s cool” . Yeah and I had this moment where I just thought oh if I was going to paint something on a Saturday afternoon, I didn’t think it would be an American Girl doll. There’s a lot of things I could do, I mean I don’t have a lot of personal time anymore. And I kind of walked away and thought that was a failure it didn’t work out the way I wanted it to, but a week later, I come in my older daughter Lucias room. And she’s eleven now so this would have been several years ago, and she had these papers on the floor and they were her stuffed animals and she had set them up, sorry I can’t tell the story without getting emotional, she set them up and she was drawing their portrait and it was, sorry, pull it together. And in that moment, I felt like that might just have been one of the most important paintings I’d ever done. And well more important than anything I would have done for myself. And so that was the kind of thing I was trying to communicate, I wanted McQueen to feel that- when he spends most of the film trying to do service to his own career, right, service, the thing that he thinks he’s most passionate about. And terrified of losing, actually terrified of losing the one thing that brings him the most joy. And then I wanted him to see that there’s helping someone else do it is actually not only just as powerful but can be more powerful.
VERY powerful and inspiring, right? The story really hit home with a lot of us in the room.
For me it was the Doc Hudson McQueen relationship and my dad died and I was the car kid, my brother was the sports kid. And he never got to see even Cars One, and so the whole McQueen Doc stuff just slays me.
The relationships built in this movie is inspiring The mentor/mentee relationship. The father figure relationship shown between McQueen and Doc, who they do bring back to this film through McQueen’s memories. Plus the support system McQueens friends provide. Lots of great lessons throughout the film.
Q: When did you start working on the movie?
6 years ago, back in 2011!
I knew that movies took some time to make, but 6 years really surprised me. We also learned that over 600 people were involved in making this movie. Very impressive!
Q: Out of curiosity, what were your first cars?
It was a Sixty Four Falcon Futura convertible.
It was a eighty one Oldsmobile, Cutlass Supreme gray.
CARS 3 is IN THEATERS NOW
Disclosure: I was provided with a trip to the premiere to help facilitate my posts. All opinions are 100% my own.