Next month, the much anticipated Cars 3 will be opening in theaters nationwide and our family cannot wait. At the Cars 3 Event press junket I was able to sit in on a presentation from several of the filmakers who worked on Cars 3. Pixar is the home to so much talent and creativity, I am so thankful for the opportunity to sit in and hear about what goes into a film. Today I am sharing the highlights of the presentation of “The Story of our Story” by Mike Rich, Bob Peterson, Kiel Murray, and Scott Morse.
Here is a quick bio on each writer :
Mike Rich: Screen writer now for more than 15 years. Writing credits include Finding Forester and Secreteriat. This is his first Pixar film. It is also his first animated film!
Bob Peterson: 23 year veteran at Pixar. Some credits : Star supervisor on Monsters Inc, writer on Finding Nemo, codirector and writer on Up, the voice of Doug, Roz and Mr. Ray.
Kiel Murray: Writer for Cars 3 and also a write on the original Cars movie.
Scott Morse: Story supervisor on Cars 3. Worked at Pixar for 12 years. Credits include Ratouille, Wall-E, Brave, Cars 2, and now Cars 3.
OK – so before I share the interview…. who else is star struck? Having the opportunity to hear what goes into a film, listening to the passion in these creative voices; it just is such a thrill for me. The fact that I get to share it with readers who also love Pixar is so awesome I can hardly stand it. I know some people get really excited about the interview with actors, and that is cool. But for me, the story tellers, directors, and artists are just as exciting! OK, let’s dive in! Here are the highlights and some amazing quotes about the story of how Cars 3 came to be.
Cars 3 is the story of McQueen in another stage of his life and career. Lightning McQueen has always been at the top of his game with no real problems. Things change a bit in Cars 3. I will not share any spoilers, but in Cars 3, McQueen is more vulnerable than he has ever been. The writers said that they looked at real life athletes that had long careers and what happened as they aged and younger athletes joined the ranks.
“If you consider the fact that Cars 3 is really kind of a third act of the overall story, it makes sense that McQueen is now past the halfway, probably a little bit further past the half way point of his career as well. So we visited with and we talked with athletes like Jeff Gordon who was only a couple of years away from his own retirement.” said Mike Rich about the evolution of McQueen, and where they are drawing inspiration.
Bob Peterson added “We talked about Kobe Bryant as he aged, his Achilles injury and other injuries and Michael Jordan. These guys are on top of the world just as McQueen is but then they have to figure out when they start to become obsolete what do you do. We found that a very interesting way to go with this story. In all these films we look for a universal truth that everyone can sort of identify with whether its toys (Toy Story) or fish (Finding Nemo and Finding Dory) or whatever as long as there is something we can all learn from, a parable that is being told about life in a universal way. Then we fell like that is the sort of story we’re telling. In this case, it was what do you do when you’re not as fast any more and you have people behind you that are faster. Do you crumple or do you rise up and change?”
Mike shared about a famous 3am Facebook post by Kobe Bryant. Bryant had injured his Achilles and he typed his Facebook Status “What do I do now?”
The writers shared that these were things that would make sense for McQueen to be wrestling with.
In addition to Lightning McQueen getting older and dealing with injuries, there is a bright and shiny new antagonist. Jackson Storm is the new guy in town. “The exciting this for us was that Cars 3 is kind of the inverse of Cars 1.” said Bob Peterson. In Cars 1, McQueen is a cocky rookie with youth on his side. In Cars 3 he is faced with someone all too familiar. Jackson Storm is similar to Lightning McQueen, but colder. The new guys do not have the warmth and camaraderie that Lighting’s friends did.
Lightning McQueen finding his way through this journey of getting older and also dealing with new guys that don’t quite have the same heart is something that so many people can relate to. I think this movie is going to be so powerful for kids, but also adults on so many levels.
I really don’t want to give too much of the movie away, but I do want to share a few quotes that were shared about John Lasseter. They shared about reading the story of Cars 3 to John Lasseter for the first time and that he cried a couple pages in. Mike Rich compared it to reading a script to Walt Disney himself. (whoa)
“John cares. He cares about these stories and the ideas. That gave us the boost to move forward.” Bob Peterson
If you are as excited as we are about Cars 3 you are definitely going to want to check out these Free Cars 3 Printable Activity Sheets.
I was able to hear about “The Story of our Story” as part of the Cars 3 Event. Cars 3 Event was one of the first press events in celebration of Cars 3, which races into theaters on June 16th! Watch the trailer below and make sure to come back here for more behind the scenes information about Cars 3!
Thank you to Pixar who invited me along as part of the Cars 3 Event.