Special thanks to Disney/Pixar for inviting me on the CARS 3 press event and for accommodating me.

When you think of CARS you immediately think of race car Lightning McQueen and his best buddy, the lovable, loyal, and definitely country bumpkin, Mater. CARS 3 introduces a lot of new characters into the franchise. Last week I was able to interview Larry the Cable Guy (voice of “Mater”), and newcomers to the CARS franchise, Nathan Fillion (voice of “Sterling”), Lea DeLaria (voice of “Miss Fritter”) & Isiah Whitlock Jr. (voice of “River Scott”).

Isiah, Lea, Nathan, Larry
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at the “Cars 3” Press Conference at Anaheim Convention Center on June 10, 2017 in Anaheim, California.

This interview was a lot of fun to participate in and each one of these actors were so charming. Below is a little snippet of my interview with all four.

Larry the Cable Guy, voice of “Mater”

Larry the Cable Guy as Mater
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When asked who did improv during filming, Nathan Fillion dramatically turned and looked right at Larry the Cable Guy who was sitting next to him. Larry laughed, “Well, I always do improv on it, from when we did the first one. I remember when I first [started filming] the opening line that I ever did in Cars was, ‘Hey, my name’s Mater, like To-mato, without the To,’ And [the director] was laughing.  And I go, ‘Well, can I do it another way?’  He goes, ‘No, do whatever you want, as long as you’re staying close to the script’ and so that’s when all of the “dadgum” and “gee!” — that’s when all of that stuff coming about.”

Since Larry had been in all three movies he was asked him how he felt about the emotional turn CARS 3 takes,

I’m glad that it’s ripping everybody’s hearts out, that’s what it’s supposed to do. I knew when I taped it, Mater had some pretty good scenes with McQueen. When I do Mater, I want Mater to be lovable, and I want him to be funny…whenever there’s a scene [that’s] really sad, you want Mater to pop in and lighten the mood up a little bit. I hope that’s what Mater did. When you said, ‘what’s your favorite scene in the movie,’ I don’t know what it is yet [because I haven’t seen the film], but when I did the script, I think my favorite scene would probably be Mater trying to figure out Skype.

Larry, Nathan 1
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Photo courtesy of Louise Bishop/MomStart.com

Nathan Fillion, voice of “Sterling”

Nathan Fillion voice of “Sterling”
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Fillion plays Sterling, the car who’s bought Rusteez and is going to turn it into the next great racing team. Sterling is charming but may have some ulterior motives for Lightning McQueen. He was asked how he saw Sterling as charming because in the film he seemed a little slimy. His response and facial expression was hilarious, he put his hand up in the air as if to calm down a crowd, and said, ‘

That’s fair, that’s fair. I always find that charming, I think, is one of the more misleading directions when you’re reading a screenplay, or a script. People see “charming” and they go skeevy, and they go a little weird. Charming people are not so much interesting as they are interested. They’re saying, “Hey. You are great. You are wonderful. You are the best.” But, in this case, as a businessman first, I think he puts Lightning McQueen into a “you are the best, you are the greatest, but I do have an ulterior motive.”

Fillion has also played a lot of memorable characters on TV (“Caleb” on BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, “Mal” on FIREFLY and “Richard Castle” on CASTLE) and has voice characters as well. What drew him into being in a Pixar film?

What called me to this is an opportunity to work with Pixar. I’m [not] gonna  lie to you guys. I’ve been to the Pixar facility twice. I’ve seen every Pixar movie. I’ve seen the Pixar documentary four times. I am into Pixar. Nothing happens in a Pixar movie by accident. They tell the story, one pixel at a time. It’s very, very careful film-making, and it’s very methodically planned out, and to be a part of it, you know you’re going to be a part of a story well told, and it’s going to be beautiful, and it’s going to last.

Lea DeLaria, voice of “Miss Fritter”

I am pretty certain that the school bus that rules the lanes of Thunder Hollows, Miss Fritter, is going to go down as one of the standout characters from CARS 3. She’s memorable, no-nonsense but is normal just like everyone else when it comes to cheering on their favorite race car. Comedian Lea DeLaria joined us late for the interview because she was in New York City the night before for the premiere of her show ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK which airs on Netflix. Why did DeLaria want to be in a Pixar movie anyway?

Why would I want to be Miss Fritter? Have we seen her? She’s awesome. I mean, come on. Her stop sign is a buzz saw. She’s terrific. Also, I grew up where they do stock cars. I grew up where demo derby was a big deal. I grew up in a really small town on the very tip of Illinois that’s right by Kentucky. So [the demo derby] was Friday night entertainment for me. The idea of being the queen of the demolition derby? Awesome. And they let me say the high school that I went to.

DeLaria gives a shoutout to her high school in Belleview, IL, which she says is a small town and she was excited for the residents of Belleview to see the film and their shoutout. I was asked to ask her which character she likes playing more, “Boo” her character in ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK or “Miss Fritter”. DeLaria laughed, “Oh. That’s rough. [LAUGHS].  Well, I’m kind of gender fluid, so I’m going to say both. [LAUGHS] That was an adult joke. I gotta say, that’s really hard, you know. But Boo pays a whole lot more, so I’m going with Boo.”

Lea DeLaria
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Photo courtesy of Louise Bishop/MomStart.com

Isiah Whitlock Jr., voice of “River Scott”

Isiah Whitlock Jr. is best known for his role in HBO’s THE WIRE but in CARS 3 he plays “River Scott” one of Doc Hudson’s old racing buddies. Whitlock was the only one we interviewed who had already seen the film. He said,

I found it very emotional. I found myself tearing up a little bit, you know, and kept saying, “Okay. Think about something else. Think about something else.” Don’t start crying, you know.  But when they deal with change and aging and things like that and moving on, you know, I was glad, you know I brought my sunglasses with me. So I could put those on, and pretend like I was just sitting cool in the movie theater. I did see [the film], and I found it extremely emotional. I think the story’s going to be powerful.

Isiah Whitlock Jr.
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Photo Courtesy of Louise Bishop/MomStart.com

There was so much to this interview that it’s impossible to put it into one blog post. Goodness! We shall see if I can muster up the stamina and time to write a part two. Stay tuned for that one but in the meantime, if you haven’t done it already, get to a theater and see CARS 3 pronto.

Lea, Isiah, Larry, Nathan group
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Photo Courtesy of Louise Bishop/MomStart.com

#Cars3Event #Disneyland #SummerOfHeroes

Remember CARS 3 opens everywhere on June 16th!

Like CARS on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PixarCars/

Follow CARS 3 on Twitter: https://twitter.com/pixarcars

Follow CARS 3 on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pixarcars/

Subscribe to the Disney/Pixar YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/user/DisneyPixar

Visit the official CARS 3 website here: http://movies.disney.com/cars-3

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Bert Anderson is a blogger and social media manager mom of three living outside of the Twin Cities in Minnesota. She’s the author behind the blog First Time Mom, where she honestly chronicles the peaks and valleys of parenting. Even though she has more than one child, Bert maintains that whether you have one child or 19, there’s a first time for everything. She’s a lover of coffee, conversations, pop culture, healthy living and fitness.

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