CARS 3 Interview With Director Brian Fee & Producer Kevin Reher
It is NOT all of the time that you get choked up during an interview. When interviewing Director Brian Fee and Producer Kevin Reher I was fighting back tears. It is DISNEY, if you get choked up at their movies you know the brains behind the film will easily get your onion tears out in a simple Q&A! One of the first statement that Kevin made as he walked into the room was, “I had somebody come up to me at the wrap party last week and go, “thank you for making a feminist animated movie.” I’m like, “whoop that wasn’t the intention,” We didn’t set out to do that but okay I’ll take it.” So how did we go from laughing to tears in this interview? Keep on reading.
My favorite movie interviews consist of interviews with the directors and producers. They are the ones that are so in touch with the entire movie and have so much facts and emotions in the film that I totally geek out!
So if the movie isn’t a feminist animated movie (LOL) what is it? Check out the highlights below:
About the realism of the animation.
Brian: “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…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.”
Kevin: “When we went, we spent the two production designers on a really wintery week, in a convertible Camaro, because they insisted on a convertible I’m like hey you’re going to freeze your asses off all the way from Daytona up through the Carolinas.”
Did you put any Easter eggs in the reflections?
Kevin: No I don’t think there are any Easter eggs in the reflections that I’m aware of.
TISSUE Question: What do you and families walk away with, there are so many messages in the film?
Brian: “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 into it in their own personal lives. And I have that moment- 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. And then 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. 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, you 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 their- 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- [LAUGHTER] 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 [LAUGHTER] spent hours doing this, I didn’t get quite done but I got almost done.
And I showed them and ah ah 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 something 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 that was a failure it didn’t work out the way I wanted it to, but a week later, I come in on my older daughter Lucia I go in her 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 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, 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.”
Kevin: “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.”
About Paul Newman being in the movie even though he passed.
Kevin: Well the Newman Foundation was very generous with us and we told them- we let them know that this wasn’t just a marketing trick that this was really integral to the story, and we had all these recordings of open mic kind of thing that John had recording when he was doing Cars One. And so we had a transcript of all this and tried to fashion the story- what was the story- what would serve the story- what line could help us serve the story. And it’s pretty emotional when you hear it- and then we used the old Doc line, you think I quit they quit on me, which mirrored what had happened to McQueen.
Brian: Yeah we originally tried a sound-alike because you kind of want to write whatever you want to write, right? It just wasn’t working it just was no magic it just- and then we decided all right, we have to find the lines, cross our fingers that we’ve got the right lines to help us tell the story. And so it was just spending a lot of time and finding when we can give Doc something to say.”
Out of curiosity, what were your first cars?
Kevin: Sixty Four Falcon Futura convertible.
Brian: You have such pride.
Kevin: And the only thing that wasn’t manual on it was the top and it also had leak- it had the they had a thing called leak hole and the leak the rain gets diverted, it got diverted into the back seat so when you put the brakes on, the water would come up around your ankles and then when I put the gas on it completely, and I had a coffee mug that I would just bail the car and we were living in Northern California.
Brian: Mine is not that fun of an answer, I was in high school, it’s like what can I get with this many dollars. It was an 81 Oldsmobile I guess Cutlass Supreme gray. It was- it had that- the dashboard’s cracked it had that- and the smell that comes along with a car that’s old enough to have a cracked dashboard I’d still Armor All it, you know, I’m going to put lipstick on this pig until the end.
Our interview talked a little bit about the casting and many of those facts we learned about the film can be found in my other interviews! Be sure to check them out by clicking on them from the side bar.
About Cars 3:
Blindsided by a new generation of blazing-fast cars, the legendary Lighting McQueen finds himself pushed out of the sport that he loves. Hoping to get back in the game, he turns to Cruz Ramirez, an eager young technician who has her own plans for winning. With inspiration from the Fabulous Hudson Hornet and a few unexpected turns, No. 95 prepares to compete on Piston Cup Racing’s biggest stage.