You know when an interview starts off with Larry the Cable Guy declaring, “Well, dadgum. Sorry I’m wearing sleeves. I’m just a little overdressed;” it’s going to be a party. The funny thing is one of my friends asked me to ask him what he did with all his sleeves! I loved being able to gain some insight into the other car characters from Cars 3, and this Cars 3 cast interview was such a delight. Larry the Cable Guy, Nathan Fillion, Lea DeLaria, and Isiah Washington had us laughing from start to finish.
Improvisation in Cars 3
When asked whether there was any improv during recording, here’s what they said.
LARRY THE CABLE GUY: “Well, I always do improv on it, from when we did the first one. I remember when I first did it, my opening line that I ever did in Cars was “My name’s Mater, like Tuh-mater, without the Tuh.” And he was laughing. And I go, “Well, can I do it another way?” No, 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 came about.”
“So, there was a few parts where Mater was supposed to be doing something, but he was supposed to be singing a song, and we had a couple of things, but we didn’t know if he liked it. And they said, “Look, need to come up with something else. Just come up with something else, and next time we tape, we’ll do those,” so I went home and I wrote a bunch of limericks. And so that’s when I actually went home, and actually wrote something.”
Nathan: “It’s so weird. Because when I improv, they always go, “That’s great, stick to the lines.”
The Difference Between Charming and Slimy/Skeevy
I love Nathan Fillion. He is charming in real life. I had read in other interviews where he describes his character, Sterling, as charming. After watching the movie, I questioned that description a bit and asked him what he found charming about his character, because he felt a bit slimy to me.
NATHAN: [LAUGHS] “That’s fair, that’s fair. I always find that charming 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. So I think that’s where it gets a little skeevy.
Someone then commented personally he is very charming.
NATHAN: “Thank you. Maybe you should say that louder. I don’t think everyone heard you.”
LARRY: “I’ve never said you weren’t charming” [LAUGHS].
The Call of Pixar
The answer to the next question is the exact reason why I love Disney and Pixar so much.
Nathan, you’ve played some memorable characters on TV. And you’ve also voiced some characters. What do you think your favorite part about Sterling is? What called you to this?
NATHAN: “What called me to this is an opportunity to work with Pixar. Not going to 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 filmmaking, and it’s very methodically planned out, and you — 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. It’s going to be a story that lasts. So, over and above anything else, I will do anything for Pixar. And, point of fact, I actually did some janitorial work for them two weeks ago. I’m not picky.”
Preach, Nathan Fillion!
LARRY: “And he was charming while he did it.”
ISIAH: “And skeevy.”
NATHAN: “And skeevy.”
The Emotion of Cars 3
Cars 3 definitely has a lot of emotion. It’s a heartfelt story with different aspects people can connect to.
Out of the three, it’s my favorite because of that emotional aspect. And, Larry, for you, doing the other two, was that a little different, because it does have more heart and emotion to it than the other two?
LARRY: “I gotta tell you, these are always hard questions, because when we do the voices, we don’t see anybody else, we don’t know anything else. We know the script, we kind of know what’s supposed to happen, but you don’t really see anybody else, you don’t interact with anybody else. So, when you’re doing your emotional part that you’re supposed to be doing, you’re just doing it with John Lasseter sitting on a chair, with a piece of paper, telling you, “Okay, this is what is gonna happen.”
“So, I’m glad that it’s ripping everybody’s hearts out, so that’s what it’s supposed to do. As far as Mater is concerned, 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. So, I always — whenever there’s a scene where you’re just — when it’s really sad, you want Mater to pop in and lighten the mood up a little bit.”
“When I do Mater, I want Mater to be lovable, and I want him to be funny.”
-Larry the Cable Guy
Side note: I learned that Larry is not Larry the Cable Guy’s real name. It’s a stage name that stuck from a radio show. Mind blown.
How and Why They Became Involved with Cars 3
LEA: “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 that was like, a Friday night entertainment for me.
So the idea of being the queen of the demolition derby? Awesome. And they let me say the high school that I went to. A shoutout to that. That’s the side of the bus is the high school that I went to. I mean, the people of Belleville, Illinois, which is a tiny little town, they’re gonna go nuts when they see that. And so when they were — when they came at me and said “do you want to do this?” I was like, “Yeah. I have a really good idea of how to play her.” And they were all in and, as was I, so, it was awesome.”
On Engagement with Fans
It’s always fun for us to engage with the people we’re going to interview on social media ahead of time. I have to say that the cast of Cars 3 has been really amazing about engagement. We asked them how social media has changed what they do.
LARRY: “Social media is — it’s just great for getting out. It’s a good way to talk to your fans. I love Twitter, because not as many people, and you can communicate with everybody. I have almost 500,000 [followers] on Twitter. But, you know, if you check it like I do all the time, I mean, when the kids go to bed, when my wife goes to bed, that’s when I pretty much just hang out on Twitter and talk to people. It’s fun, you know…I think it’s awesome. I think it’s really cool that you can actually get responded to by a celebrity. I mean, if back in the day, when I was coming up if I could actually go online, and my favorite baseball players or my favorite actors would actually send me a response, I would be a fan for life.”
NATHAN: “I’m gonna completely agree. Engagement is a fantastic word. Because it’s a way to engage with your fan base, that doesn’t revolve around work or any publicity due. It’s stuff that you’re entirely in control of, so you can personalize it as you wish. You can share, you can be personal with it, you can share your private things, or you’re just — you’re entirely in control. But it is one-on-one. There’s nothing in between you and the fandom at that point, so you can engage with your fans, one-on-one, or just kind of get a general idea of what everybody is about, but I love that word. Engagement. You can engage with people. And I couldn’t do that when I was a kid.”
LEA: “I feel the same way these guys feel about engagement with my fans. I mean, I’m not 110 years old, so I’m more over at Instagram. So, [LAUGHS]. I go on Twitter more as an afterthought, and it is — it totally is, I mean, you can go on social media, and see how it tears down. My fan base, because of Cars and Orange is now a much younger base than I used to have. I’m a lot older than people realize, so they’re on Instagram. So I reach out a lot on Instagram, I post every day, I try to respond. Especially when they direct-message you, so only you can read it and no one else on Instagram. So, for that, I mean, just in terms, politically for me, as an openly gay activist, I get a lot of people that direct, that DM me, about problems, which I take very seriously. I try to keep up on it. I can’t do it every hour, every half hour. I actually have someone now who helps me with my social media, because it’s just gotten a little out of hand. But I think that it’s the best way to reach people.”
Thank you to Larry the Cable Guy, Nathan Fillion, Lea DeLaria, and Isiah Washington for being a fantastic group and for more insight on Cars 3. Cars 3 is in theaters now!
Thank you, Disney, for inviting me to the Cars 3 Event and providing travel and accommodations. All opinions about the validity of Larry the Cable Guy’s name are my own.