We sat down with Cars 3 Director, Brian Fee, and Producer Kevin Reher. One of the reasons I enjoy interviewing Directors and Producers is because you hear about the origins of the story. They are the ones bringing the film to life, and as I’ve mentioned before, I love knowing the how and why. Let’s head down Route 66 and learn more about the how and why of Cars 3!
Cars 3 Animation
In my Cars 3 review, I listed the animation as one of the reasons why it was a must-see movie. It really is incredible! I wasn’t the only person who noticed, because a colleague asked about a particular scene that looked so real.
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 go wholeheartedly into a sense of realism, you know, 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…
And our movie, you know, being a Cars film…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.”
Do you ever have to pull it back, like the animators go too far, and it gets too real?
Kevin: “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. And so sometimes they get a little bouncy on the suspension. You go, okay we’re not watching the sh** in this car bounce around-“
Brian: “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, 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.”
The Why of Cars 3
There are so many messages and lessons from Cars 3. It’s a film that can resonate with people for different reasons. The question asked is what do they (Kevin and Brian) and families walk away with from Cars 3? As you read their answers, grab a tissue.
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. 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 want to see them go, but it gave me new strength about 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, yet to come.”
Cars 3 and Parenting
Then Brian proceeded to tell a story in which he got emotional, so of course we all got emotional, and I really connected to the story as a parent. He told about a time where he really wanted his daughters to learn that the only difference between a professional drawing and the doodles his daughters make is how much time it takes. So Brian decided to paint one of their American Girl Doll’s portrait. He ended up spending hours on a Saturday afternoon doing it and his daughters lost interest after 20 minutes. Afterward, he showed them what he had done, and they were like, oh cool. He walked out of the experience feeling like a failure as a parent (you know like we all do when things don’t go the way we plan). About a week later, he walked into one of his daughter’s room and saw she had papers on the floor and had set up her stuffed animals in a circle and was drawing their portraits.
Brian: “And in that moment, I felt like that might just have been one of the most important paintings I’d ever done. 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, 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. I wanted him to see that 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.”
I present to you life and parenting lessons by Brian Fee and Kevin Reher.
They did a fabulous job of conveying these lessons and meaning into Cars 3. If you haven’t seen Cars 3, what are you waiting for? It’s in theaters now! Be prepared to feel all the feels!
Thank you, Disney, for inviting me to the Cars 3 Event and providing travel and accommodations. All opinions of the schooling I got in parenting from Brian Fee and Kevin Reher are my own.