A Press Conference with the Director, Producer, and co-Producer of Cars 3!
After our laps on the racetrack and a very generous lunch (I can see why they didn’t want us to eat beforehand; there was a lot of cheesecake) we all sat in the main building of the racetrack, a sleek red and white building with floor-to-ceiling windows and million-dollar racing simulators to the right of the entrance. The Director of the Film, Brian Fee, and his producers, Kevin Reher and Andrea Warren, came forward to sit at the long table in front of us. Fee started, years ago, in the art department, after a long childhood career of illustration. This is his first directing job, and there’s the sense about him of an unspoiled fan, a casual lover of cartoons and of children’s fondness for them. At the press reception the night before, as he held a beer in his hand, I tried to ask him what it was like to grow up falling in love with hand-drawn animation before moving into a studio and an industry where, increasingly, computers did so much of the work. Before he could answer, though, he was whisked away by an assistant; there was a lot of press to talk to.
Andrea and Kevin were equally as amicable, if more obviously used to talking to press. Again, much of the conference orbited around Cruz, and several reporters asked about representation in the film.
Brian: “It was especially inspiring to hear about some of the pioneers [of NASCAR], who were so brave… Those were so compelling. That was what made us want to highlight those stories.”
Andrea: “I love Cruz. She’s inspiring, she’s charming. She’s put herself in an industry where she’s a little bit of a fish out of water, and she’s charging ahead anyway. She’s bold. I have an 8-year-old daughter, and I’ve already said to her, ‘I can’t wait for you to see this character. I think you’re going to really like her.’”
Somewhere in the midst of a long silence – it seemed to be a room of rather self-conscious journalists – someone asked if each of the people in charge had a favorite piece of the film. Andrea repeated her appreciation of Cruz.
Kevin: “I’m a Fritter fan.” (The demolition derby’s reigning champion, Ms. Fritter is a heavily-accented school bus fitted with flaming exhaust pipes and not many teeth. She serves as the primary threat of the arena scene.)
Brian: “That’s so hard. [Silence] There are a lot of proud parent moments in the film, parts you guys haven’t seen yet, and I really love those.” It was unclear if Fee meant specific moments depicting parental pride, or if he was referring to scenes which he felt particularly proud of as the film’s director. (Brian is a father of 2 children, whom were both cited as heavily inspirational in his work on the movie.)
As we were nearing wrap-up, a reporter asked, with what seemed to be no ironic undertone whatsoever, “Obviously Pixar is huge on Story… but how long do you actually wait, from concept to pre-production?
Kevin: “We always say the movies are never done, they just come out.”
Brian: “It’s not until we can look at the storyboard and say, ‘Obviously there are a lot of wrinkles, but this is it. This is the story. It’s all there… You don’t have to have it all locked up. You have to move forward.”
Andrea: “And then it’s a race against time to iron the wrinkles out while the film is being made.”
Kevin: “And there’s 250, 260 people working on it, at peak time.” [Long Silence] “Thank you all for coming.”
The film hits theaters June 16.