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Detroit Auto Show 2017
Talking cars with the Pixar team behind Cars 3Pixar showed off some clips for Cars 3 at the Detroit Auto Show this year and we caught up with two of its creators to find out the movie and the cars they love.
We're here with the guys from "Cars 3". Tell us all about the new film? If you care to introduce yourself? Yes. J. Worthy, creative director of Cars franchise. And. J. Schuster, production design for characters of "Cars 3" So, guys firstly, what can you tell us? What's happening in the film? We're really excited. First of all, McQueen is back big time. We are excited about this film, because we are bringing McQueen back, like I said. But also some new exciting characters, as well. If you loved Cars 1 for that sort of meaty story of McQueen, and who he meets along the way, you're going to love this film. Now, what you think? The teaser you showed us. There was a bit of a crush going on. It looks a lot like the crash that the Hudson Hornet went under. Are we echoing the Hudson Hornet a little bit? What do you think? [LAUGH] Yeah. I think we are. Honestly, I think part of that teaser that you mentioned for us was we wanted to really reset people's expectations. And a lot of people went, whoa, what are you doing. Are you killing the queen. What was important for us was to say this is a new film. A totally new film that you're gonna really be engaged with. The stakes are gonna be higher in this film. The emotion is higher in this film. I think people expect from a Pixar film an emotional journey, like a story, a hero story, transformation. It's back in this movie in a big way. And this teaser was a way of saying, whatever you were thinking it was gonna be, you're wrong, you're gonna love it. So let's talk about the new characters. How do you bring something new into the Cars world? Cause it's a huge world now. It is. Yeah so, we sit down with the directors, set down the story, we let all this, you know, everything they need for the story, we let that stuff settle with us. These things take years to design and we're sitting down and we're sketching these things for months and months, you know, trying to kinda hone and Sculpted, give these things personality through shape and texture and graphics. Like Jackson Storm, it was the best time to work on that character. I had to design something that contrasted with McQueen, just like, give us a [UNKNOWN] Nemesis, that is just everything opposite of [UNKNOWN] cycle, for angular, and sharp, dark paint, stealthy, even his graphic design is barbed and dangerous looking, right? So, everything about him is new, and that was just so fun creating the completely ground up design. So how do you go about thinking about these characters? You realise you have to bring them in to the world, Sure. But how do you go from we need a character to Jackson Storm or Cruise Ramirez? I mean honestly they write these stories like they write them for human characters. And that's the thing, these are characters first, cars second. So the thing is, we just We're just, sorry, I got a little distracted. These are living characters that happen to be vehicles. What happens a lot in these movies are, we're working very close, in the art department, we're working close to story, and early on story's saying, we need a bad guy. He's got to look bad, he's got to look tough. He's got to make the thing look Old fashioned just by looking at him. And that's when Jay [UNKNOWN] said pen to paper and he started going, okay what is modern, what is new? What is NASCAR gonna look like 20 years from now? We have these mandates, we have these sort of taglines of what these characters are. We start with that kernel of a thought, and we go from there. So what can you tell us about the two new characters, Ramirez and- And Jackson, so as Jay mentioned, [UNKNOWN] or sorry, he mentioned [UNKNOWN] on the other hand Not necessarily a race car. Not this baddie of the film. But really more of this trainer type, tech savvy, younger. Totally different design. Kind of a little European elegance meets muscle car kind of look. But again. Totally new characters in this world we haven't met before that are just going to be lovable and remembered. And we're excited about them. How do you guys look at modern car trends coming in? Like autonomy and electric vehicles? How does that impact the world you've created, considering that they are all autonomous anyway? This is the world's first autonomous car. There you go, McQueen, no driver, totally drives himself. So we actually beat DeTorri to the punch on that one. Would. Yeah, no in the world of Cars no humans exist, the cars are the characters as Jay was saying. And so we have to think about, in a world where no humans exist, that design language with that car has to tell a little bit about who that car is. We don't wanna look at Detroit designs and go, I like that new [UNKNOWN] on that new model. And start trying to put that into our car. That begins to date the film or it feels kind of trendy, we really wanted designs that are timeless. You look at McQueen, this is designed around 2002, 2003, it holds up, it's still fresh, I still love this design, this is great, it's timeless design. When you do it well it's not tied into a time period. And we come to these shows to inspire us- Absolutely. We're taking everything we see It's all form vocabulary, it's all design and graphic and all that stuff, we put into a blender just. [LAUGH] The mixer blender. [INAUDIBLE] Just like it comes out in these composite forms that we create. We might recall something cool about a little detail on the car we see. But we never fully You know it's not about the style. We never fully borrow a front end of a Buick or whatever. An important point too is in the world of Cars we have real vehicles. Like, we have the '49 Mercury that is Sheriff or the '42 Jeep that is Sarge, or Doc Hudson, '51 Hudson Hornet, they're real cars. But we also design our own in-house cars. We really like that combination Animation. You go back to Toy Story, Buzz and Woody are Pixar designed toys but then we really had a Barbie in there, that's a real toy, so we try to find that combination of in-house design versus real world so we have that authenticity but we have our own characters. So you have these characters, these autonomous cars in the world, how do you design a world around them where everything Works as it would in reality. What challenges did you face making that happen? Cuz it must be difficult. Well, the first movie it was like, okay there's no sidewalks, everything is street, everything is road. Yep. You think about a house design. Does it have the garage? No, the house is the garage. Right. So it's just, everything's turned upside-down. Second movie kind of went over a little board on carifying a lot of the environment. Just putting the essence of a spark plug in that column design or just letting inner car culture form all these shapes and designs. But We kind of play it. Every so often we wanna pull back on that a little bit, let the cars kinda be featured a little bit more in this environment. We're still doing a lot of playing with landscapes, rock formations, and even cloud shapes. There's like a tire tread going across the sky at times, You know, so just anywhere where it's tastefully peppered in as car culture reference, we dialed that it. Yeah. Now, you guys are proper car guys. Absolutely. You have to be. So, I've got to ask. What do you drive? Right now, I've got a GLA45. The little AMG hatch, which is a little bit of a Jekyll and Hyde. But I'm really a vintage car guy. I've got a '29 Model A Roadster that I built with a Cadillac 331 in it. I built that when I got married. I've got a '57 Pontiac Safari Wagon which is like a Nomad but Pontiac's version if you're familiar with that. And I've got a 1939 Mercury convertible. Which is first year of Merc in a convertible that's kind of art deco. And then I just picked up a '76 911S, an impact bumper 911, cuz those are getting, they're kind of reasonable. Mm-hm. And I kind of did a Euro spec thing on that. Dropped it down, H4 head lamps. And the wheels and it looks good. Sounds awesome, that's really cool it's like, so I have all of the awesome stuff. [LAUGH] I'm a hard nut, I truly yeah this is like labor of love for me, so I am a car guy. I put on the car show at Pixar as well, so this is all part of my thing. So follow. [LAUGH] I just bought a brand new Ford F-150 pick-up truck- Nice. Super Cab But, tell them what the cool part is. The part is, I just bought a Airstream Tolley. Yes. So, I'm gonna drive this thing around America, see every place. You know, just go everywhere. That's pretty cool. That is yeah. I'm styling. That is awesome. And he didn't just get an Airstream, he bought the Land Yacht. The Land Yacht. Come on that name alone. 28 foot. A Land Yacht. 28 feet of living space. Let's just drop the microphone. Yeah. If I did that, they'll kill me. Yeah. Don't do that. When you were researching the first film, you did trip along Route 66, would you do it again? I have been back on route 66 and I'll tell you something. What's amazing is how, and I don't want to give too much credit to Cars, but it really helped transform these businesses along Route 66 A lot of them were dying on the vine. And you go back to 2000, the people who were visiting Route 66 were mainly Europeans, Germans, would rent Harleys and ride Route 66. But America had largely forgotten these little towns, they truly had. They were dying on the vine. This film made little kids tell their parents, mom, I wanna do a road trip, I wanna see Radiator Springs. And people hit the road, and these towns are telling us, thank you so much People are coming to our business, and when you go to visit they're selling Cars today, and they've got a picture of John on the wall, and I love that. It's like we in some strange way paid it forward to them, for the help they gave us in inspiring us for the movie. Super awesome. And I'm gonna take a tour down Route 66 as well. With your Airstream? In my Airstream, yeah. Don't make me jealous. [LAUGH] With the land yacht! With the land yacht. You have to say it, the land yacht. Yes, always in, yes. Tell me you're Jeremy Clarkson, [INAUDIBLE] The biggest [INAUDIBLE] [INAUDIBLE] [LAUGH] Boys, can you give us a little sneaky bit of information that you've told no one else about the film? I will say this. If you love Cars one, If you loved the emotion, the passion, the racing That story that breaks our heart. You are going to love this film. Some characters that you didn't expect to see will be back, and some characters that you haven't met yet, you're going to fall in love with. We're going to look to the past in order to move forward. I'll say that as well. Nicely put. I think it's the best trilogy. Bold words. Bold words, right here. Bold words. Can you tell us when the film's out? June 16, 2017, in a theater near you. Thank you so much for your time. I can't wait to see it. Cheers, guys. Thank you so much. It was nice meeting you. Thank you.