Getting to listen to Director Brian Fee, Producer Kevin Reher and Co-Producer Andrea Warren speak is another one of those fascinating times in your life. A time when you can sit in awe and feel as if you are a part of the process, be totally engrossed in what they tell you because of their creativity and imagination. Getting to spend time with the different people that create movies for Pixar gave me such a deeper understanding of why each Pixar film is always so great!
Opening June 16, Cars 3 is the third installment in the Cars franchise and directed by Brian Fee. The movie will revisit the world of racing champion Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) as he struggles to recover from a crash and come to terms with his aging. With help from race technician Cruz Ramirez and some friends, Lightning starts training to attempt a comeback against an entirely new and younger generation of high-tech race cars.
Cars 3 will mark the directorial debut of Brian Fee. Fee has worked in the Pixar art department on Cars, Cars 2 and Wall-E. Spending time listening to him explain Cars 3 makes you feel as if he is living Lightning McQueen’s emotions. Lightning is still the same ~ confident, determined, fun-loving but since he has aged, his confidence is being put to the test by the new rookies. “When we first met Lightning McQueen, he was a young rookie — a superhero,” says Fee. “He had his whole life ahead of him. And while he’s done well, he’s not the young hotshot racer he used to be. He becomes frustrated. He becomes vulnerable.” “We did a lot of research,” says Fee. “We looked at athletes in other sports, but focused on NASCAR drivers. They start at such an early age and their entire lives center around driving. Many of the drivers can’t imagine doing anything else.” Fee explained that the director’s job is constantly changing. No matter where they are in the production cycle, he must always keep his focus on the story, because at Pixar, story is king!
Modern animation takes a small army of artists working together with the producers playing a key role in managing the logistics to keeping everyone on the same page working together. Co-producer Andrea Warren explained that a lot happens all at the same time. The music, consumer products, animations, etc., are all in process as the film is being made and it can be a challenge to keep it all going in the same direction. Some things are behind and need to catch up to the process. The real challenge is just sometimes keeping track of all the different threads so it is all ready to come together when it has to. A large part of the job is to make sure that the director knows his options before it’s too late. Making sure everyone knows their priorities is important.
Producer Kevin Reher said his job often revolves around answering a lot of questions, for a lot of people, in the most timely way possible. “There’s the Disney part of our world, and the corporate side of Pixar who want answers to things. Our team wants answers to things. That’s kind of what my responsibility is – get people answers on a daily basis.” Weekly meetings are held with the producers, different department heads and animation teams to make sure everyone is happy, has what they need to do the best job they can do and that there are no problems.
Overall, Fee said his biggest challenge was the story because the story is the most important thing. As a first time director he felt the other departments were like magicians and he knew he could rely on them all to do their jobs in their particular field. To do the jobs they were experts at. His job was not to make sure they do their jobs. His job was to make sure they all do what is right to tell the story.
Don’t forget – Cars 3 will be zipping into theaters on June 16!
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Visit the official CARS 3 website here: http://movies.disney.com/cars-3
CARS 3 opens in theaters everywhere on June 16th!
I was provided an all expense trip to San Francisco by Disney. All opinions are my own.