Director Brian Fee explains why Cars 3 won’t be quite as harrowing as its trailer
IT’S FAIR TO say, no-one saw the new Cars 3 trailer coming. Skipping comic beats entirely, it showed Pixar’s doughty red stock car Lightning Mcqueen (voiced by Owen Wilson) spiralling through the air and being scattered across the track. It was dark. Very dark. And hugely popular. Within a week it racked up 40 million Youtube views, while the film’s Facebook page was abuzz with freaked-out fans. Two of the calmer posts read: “OMG, I can’t let my kids see this trailer!” and “Why so dark ????? ” Parents were rushing to reassure their children that their hero wasn’t about to put the ‘rev’ into The Revenant.
“The reaction I hear most is that this was not what people were expecting,” says director Brian Fee, with some understatement. “But I’ve not personally heard of any distraught children.” While the trailer’s vehicular carnage will appear in the movie, the former storyboard artist-turned-director is at pains to point out that “it’s not the bitter end” for Mcqueen. “He doesn’t die,” Fee stresses. “He’s at a place where he can’t do the things he used to do and he’s going to have to figure out, ‘How do I get back to where I was?’”
Helping him on this Rocky-like comeback trail is a new, so-far uncast character called Cruz Ramirez. “She’s youthful, fun and extremely positive,” explains Fee, “sometimes to a point of making him feel even older. The last thing he wants is to be paired against a super-positive person who doesn’t understand what he’s going through.” Yes, Lightning Mcqueen is having a midlife crisis.
The film’s tagline — “From this moment, everything will change” — hints at a change of course not just for its hero, but the franchise itself. Cars 2, a globe-trotting race movie with a spy caper built in, took $560 million at the box office despite mixed reviews. The third part, though, promises a return to the more emotional story beats of the first movie. “When you watch
Cars 1,” says Fee, “you feel like these are real people who have real problems. That’s certainly what we’re back to. It’s less cartoony. We want to put something out there that everyone can relate to on some level.” Of course, not everyone has drunk the Cars Kool-aid, despite the formidable grosses. Pixar, though, is promising something a little different this time for the yet-to-be-converted. Strap in, says Fee, it’ll be worth the ride. “I’m happy with the way the teaser turned out. It said: ‘There’s a Cars 3 coming and it’s probably not what you think it is.’”
CARS 3 IS IN CINEMAS FROM 14 JULY
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