Thank you, Disney and Pixar for hosting me during the Cars 3 Event. All interview photos courtesy of Lousie Bishop/MomStart.com
During the Cars 3 press event, we had a couple of interviews scheduled including two different group interviews with the cast. Last week I shared the funny interview we had with Kerry, Owen, Armie, and Cristela. Today I am sharing some of the fun from our interview with Larry the Cable Guy, Nathan Fillion, Isiah Whitlock, Jr. and Lea DeLaria. This interview was also full of a lot of laughs.
Did you improvise your lines?
Larry has always improvised in the Cars franchise.
Well, I always do improv on it, from when we did the first one. I remember when I first did it, my opening line that I ever did in Cars was “my name’s Mater, like Tomato, without the To,” and I went — of course, I remember, going, “Hey. My name’s Mater, just like To-mato, without the To!” And he was laughing. And I go, “Well, can I do it another way?” No, he goes, “No, do whatever you want, as long as you’re staying close to the script” and so that’s when all of the “dadgum” and “gee!” — that’s when all of that stuff coming about. So, yeah there was a couple of parts in here. I haven’t, obviously, seen it (Cars 3). So, there was a few parts where Mater was supposed to be doing something, he was supposed to be singing a song, and we had a couple of things, but we didn’t know if he liked it. And they said, “Look, need to come up with something else. Just come up with something else, and next time we tape, we’ll do those,” so I went home and I wrote a bunch of limericks. And so that’s when I actually went home, and actually wrote something. But for the most part, generally, when I’m doing my lines all fray from them, I’ll do it just like the line, a couple, or three times, and then I’ll do it “hey, let me try this one.” and that’s generally the one where they go, “Oh, that’s good.
Nathan said he was asked to stick to the script. 😉
It’s so weird. Because when I improv, they always go, “That’s great, stick to the lines.”
Isiah told them to let him know when to stop. Otherwise, he’d keep on improvising. 🙂
I always say, just, look, I’m just gonna start talking, cut me off when you’re ready to cut me off. Just tell me. Just tell me to stop, okay?
The difference between charming & skeevy
Nathan was asked about his character Sterling being described as charming when he really seems slimy.
I always find that charming, is one of the more misleading directions when you’re reading a screenplay or a script. People see “charming” and they go skeevy, and they go a little weird. Charming people are not so much interesting as they are interested. They’re saying, “Hey. You are great. You are wonderful. You are the best.” But, in this case, as a businessman first, I think he (Sterling) puts Lightning McQueen into a “you are the best, you are the greatest, but I do have an ulterior motive.” So I think that’s where it gets a little skeevy.
Of course, we reassured Nathan he personally is charming and not skeevy. 😉
Why did Isiah play River Scott
I always jump at the chance to do, you know, something different. Different characters and this opportunity came along and I was just thrilled about it. It was totally different. I was in the booth by myself, y’know, with my own imagination, and I found it quite liberating. You know? Just laying down the voice, and everything like that. But to me that’s kind of what keeps you going, you know, is that you’re not always playing the same thing, over and over and over again. And even when I’m doing that, I can always find something about the character that’s gonna be kind of interesting. So that’s what I try to do.
Why did Nathan play Sterling?
What called me to this is an opportunity to work with Pixar. I’m gonna — not going to lie to you guys. I’ve been to the Pixar facility twice. I’ve seen every Pixar movie. I’ve seen the Pixar documentary four times. I am into Pixar. Nothing happens in a Pixar movie by accident. They tell the story, one pixel at a time. It’s very, very careful filmmaking, and it’s very methodically planned out, and you — to be a part of it, you know you’re going to be a part of a story well told, and it’s going to be beautiful, and it’s going to last. It’s going to be a story that lasts. So, over and above anything else, I will do anything for Pixar. And, point of fact, I actually did some janitorial work for them two weeks ago. I’m not picky.
Larry added that Nathan was charming while he did his janitorial work but Isiah claimed Nathan was also skeevy. 😉
Why did Lea play Miss Fritter?
Why would I want to be Miss Fritter? Have we seen her? She’s awesome. I mean, come on. Her stop sign is a buzz saw. She’s everything. Also, I grew up where they do stock cars. I grew up where demo derby was a big deal. I grew up in a really small town on the very tip of Illinois that’s right by Kentucky. So that was like, a Friday night entertainment for me. So the idea of being the queen of the demolition derby? Awesome!
And they let me say the high school that I went to, a shoutout to that. That’s the side of the bus is the high school that I went to. Which is, I mean, the people of Belleville, Illinois, which is a tiny little town, they’re gonna go nuts when they see that. So yeah, It’s kind of awesome. So when they were — when they came at me and said “do you want to do this?” I was like, “Yeah. I have a really good idea of how to play her.” And they were all in and, as was I, so, it was awesome.
Lea was asked if she liked playing Miss Fritter or Boo (OITNB) better.
Oh. That’s rough. Well. I’m kind of gender fluid, so I’m going to say both. That was an adult joke. I gotta say, that’s really hard, you know. But Boo pays a whole lot more, so I’m going with Boo.
On screening the movie ahead of time
Nathan imagined an elaborate party
Listen. When you do a Pixar movie, right before you do the PR stuff, and all of this publicity stuff, they put you in a beautiful room to watch the movie. There’s a big party. Some people get dressed up as their characters. It’s really, really wonderful. There’s lots of food and drinks. At least, I imagine that’s what happens. I had to work that day, so I missed it.
Isiah was happy he brought sunglasses.
I found it very emotional. I found myself tearing up a little bit, you know, and kept saying, “Okay. Think about something else. Think about something else.” Don’t start crying, you know. But you know, when they deal with change and aging and things like that and moving on, you know… (he starts pretending to cry) “That’s like my career!”
I was glad, you know I brought my sunglasses with me, so I could put those on, and pretend like I was just sitting cool in the movie theater, you know. But I did see it, and I found it just extremely emotional. I think the story’s going to be powerful.
Larry’s goal when playing Mater
As far as Mater is concerned, I knew when I taped it, Mater had some pretty good scenes with McQueen. When I do Mater, I want Mater to be lovable, and I want him to be funny. So, I always — whenever there’s a scene where you’re just — when it’s really sad, you want Mater to pop in and lighten the mood up a little bit. So I hope that’s what Mater did.
Larry’s favorite part in Cars 3
I don’t know what it is yet, but when I did the script, I think my favorite scene would probably be Mater trying to figure out Skype.
Who are your mentors?
Bob Woods, who played my uncle on One Life to Live. I wouldn’t be — I wouldn’t have moved to Los Angeles without his sage advice.
Of course, Larry jumped in and jokingly claimed that Bob Woods was also his mentor until he turned serious for a moment and said it was actually Jeff Foxworthy.
And in all seriousness, I know I said Bob, but mine would’ve been Jeff Foxworthy. I have known Foxworthy for 30 years, and he really gave me awesome advice about the business, and how to be kind to people, and be kind to your fans, and so he would’ve been my mentor.
Isiah’s mentor told him to study psychology.
I had a mentor in college, and he was not — he had seen me in a play in college, and he was kind of like this nutty, crazy professor that everybody kind of stayed away from, but this guy said, he pulled me aside and he says, “look, you know, I saw you in a play last night.” And he says, “I thought you were great. You got to get out of Minnesota, man. You got to go to New York, and you got to start knocking on doors.” And I thought, knocking on doors? What? Just going around to people’s apartments? Just knocking on doors? I took him literally. And he said — but then he said, “look at all of these monitors.” He said, “Someday we’re going to be able to talk to people and do our banking and — ” and I said “This guy is really nuts.” But the one thing that he told me was — and that all came true.
But the one thing he told me, he says, “If you really want to be a great actor, you’ve got to start studying psychology. You’ve got to know the human condition. You’ve got to know how people tick, and how you can figure out all of these characters,” and so I thought, Okay, I’m gonna try that. And I studied psychology for about two years. And (now) I just play a bunch of characters who’ve got problems. But it was some of the best advice I had ever gotten. And when people talk about mentorship, I always think about this one, this guy, because it’s — I really did sort of learn about the human condition, and how — what makes people do what they do, and how they believe that, you know, they’re right in what they do.
On using social media
Larry loves Twitter!
Twitter, I love, because Twitter is not as many people, and you can communicate with everybody. So, I mean I have almost 500,000 on Twitter. But, you know, if you check it like I do all the time, I mean, when the kids go to bed, when my wife goes to bed, that’s when I pretty much just hang out on Twitter and talk to people. It’s fun, you know.
I think it’s awesome. I think it’s really cool that you can actually get responded to by a celebrity. I mean, if back in the day, when I was coming up if I could actually go online, and my favorite baseball players or my favorite actors would actually send me a response, I would be a fan for life. And I think that’s the cool thing about social media, and I always try to stay engaged, as much as I can.
Nathan loves that you can be one-on-one with your fans
I’m gonna completely agree. Engagement is a fantastic word. Because it’s a way to engage with your fan base, that doesn’t revolve around work or any publicity due. It’s stuff that you’re entirely in control of, so you can personalize it as you wish. You can share, you can be personal with it, you can share your private things, or you’re just — you’re entirely in control. But it is one-on-one. It’s — there’s nothing in between you and the fandom at that point, so you can engage with your fans, one-on-one, or just kind of get a general idea of what everybody is about, but I love that word. Engagement. You can engage with people. And I couldn’t do that when I was a kid. I would’ve been like, “William Shatner?!”
Lea loves Instagram because she’s not 110 years old. 😉
I feel the same way these guys feel about engagement with my fans. But I’m not 110 years old, so I’m more over at IG. So that was a shot… I go on Twitter more as an afterthought, and it is — it totally is, I mean, you can go on social media, and see how it tears down. My fan base, because of Cars and Orange is now a much younger base than I used to have.
I’m a lot older than people realize, so they’re on Instagram. So I reach out a lot on Instagram, I post every day, I try to respond. Especially, they direct-message you — like, direct-message you, so only you can read it and no one else on Instagram. So, for that, I mean, just in terms, politically for me, as an openly gay activist, I get a lot of people that direct, that DM me, about problems, you know. Which I take very seriously. And I’m the same way. I try to keep up on it. I can’t do it every hour, every half hour. I actually have someone now who helps me with my social media because it’s just gotten a little out of hand. But I think that it’s the best way to reach people, and also Twitter is a great way to keep up with the president.
Did you have any input in your character development?
Larry claims only in Mater’s teeth. 😉
I had no input. My teeth looked just like Mater’s until Pixar made me enough money to make veneers. I was the original inspiration.
Isiah said nope but that didn’t stop people from speculating
I didn’t have any input. And because of that everybody says, “Oh, it looks like you,” and I’m like, “Well, I didn’t design that…” but it’s loveable.
Miss Fritter, if she was here, I would say, she captures my essence. Completely.
They eyes are dead on.