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CARS 3 Press Junket!

KA-CHOW! What a press conference at the Anaheim Convention Center, WOW. Thank you, Disney Pixar for inviting me to cover CARS 3. It has been a dream of mine since I had my son to cover a CARS movie. He loves Lightning McQueen, he reminds me of the little car fan when McQueen comes out on the tracks and he screams, “ LIGHTING!!!.” The Press Junket was absolutely amazing, all three CARS lined up, shining beauties, Lighting McQueen, Cruz Ramirez and Jackson Storm, all stunning in their own right and each representing a generation that thinks and acts differently but in the end, it’s the old school ways that bring everything back to perspective.

We had a chance to interview Owen Wilson (voice of “Lightning McQueen”), Armie Hammer (voice of “Jackson Storm”), Cristela Alonzo (voice of “Cruz Ramirez”), Kerry Washington (voice of “Natalie Certain”), Nathan Fillion (voice of “Sterling”), Lea DeLaria (voice of “Miss Fritter”), Isiah Whitlock Jr. (voice of “River Scott”), Larry the Cable Guy (voice of “Mater”), CARS 3 Director Brian Fee, CARS 3 Producer Kevin Reher and Ray Evernham was the Press Conference Moderator.

Here are some fun facts that I learned at the Press Junket: *Natalie Certain is a highly respected statistical analyst who knows her numbers. Book-smart and mathematically gifted, Certain is a fresh voice in the racing world. While she may earn top marks in her ability to evaluate a racer’s stats, she could be underestimating the importance of determination.

*Lightning McQueen sports five distinct looks in “Cars 3,” including one that pays homage to his original pait, a primer looks he gets following the devastating crash, a custom wrap ordered by Sterling, and more. *Bubba Wallace, No. 6, won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway in 2013, and inspired and voices next-gen stock car racer Bubba Wheelhouse in “Cars 3.” * Artists designed and built eight race tracks for the film: Los Angeles International Speedway, Copper Canyon Speedway (Arizona), Heartland Motor Speedway (Iowa), Motor Speedway of the South, Thunder Hollow Dirt Track, Thomasville Speedway, Georgia Super Speedway, Florida International Super Speedway. *Daniel Suárez, the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series champion and voice of next-gen racer Danny Swervez in “Cars 3,” pilots the No. 19 ARRIS Toyota Camry in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

*The dramatic, slow-motion crash scene in which Lightning McQueen hits a wall and rolls several times takes 24 seconds. (side note, I cried when he crashed, yes tears and yes it’s an animation.) *NASCAR legend Wendell Scott raced under No. 34, so naturally, “Cars 3” Legends character River Scott also assumes the number. *While the clouds library for “Cars 3” features thousands of cloud pieces, 85 percent of the clouds in “Cars 3” came from the cloud library for “The Good Dinosaur.” *NASCAR’s Louise Smith raced under No. 94, and shares the number with “Cars 3” character she inspired: Louise “Barnstormer” Nash. *Lightning McQueen made his rookie debut in “Cars” in 2006; more than a decade has passed since he was a young superstar. *Artists, designers, and technicians at Pixar Animation Studios were able to install 30,000 lights at the Florida Speedway for the final race of the film. They all work. *Artists created more than 80,000 storyboards during the production of the movie. Just 10,102 made it into the final sequences. Re-read that, that’s amazing!

Cars 3 | Complete Press Conference (Part1)

Video Credit: FilmIsNow Movie Bloopers & Extras

What I will share with you that had me, as a mom, wanting to give Cristela Alonzo (voice of “Cruz Ramirez”) a hug and letting her know I’m extremely proud of her. She spoke candidly how she grew up poor and didn’t realize it because her parents never made her feel poor and most importantly, they never held her back from dreaming big. What a profound statement that is and how it correlates with the theme of the movie. In her real life, her parents and herself didn’t place limits on herself and her character in the movie, doubt herself, she was her own worst enemy, it’s about mind over matter. Not going to spoil it for you but the contradiction didn’t go unseen by this mamma, and I love how she's tied to her community back home, being a strong independent woman, knowing that there are no real no’s. Everything is an opportunity, even when you don’t land that job, or get the guy/girl because there’s a better opportunity ahead. Be positive, your body, your instinctive reactions, hesitations, your gut is listening to your mind. Your mind should be the strongest part of your body, the rest will follow.

Cars 3 | Complete Press Conference (Part2)

Video Credit: FilmIsNow Movie Bloopers & Extras

Go in knowing this isn’t your typical CARS movie, Director Brian Fee had this to say at a press event about the animated feature, which releases on June 16. “We wanted to basically come right out of the gate and say this is probably not the Cars movie you’re expecting because the Cars movie we’re making is probably not the Cars movie you’re expecting.” Wowzer, if I hadn’t seen the movie the night before that statement would have left me with all sorts of thoughts and truthfully I still have all sorts of thoughts about the movie, I want to scream from the top of my lungs, THANK YOU for portraying the only person that can count themselves out is yourself and NO ONE ELSE!

"We're introducing some fun and really appealing characters in Cars 3," director Brian Fee said. "So we really wanted to find the right voices to help us breathe life into them. We hit a homerun with this group; I couldn't be happier." What a line up of talent that was brought to the CRAS franchise. Kerry Washington's as Natalie Certain, a highly respected statistical analyst who knows her numbers and is a natural at evaluating the racers' stats. Nathan Fillion's business car character Sterling, who always appears smart, dapper and laid-back but will make sure all of his investments pay off in the end. The new arrivals (my son's favorite) Lea DeLaria's Miss Fritter (school bus) a local legend at the Thunder Hollow Speedway demolition derby, helped, of course, by the fact she's the size of a school bus. Literally. McQueen comes up against new-kid-on-the-block Jackson Storm, a young racer with an eye on the championship, while another of his new pals is the young upstart Cruz Ramirez, who bonds with the veteran racer Lightning while they're on the road. On a side note, thank you Disney Pixar for showing that the opposite sex CAN be friends. And after Lewis Hamilton's appearance in Cars 2, of course, he had to make a return, only this time he'll be providing the voice of Hamilton, a fully loaded, built-in voice command assistant to high-tech trainer Cruz, who's called on to help keep Lightning McQueen on track. All actors in their own right gave an outstanding performance, I thank each and everyone of you for coming out and speaking with us. Most importantly thank you for giving life to these characters that have become a household name in our home.

Now let me share with you a little delight that you’ll get to preview before CARS 3, LOU. A brilliant animation from first-time director David Mullin and producer Dana Murray. They both shared with us their long journey that the short animation took to get to the big screen. Mullin said he had been pitching them since 2005, talk about never say never! He conceived the titular character, a pile of lost-and-found toys (named after the missing letters on the box) that torments, then redeems, the school bully J.J., with the help of his wife. Production was greenlit in 2013. Murray joined the team in 2015 after feature delays on The Good Dinosaur caused the short to get pushed back. It wasn’t until 2016 that they started putting it together. It’s funny, loving and a sweet short that fits in with Pixar.When my little one saw it, the first thing he said was, “Mamma he needs a hug.” when you see it you’ll know what he’s talking about. x

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