“All right. Well, dadgum. Sorry I’m wearing sleeves. I’m just a little overdressed.” That is what Larry the Cable Guy said as he walked into our Cars 3 interview…gotta love his sense of humor. After a good laugh our interview commenced with Nathan Fillion (voice of “Sterling”), Larry the Cable Guy (voice of “Mater”) & Isiah Whitlock Jr. (voice of “River Scott”). Lea DeLaria (voice of “Miss Fritter”), was fashionably late due to traveling across the country from her Orange Is the New Black premiere in New York the previous evening. It was all good though. It was a fun interview!
Here’s what they had to say…
On Improving while recording
Larry the Cable Guy: “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. So, there was a few parts where Mater was supposed to be doing something, but 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…”
Nathan Fillion: “It’s so weird. Because when I improv, they always go, “That’s great, stick to the lines.” [LAUGHS]…”
Isiah Whitlock Jr.: “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?…”
On Sterling being called “Charming” by Nathan Fillion in a previous interview
I always find that charming, I think, 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 puts Lightning McQueen into a “you are the best, you are the greatest, but I do have an ulterior motive.”
Of course I had to intervene and say, “But you personally are very charming.”
Nathan Fillion: “Thank you. Maybe you should say that louder. I don’t think everyone heard you… [LAUGHS]
Larry the Cable Guy: I’ve never said you weren’t charming [LAUGHS].
On why Nathan wanted to do this role
Nathan Fillion: “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 the Cable Guy: “And he was charming while he did it.”
Isiah Whitlock Jr.: “And skeevy.”
Nathan Fillion: “And skeevy.”
On how Lea got involved with Cars 3 and why she wanted to do this film
Lea DeLaria: “They called me…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 terrific. 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, it’s kind of awesome. And so 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.”
Thoughts on the film
Isiah Whitlock Jr.: “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…[FAKE CRIES]…
…I was glad 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.”
Having input on their characters
Lea DeLaria: “Miss Fritter, if she was here, I would say, she captures my essence. Completely.”
Isiah Whitlock Jr.: “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, and, you know…” but it’s loveable.”
Larry the Cable Guy: “I had no input. I had — my teeth looked just like Mater’s, until Pixar made me enough money to make veneers.”
On how Larry came up with the name “Larry the Cable Guy”
“I was doing standup, and you always go on stage, and you’d try new stuff out. And I’m a big rodeo fan, and I used to watch mesquite championship rodeo on Sundays. [LAUGHS] I’m a country kid, so I grew up in a small town in Southeast Nebraska. And I did this rodeo cowboy, got kind of a laugh. And so the next day I changed it to a cable installer, and it got a big laugh. And I had a buddy of mine who had a morning show, and he said, “you’ve got to call our morning show, that’s funny. You should pretend you’re the cable guy.” And so I called up. And I remember the first time — the first thing I ever said on the radio. I called up and I said, “Hey, Ron & Ron, what’s goin’ on, fellers. What’s goin’ on, fellers.” And they go, “Well, who is this?” It’s the cable guy. Y’all said y’all wanted that hookup down there, didn’t you? And they said, “Well, what’s your name?”
And I didn’t really know. And I’m going, “Uh…Larry!” Oh. It’s Larry the Cable Guy? And it just caught on, and I started calling as Larry the Cable Guy, and then I got syndicated over in Orlando, which syndicated me into Tulsa and to Baltimore. And I was a standup. I was still doing standup. But I was doing these calls while I did standup. I ended up getting syndicated, around the country, on 27 radio stations, getting up every morning, doing radio calls.
27 stations. All different times. I think I did 14 was the most I did in a day, but I’d do five days a week, for 13 years every day, doing a commentary in the n — and “get ‘er done” just started getting popular from the radio, and so then I s — everybody just started calling me Larry. And that wasn’t my name, but it was my radio name. And so it just kind of stuck. Kind of a nickname, more than anything else. And that’s how Larry the Cable Guy came to be on stage, when I was doing a show in St Petersburg. A buddy of mine owned a comedy club, I walked in, and it said on the billboard, “Dan Whitney, AKA Larry the Cable Guy,” and both shows sold out.
And I said, “What’s going on, you got a convention here or something? I can’t find a place to park.” And they go, “No. They’re coming to see you.” And I said, “Wow. I didn’t know he was going to do that,” and I went on stage, and people started going, “Get ‘er done, get ‘er done.” And I couldn’t do my regular act. And I went into Larry the Cable Guy, and [FAKE CHEERS]. And then if I came out of the act, and [MAKES A RASPBERRY]. I couldn’t follow it. And I got off stage. And the guy, Lester McCurdy, from McCurdy’s Comedy Club, said, “Can you do your whole show like that?” And I said, “Yeah. You know. I act like a redneck all day long, ’cause I is one.
It’s like what Jeff says — ’cause I is one.” And so he took my name off, and it said “Larry the Cable Guy.” And I took the stage as Larry the Cable Guy, and then I started weeding out all of the other stuff that I had and I started rebooking dates as Larry the Cable Guy. And that’s how I was born. That was it. It was all completely by accident. I never thought it out. It just evolved into what it became, so that’s how it happened.”
Nathan Fillion: “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.”
Larry the Cable Guy: “You know what’s crazy? That’s my mine too!” [LAUGHS]
Nathan Fillion: “So odd.” [LAUGHS]
Larry the Cable Guy: “…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 Whitlock Jr.: “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…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…”
Cars 3 is now officially in theaters!
Blindsided by a new generation of blazing-fast cars, the legendary Lighting McQueen finds himself pushed out of the sport that he loves. Hoping to get back in the game, he turns to Cruz Ramirez, an eager young technician who has her own plans for winning. With inspiration from the Fabulous Hudson Hornet and a few unexpected turns, No. 95 prepares to compete on Piston Cup Racing’s biggest stage.
* I was invited by Disney to the #Cars3Event to share my experience with my followers. However, All opinions are my own.