While in LA for the Cars 3 World Premiere, I got to sit down and chat with Owen Wilson (voice of “Lightning McQueen”), Kerry Washington (voice of “Natalie Certain”), Cristela Alonzo (voice of “Cruz Ramirez”) & Armie Hammer (voice of “Jackson Storm”) interview. Given how funny the interview was, our time together seemed to fly by. Their banter back and forth made for lots of laugh but don’t worry, in between all the laughing we were still able to ask them some questions.
Oh, and just in case you were wondering, Armie Hammer is just as handsome in person as he is on screen.
Here’s what they had to say…
How they became involved with the role and why they wanted to be a part of this film
Owen Wilson: Well, it was, I met John Lassiter, was sitting next to me. He had a dinner and he was telling me that, about the sort of idea, and I didn’t think, you know, necessarily anything would come of it. I didn’t know who he was or anything, and then, yeah then, you know, then it all sort of fell together and now I have this little guy (referring to a toy car).
Cristela Alonzo: I’ll tell you that I actually got a call. I was on my way to do a stand up tour in Canada, and I got a call from my agent asking me if I wanted to go to Pixar. They didn’t tell me anything. They’re just like do you want to go to Pixar. I’m like well that’s a random question, but yes. They flew me up to Pixar. I had no idea I was being considered for anything. I didn’t know anything until I got there, and then they made me sign papers like, and I’m like what am I doing? And it wasn’t until they gave me a tour and then they sat me down in an office and broke down this Cruz character, and immediately I thought wait a minute, this is a job interview, like I would have dressed up better for you. I mean, I’m wearing my target vest, but still, you know, like who, what, where, right guys? So you know, so I became involved with it and I working with the film in November of 2015. And I had no idea, and honestly I’m glad no one told me because I would have been very nervous. So it allowed me the chance to be myself and not have any time to work on fake me. And I ended up getting it, and it was, I mean, who ever thinks that you’re ever gonna be part of the Pixar world. I mean, it’s incredible.
Kerry Washington: I got a call much, much later. [LAUGHTER.] There was a roll to play, like a super know it all, bossy pants character, super arrogant, so would I be willing to go way against type. I said yeah…I just, honestly I’ve been a fan of this franchise from a long time, and just was honored to be a part of it and excited to do something that my kids could watch.
Armie Hammer: I wish I had a really good story. They called me, they said do you want to be in the movie? And I was like yup.
Cristela Alonzo: Man, that story had drama and everything.
Armie Hammer: I really wish I could find a twist or like an angle in there, but it was really that easy.
Owen Wilson: You were kidnapped, brought to Pixar.
Armie Hammer: I did go to Pixar. I did go to Pixar. [AUDIENCE LAUGHTER]
Seeing herself in her character, Cruz
Cristela Alonzo: I will tell you that the Cruz character started out as a boy, and they decided to make it into a female, a girl car. John Lasseter actually came into the sound booth when I was recording one day, and I thanked him for giving me the opportunity to be part of a Pixar movie…and I started telling him how I just never thought I was going to be a possibility, you know.
It’s like so many people tell you, especially in the kind of hood that I grew up with, they always tell you that you can’t do anything, you know. And everybody in the neighborhood is very quick to knock you down a peg. So John Lasseter took that story and actually ran with it. So there’s a speech where I get upset at Lightning, and one of the lines is dream small, he told me. And that was actually a line that I told Lasseter about my family. My family always told me to dream small, and it was that thing were they told me to dream small because they didn’t want my heart broken.
So, you know, it was that thing where they always said you can’t have big dreams because big dreams don’t happen for people like us. So it’s that story where that speech and these stories that I started telling Pixar evolved into Cruz. So I always tell people what I like about Cruz, yet at the same time it’s very heartbreaking, is that Cruz gets to win in the story, and I don’t know if I get to win in my story.
So it’s that thing where like, you know, it’s that thing where I try to bring that part of me into Cruz, and I think that that’s when they realized that a lot of the heart of the story came from that.
After hearing that story, the following banter ensued between Cristela and I:
Me: How do we follow up with that? That’s deep.
Cristela Alonzo: I don’t know. Maybe try harder.
We had a few more things to say but don’t worry, we hugged it out after the interview. Dare I say I had a “moment” with Cristela? I do.
What she learned from her character
Kerry Washington: This is probably gonna seem like a stretch, because it’s such a supporting character, but one of the things it’s made me think a lot about is sort of this disposable society that we live in, because Natalie Certain is so sure that Storm in going to win, because of the numbers, you know. She’s just so sure, and she’s certain that you can kind of discount everybody else because of the hot, new thing is the way to go. And I think we have to be really careful about that as a society, not just in our business but in general.
Owen Wilson then asked Kerry to share a story she had told them about her daughter watching Cars 3
Owen Wilson: You’ve got to tell the story also about showing the movie to your daughter.
Kerry Washington: When I was telling these guys like in our house, we talk a lot about like owning your voice and having a voice, and kids can be literal, and so when we went to see the movie, my daughter said, that car has your voice. That’s weird. She should have her own voice.
On riding Racers at Cars Land in California Adventure Park
Cristela Alonzo: He’s never been on the Cars right.
Owen Wilson: We’re saving it for tonight.
Cristela Alonzo: Owen’s like, I’m gonna wait till the third one.
Owen Wilson: I thought about it on the second. I go, nope.
When asked who their mentors were this funny convo took place
Kerry Washington: Well, to be in the movie, we’ve all agreed to say that Owen is our mentor.
Armie Hammer: That’s was a requirement for being in the movie.
Owen Wilson: It just feels good to be a mentor.
Cristela Alonzo: Everyday I wake up in my bedroom and I see every movie poster Owen done.
Armie Hammer: He sent them to all of us.
Cristela Alonzo: He signed every one, what’s your face, I love you.
Armie Hammer: Signed, your mentor.
Cars 3 races into theaters this Friday, June 16th!
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.