Disney hosted our Nascar/Cars 3 Experience
To celebrate the home release of Disney Pixar’s Cars 3 digitally in HD and 4K Ultra HD on October 24, and Blu-ray 4K Ultra HD & Blu-ray on Nov 7, I got the opportunity to speak with the minds behind the film. Earlier this month, at the NASCAR Hall of Fame I got the opportunity to sit down with Jay Ward, Pixar Creative Director for Cars 3, and Ray Evernham, the voice of Ray Reverham in Cars 3, and former NASCAR Crew Chief and Team Owner.
The Cars franchise is incredibly popular, so we were eager to find out how you come up with a third success.
According to Jay Ward, “we knew after Cars 2 that we wanted to get back to the roots of Cars 1, a McQueen story. We started with a comeback story – but along the way, we realized it was more exciting to tell a story about mentorship, paying it forward and telling a story about someone that had limited themselves in life.”
Whether it’s Nemo, Toy Story, Monsters Inc. or Cars, we want to watch them over and over again.
“Pixar Films are held to a different standard. Any film can look beautiful, but not every film can tell a great story. Technically, the work can be challenging. That’s why our films can take so long. But it’s really about getting the story right.”
According to Jay Ward, his boss John Lasseter, the Chief Creative Officer at Pixar, demands that the team focus on authenticity. Whatever the story’s setting – the world needs to be authentic. So, whether it’s making the filmmakers scuba dive for Nemo, or a deep dive into space exploration for Wall-E, the research is exhaustive. But for Cars 3, for most people cars are a known world.
“If a detail doesn’t move the story forward, or if it takes away from the story, we don’t do it. Even if something is authentic, if it doesn’t keep the viewer engaged in the story – then we don’t use it.” Says Ward,“You cannot sacrifice the story. The authenticity is there to support the story.”
With Cars 3, the storytellers wanted to make Jackson Storm reflect the future of NASCAR, and make Lightning McQueen look old school by comparison. So, Pixar filmmakers tapped NASCAR experts, like Ray Evernham, to envision the future of racing. The Pixar team listened closely to Ray’s view of the future of race car design and brought it to life. They asked Ray, what does a NASCAR car look like 20 years from now?
Ray told them he sees “cars are getting lower, wider and sharper. The air dynamics are coming from the bottom, the tires getting wider and the profiles are changing.” These insights led to the look of Jackson Storm character.
How to define success?
At Pixar, the team strives “to tell great stories that work for all ages, and you want to watch it more than once because you are going to see something you didn’t see the first time,” says Jay.
From a personal perspective, Ray Evernham shares that he watches the film alongside his sons. “It brings us closer together, and each time I feel like I learn more about myself and my career. I think working on the movie has helped me appreciate my acceptance into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.”