Our first interview with the voice talent from Cars 3 was with Nathan Fillion (voice of “Sterling”), Larry the Cable Guy (voice of “Mater”), Lea DeLaria (voice of “Miss Fritter”) & Isiah Whitlock Jr. (voice of “River Scott”).
Larry the Cable Guy had us laughing from the minute he came in. Apologizing for wearing sleeves saying he was a little overdressed.
Improv. Did you do any improv during the making of Cars 3?
Larry answered first and as I believe was expected he said he always does improv.
Starting back in the original Cars movie I improvised how I said the line; “Hey. My name’s Mater, just like To-mato, without the To!”
I said I could do it another way but was told that he could do whatever he wanted as long as he stuck close to the script. Hence the “dadgum” and “gee” came in.
Nathan joked that it was weird because when he tried to improv, they’d always go, “That’s great, stick to the lines.”
Isiah added that he tells them
that he’ll just start talking and to cut him off when they’re ready to cut him off.
Unfortunately Lea was a little late to the interview as she was returning from a premiere party in New York the night before.
Isiah was asked how he felt about doing something different then his role in The Wire.
Great. I always jump at the chance to do 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, with my own imagination, and I found it quite liberating, just laying down the voice.
To me that is what keeps you going, is that you’re not always playing the same thing, over and over and over again.
Nathan – what do you think your favorite part about Sterling is? What you called you to this?
What called me to this is an opportunity to work with Pixar. I’m 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. 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.
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.
Isiah Whitlock on getting emotional during the screening of Cars 3.
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; “That’s like my career!”
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. I found it just extremely emotional. I think the story’s going to be powerful.
Cars 3 has a solid theme of mentorship. Who are some of your mentors, either professionally or personally?
NATHAN: Bob Woods, who played my uncle on One Life to Live. I wouldn’t have moved to Los Angeles without his sage advice.
ISIAH: I had a mentor in college, 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.”
He said; “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.
One thing he told me was “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 I just play a bunch of characters who’ve got problems. It was some of the best advice I had ever gotten. And when people talk about mentorship, I always think about this guy, because I really did learn about the human condition, and what makes people do what they do, and how they believe that they’re right in what they do.
How has social media changed what you do?
LARRY: Social media is just great for getting out. It’s a good way to talk to your fans. Me, as a comedian, I have a Facebook my Facebook has over five million people on it, and I always keep that updated. I always keep stuff funny on it. You want people to come to your Facebook. It’s become your new website, you know. I have a website, Larrythecableguy dot com. I don’t really keep it up, but not as much as I do that, because everybody is going to Facebook.
Everything on Twitter, I love, because Twitter is not as many people, and you can communicate with everybody. I have almost 500,000 on Twitter. But 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, it’s manageable, and you can talk. I can generally talk to most people.
Now, if I’m on there after something, say, after my History Channel show, whenever that would air, there’d be 500 messages. You can’t get to those. But, generally, if you check it once every hour and a half, you’re going to have 17, 18 messages. You can pretty much answer everybody. I think it’s awesome. I think it’s really cool that you can actually get responded to by a celebrity.
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: 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, you’re entirely in control, and it is one-on-one.
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.
I love that word – engagement. You can engage with people. And I couldn’t do that when I was a kid.
Can you share how you became involved in the project?
LEA: They called me.
And why you wanted to do it?
LEA: Why did 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 shout out to that. That’s the side of the bus is the high school that I went to. The people of Belleville, Illinois, which is a tiny little town, they’re gonna go nuts when they see that. It’s kind of awesome. And so when they came to 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, one of my fans wanted to know, who do you like playing more: Miss Fritter or Boo?
LEA: Oh. That’s rough. 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.
I noticed you have a lot of interaction with your fans on Twitter. How do you fit that in between all the other things you do?
LEA: I feel the same way these guys feel about engagement with my fans. I’m a little older but I’m not 110 years old, so I’m more over at Instagram. I go on Twitter more as an afterthought. 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 so only you can read it and no one else on Instagram. As an openly gay activist, I get a lot of people that direct, about problems, 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. Also Twitter is a great way to keep up with the president.
Cars 3 is in theaters everywhere NOW – go watch it, you will NOT regret it!!
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