During my last Disney press trip, I got a chance to sit down with Mike Rich, a 15-year veteran screenwriter with credits such as Finding Forester and Secreteriat; Kiel Murray, one of the original writers of the Cars franchise; Bob Peterson, 23 year veteran at Pixar and star supervisor on Monsters Inc; Scott Morse, 12 year veteran at Pixar who has worked on some of our favorite movies, like Ratatouille, Wall-E, Brave, Cars 2 and now Cars 3. In chatting with them, I got a chance to learn how Cars 3 came to life. They also shared with us, the intricate art of storytelling and how important it was when they were developing the Cars 3 film.
The Art of Storytelling with Cars 3
- Find a universal truth that everyone will identify with and learn from – With Cars, that meant the iconic McQueen had to overcome a few obstacles. “In this case, it was what do you do when you’re not as fast anymore and you have people behind you that are faster. Do you crumple or do you rise up and change?” – Bob Peterson. We can relate all to the struggle of not feeling adequate after a setback.
- Immerse yourself in the material – To do this, the team did lots of research by looking at athletes like Kobe Bryant and how we dealt with obstacles late in his career. They spoke to Nascar Veterans, to learn about the sport and what it meant to them, they read books. “It’s about the history of the sport. We went to the Daytona 500 there was a museum and a library. That’s where we learned about characters like Wendell Scott and Louise Smith who had obstacles, societal obstacles, just to get on the track but they did it because of the love of the sport.” – Mike Rich.
- Establish characters and character flaws -“You have to have side characters. What’s your character’s flaw? A side character needs to push that character to learn who the main character needs to be. We went through a lot of variations and we settled on Cruz Ramirez. And Cruz Ramirez, difficult character to crack and we knew we wanted her to push McQueen.” – Mike Rich
- Write your story – Based on the research and after coming up with a theme, this is when the team got together and started writing the story, that would be Cars 3.
It was interesting listening to them tell the story of how Cars 3 was created and it certainly gave me a much deeper appreciation for the film. If you haven’t yet, check out the new Cars 3 trailer.
Watch Cars 3 “Rivalry” Official Trailer
CARS 3 opens in theatres everywhere on June 16th!