The interviews with Owen Wilson, Armie Hammer, Kerry Washington & Cristela Alonzo had a fair amount of laughter, but they also got deep at times. Talking about childhood, how disposable our society is, their mentors and dreams coming true. Heads up, there ARE spoilers in this interview.
Meet Owen, Armie, Kerry and Cristela, rather Lightning, Jackson, Natalie & Cruz
How did they get involved with the Cars Franchise?
Cristela Alonzo shares with us an impromptu trip to Pixar where she went from signing papers to a tour of the Pixar campus, to learning about the character of Cruz Ramirez, and suddenly realizing she was at a job interview, all while wearing her Target vest. She says “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 the fake me.”
Kerry Washington jokes with us about a call she received. “There was a role to play, like a super know it all, bossy pants character, super arrogant, so would I be willing to go way against type.” She was super excited to do something her kids could watch. (You know, not Scandal.)
Owen Wilson happened to be sitting to John Lasseter at a dinner, where John was telling him about his ideas. Owen didn’t think much of it at first, and then it all sort of fell together.
Armie Hammer wishes he had a good story (so he says) “They called me, they said do you want to be in the movie? And I was like yup. I really wish I could find a twist or like an angle in there, but it was really that easy.”
What does Cruz Ramirez mean to little girls? (Spoilers!)
We had the chance to really talk to Cristela about the impact her character, Cruz, will have on little girls watching the film. How when the film was screened by a group of young girls, they didn’t quite understand that Cruz had won the race. “there were moments where they had to ask their mothers if they had understood the story correctly. And for me that story is something that I carry now with me because it’s such a simple story that she would win the race, yet it never occurred to anybody that she would win it.”
She shares the message that she wants kids, especially the girls, “if you’re good, you can win. If you’re the best, it doesn’t matter if you’re a boy or a girl. You just have to be the best and try hard, and that’s the best take away from this story.”
Cristela gets a bit deeper, and shares her personal childhood experiences. “My family always told me to dream small, and it was that thing where they told me to dream small because they didn’t want my heart broken. They always said you can’t have big dreams because big dreams don’t happen for people like us.”
Kerry’s thoughts on our disposable society.
Kerry tells us how her role as Natalie Certain made her think about the disposable society we live in. She talks about how sure Natalie Certain is that Storm is going to win, because of the numbers, and that as a society we tend to discount everyone else because of the hot new thing. “I heard a story recently about how Rutgers University paid more money than they’d ever paid to any visiting adjust speaker person ever the year that Snooki came to teach. There’s no judgment on that, but she’s a reality star and that was the same year that Maya Angelou spoke at their commencement. It just made me realize that we can sometimes prioritize hot and new more than we prioritize wise and creative. And as a society, we need to be careful about that.”
Kerry also shares with us that she teaches her kids to own your voice. “we went to see the movie, my daughter said, that car has your voice. That’s weird. She should have her own voice.”
The Last Season of Scandal
And of course, we can’t not chat with Kerry without asking her about the last season of Scandal! “I’m really excited about going into our last season. A lot of times in our business, you don’t know when the jobs are going to stop, so it’s an honor to go into these last, I think we’re doing 18, knowing like we can give it our all and say good-bye to our fans in a loving and respectful way.”
Who’s your mentor?
We got on the topic of mentoring, since it plays such a large role in all of the Cars films. With this group, there was a lot of laughter and chiding Owen Wilson.
It’s no surprise that Crisela takes it seriously and gets down to business. She’s deep, you guys. Her late mother is her mentor, as well as her drama teachers in school. Cristela tells her to she went to high school in a small town, that was 99% Mexican, and that they did plays, including the Diary of Anne Frank. They didn’t let anything limit them, and they just did it. “I had a teacher in college tell me that, as a Latina, I could do West Side Story and Chorus Line, and I did West Side Story and I did Chorus Line, and then I thought, well, I guess I have to retire from theatre.” She recalls what a great lesson those high school drama teachers taught her, that she can just do it, and not be limited.
How the Cars movies impact kids.
Since Cars has had such a positive place in my son’s life, I was glad I had the chance to ask Owen about how he felt impact that the Cars movies have made on kids, and especially the special needs community. “With my own kids, it’s like they haven’t seen a movie once until they’ve seen it a hundred times, so they really learn a movie. It’s like they really get into it. It feels great. I think that’s kind of the nice thing about doing something creative like we all do to then, you know, make something that means something to people, or that they, you know, laugh and enjoy. That’s a great feeling.”
Armie’s Road Trips on Route 66
Armie shares with us his experience on road tripping on Route 66 (the Mother road) “There’s something so magical in the American South West. It’s like one of the least densely populated places on earth. And you can end up in just like the most remote out of nowhere areas where nothing has changed since Route 66 was the main artery and thoroughfare of the region. I love a good road trip ’cause you just get on the road, you put it on you put it on cruise control, and you just, you just go. You listen to music. You listen to podcasts. You listen to nothing. You just look around. There’s tons of places out there.”
What was so wonderful about interviewing Owen, Armie, Kerry & Cristela was it was so down to earth and heart felt. It would have been easy for them to answer the questions simply and move on, but they didn’t. The room was full of laughter and heart and lessons to learn, not unlike Cars 3. Let’s be honest, the girls stole the show here, sorry Armie & Owen, I think Cristela and Kerry are your new mentors. 🙂