paul newman cars 3

Before seeing Cars 3, I had heard that the filmmakers decided to bring Paul Newman‘s character Doc Hudson back as a tribute to the late great actor. What I didn’t anticipate is how much of the core of the story is built around Doc Hudson – it’s not just a brief mention or appearance. So when talking with Cars 3 director Brian Fee and producer Kevin Reher at the junket, I asked how much of the story was conceived around the idea of bringing Newman, who died in 2008, back to the screen.

Filmmakers Talk About The Paul Newman Cars 3 Return

Brian Fee: We do all these crazy versions trying to figure out the best way to tell the story. But even in the very beginning, there was that idea that of mentorship. There was that idea of McQueen doesn’t have his mentor anymore. And I like to think of them as father and son. I like to think that after Cars 1, Doc and McQueen would have, if they were people they would have gone fishing and do all the things you do with your Dad, right? And now that Doc is gone, he doesn’t have that layer of support. As he gets older and starts facing the same challenges Doc would have had to face, he can’t call home and say, hey Dad, what did you do when this was happening to you? So that was always kind of there. And the idea of generations. Doc’s generation, McQueen’s generation, and the next generation. That was always there. The flashbacks and using Paul Newman’s voice was something that evolved.

Kevin Reher: John [Lasseter] had left all the tapes running on Cars 1, so we had all these hours of Paul talking about everything and a lot of it was about racing. And that whole the line, ‘500 of those, lap after lap,’ all that was just his extemporaneous conversations with John about racing.

Peter Sciretta: Yeah, I was gonna say, was it a problem to get some of those?

Reher: Yeah. It was a challenge.

Peter: When you were conceiving a scene, were you like “we need this kind of line”? Let’s go through all these hours…

Reher: Well, we did do a sound-alike originally and it just was never as soulful and never as resonant.

Fee: The sound-alike wasn’t working to the point where we just wouldn’t have done it if we had to use a sound-alike. But fortunately, I think we got lucky ’cause while the story still evolved a little bit, so those little scenes with Doc changed. We have some lines with Paul Newman that we didn’t use, because the story…

Reher: Didn’t serve the story.

Fee: The story instead of going from here to here, the story went to here [Brian pointing to a different place]. And we drew another line and there wasn’t room for those scenes anymore. They weren’t supporting the story. And then no matter how much you fall in love with something if it’s not supporting the story, then it’s distracting from the story. And then that’s so we have to cut and lose a lot of babies. You know, that scenario. But we were fortunate enough to find what we needed.

Reher: We also did go back to the original click and clack car talk transcripts to try to find lines that would serve Rusty and Dusty, ’cause Tom Magliozzi died.

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Cars 3 arrives in theaters on June 16, 2017.

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