Directors Steve Purcell, Brian Fee, and Bobby Podesta, producer Marc Sondheimer, and Mater himself, Larry the Cable Guy, all had a lot to say about the series! Here are some interesting details we discovered about the show’s production.
1. The series was inspired by a real-life road trip!
One of the directors of Cars on the Road, Steve Purcell, told a story about a family road trip they made when he was eight years old and thought it would be the ideal setting for Mater and Lightning McQueen’s escapades. It felt like a terrific opportunity to write something that was somewhat modular in that each point along the journey could be a completely different setting, a completely different sensibility, and a whole different cast of characters, he said.
2. All the directors have a history with the Cars franchise.
Watching Cars on the Road reveals how much care and knowledge went into making the show, and it makes sense that former members of the Cars franchise made it! Both Brian Fee and Steve Purcell worked as story artists on the film Cars, and Fee later directed the sequel! And of course, Bobby Podesta contributed his knowledge in animation from his time working as a director and supervising animator on the films Cars and Cars 3.
We all three return to the first Cars, Brian gushed. So, it is a part of us. It runs in our family. Just how deeply ingrained are these personalities in each of us? These characters seem to be a part of our family, and we can all relate to them on some level. Additionally, our thumbprints and entryways do differ slightly. And although though each director grabs the reins and leaves their mark all over it, I believe we all kind of rely on one another to help fill in the gaps and improve it.
3. Be on the lookout for Easter Eggs!
There are a few Easter Eggs tucked away in every great Pixar movie, and Cars on the Road is no exception! The Pizza Planet truck can be seen in every episode of the entire series, according to producer Marc Sondheimer! But there are also a few specifics to pay attention to! “One thing for our viewers to pay attention to [is] the credits and the music,” Bobby Podesta teases.
Every episode’s credits feature a different rendition of our theme tune that was created by our composer Jake Monaco to fit the tone of the program. And there is some pretty incredible music in there. From the beginning to the conclusion, there is something for you. Additionally, Sondheimer says, “You get to see the credits and all the lovely folks that contributed!”
4. Every director had something that excited them to see come to life in the final animation!
Undoubtedly, seeing the end product of your labors is one of the highlights of producing a show. It didn’t take Bobby Podesta long to tell us that his musical episode “Trucks” was a memorable moment: “[The episode] was so over the top and so much fun, and so unlike anything I had gotten to work on in the world of Cars that we just kept pushing it and pushing it.” After believing we were finished, we continued to push.
Steve Purcell also cherished the opportunity to experiment with and advance the animation medium. A dream sequence of Mater’s produced a humorous image in his episode “Dino Park” that delighted Purcell. “For me, it was witnessing the stop motion section where we tried to imitate the ’60s style stop motion of the dinosaur automobiles,” he continues. and witnessing that come to life and appreciating how well the animators executed that. Because I was setting for them this peculiar goal—I wanted it to have a slightly shady appearance while still being cool—I was providing them. And they were successful in obtaining this stunning action scene.
However, you can still tell that it was handmade, much like it would have appeared in the 1960s when I was watching cool Ray Harryhausen films like King Kong or whatever. I found that to be exciting.
Finally, the animators captured a feeling that director Brian Fee was thrilled to see come to life. In “The Legend,” one of the episodes he worked on, McQueen and Mater get to go outside and interact with Bigfoot. And there’s a scene where McQueen is kind of alone himself in the woods and it’s dark… and it’s gloomy, and we wanted to convey, you know, that feeling of being in the woods like in ’80s science fiction. And I don’t believe I’ve ever had to do it before.
In order to get that in there, I think for me it was important to draw inspiration from the things I enjoyed seeing as a child. It’s simply incredible, both in terms of the animators and the lighting. The Cars cast was simply incredible, and everyone really went above and beyond. So, witnessing things come together was such a thrill.
5. If you’re not already familiar with the Cars franchise, anyone can join this road trip!
Take it from Mater himself, Larry the Cable Guy. You are more than welcome to jump right in. McQueen and Mater, after all, are a classic comedic duo. Therefore, if you’ve never seen it, you can start at the beginning. However, if you’re hooked, which you will be, you’ll want to start at the beginning [of the franchise] to understand how everything developed and how they came to be. Just turn on Disney+ and have a ride!
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