Lasseter Talks Cars 2
John Lasseter dismisses the notion that sequels are an easy way out. He points to The Godfather Part II and The Empire Strikes Back as examples of aiming higher and surpassing the original films. You could arguably throw in Toy Story 2 as well, and maybe even Cars 2 (opening June 24), which represents Pixar's first spy movie. It's been five years since Lasseter last directed Cars and he beamed about some of his favorite things.
Bill Desowitz: What's the Cars evolution been like for you?
John Lasseter: The idea for Cars came from a personal experience of me traveling across the country after spending the better part of the '90s making Toy Story, A Bug's Life and Toy Story 2, and having four of our five boys during that time. And my wife was saying, "You'd better be careful, one day you're going to wake up and your kids will have gone off to college and you're gonna miss it." And I learned that the journey in life is the reward and I came back and said that's what I want to be Cars to be about, and that's really the origins of that story.
And the origins of Cars 2 came from three places: One, during Cars, we developed a sequence, which was Sally and Lighting McQueen's first date. And we wanted to put it in the drive-in movie theater. So we thought, "What's playing on the screen?" And we actually got caught up, because we were having so much fun, in developing this spy movie starring this spy car called Finn McMissile [voiced by Michael Caine]. And so we had a lot of fun with that. The story shifted in Cars and took the first date from the movie theater to the cruising, and so that went away, but I never forgot the spy movie. And so after Cars came out, I was doing publicity all around the world and had Cars' characters on the brain. And, so every place I went, I kept looking out the window and found myself laughing and thinking, "What would Mater and Lighting McQueen be doing in these situations?" Like getting lost on the streets of Tokyo, which are so confusing. The huge roundabout around Arc de Triomphe in Paris. How anybody could try and maneuver through that would get stuck for days. Driving on the wrong side of the road on the Autobahn with no speed limit. In Italy, with all of those little scooters all around you like gnats. And so I thought that if I had the chance to do another Cars movie, I'd love to take them out of the United States and travel around the world, where there's so much opportunity.