Emily Mortimer and Larry the Cable Guy discuss their Cars 2 roles of Holley Shiftwell and Mater in this Pixar animated sequel
Cars 2 is revving up its engines, ready to race into theaters June 24. And this Pixar animated sequel features some favorite characters from the original Cars, plus several new, international characters as well.
During my trip to the Pixar facility in Emeryville, California back in March, I was able to sit down and talk with Larry The Cable Guy, who reprises his his as Mater role from the original, and Pixar newcomer Emily Mortimer, who voices the British spy car Holley Shiftwell.
Both of these vehicles are very different from each other on the outside, and the inside. Holley Shiftwell, a rookie covert operative who is learning under master spy Finn McMissile (Michael Caine), comes equipped with headlight cameras, a concealed machine gun and an electro-shock device in her right-side wheels, a mechanical utility arm, and even a pair of retractable wings for her to take flight with. Mater comes equipped with...Well, a tow cable. Despite their differences, this odd couple join forces on a secret mission in Cars 2.
Both Larry The Cable Guy and Emily Mortimer sat down with our press group at this Pixar event, to discuss their characters and experiences in working on this highly-anticipated sequel. Here's what they had to say below.
Can you talk a bit about your recording sessions? Do you get to see any of the movie while you are recording, or are you told what it's like? How does it work?
Larry The Cable Guy: We don't see, really, any of it. We just get in and (director) John (Lasseter) is there and he just tells us what the scene is, or tell us about the scene. You'll start your lines and he will just tell you how to react. I don't know, that's how I do it.
Emily Mortimer: No, you're completely right. You're completely relying on John for all of it, and you know that he's a genius and you're in safe hands. If it was just some dude you don't know, telling you what to do in a scene, you would just freak out. You just put yourself in his hands and go for it.
Larry The Cable Guy: Yeah, he's really comfortable to work with. By the way, both the Southern accent and the English accent sound very smart. I remember when I did Cars, I remember the first three lines, I just read it like it was on paper. I remember saying to John, 'You know, I wouldn't say it like that. Can I say it the way I would?' He said, 'That's what I hired you for! You're Mater. As long as you get us where we need to be, you can do it however you want to.' As soon as he said that, it was off to the races. It's awesome. You'll do a line, and he'll just sit there and read the line and go, 'Do it slower. Do that one slower.' He makes you feel real comfortable. If you know he's laughing at it, and smiling, you know you're doing well.
Playing an animated tow truck is a unique proposition for an actor, isn't it?
Larry The Cable Guy: Well, I've got to tell you, I'm the only actor who gains weight for a voice-over role (Laughs). I got the specs of the truck, how how much it weighed, and I started to eat. For me, the tow truck is just kind of like me. It wasn't really hard to get into character for it. He's a nice guy, a lovable guy, and when he goes to all these different countries, he's in awe. That's like me. I haven't hardly left the States ever. That's how I did the character, how I would probably react in those situations.
Have you ever eaten sushi?
Larry The Cable Guy: I have never eaten sushi in my entire life. I've fished with it, and caught some good fish with it, but no. There's a scene where Mater is in Japan and he goes into a bathroom and, I just figured that's how I would act in there. There's not a lot of getting into character for it. I've been getting into character for that for 27 years now. That's what I do. I do Mater.
Emily, can you talk about how you first heard about the role?
Emily Mortimer: Well, it didn't seem like that big of a thing. I got this call saying, 'Would you come in and do a voice for Cars 2?' I said, 'Yes, definitely,' but I don't know whether it was my emotional state, or how it was presented to me, but it didn't seem like a big deal. They said it may be three sessions, and maybe four.' This is my agent saying this, because you get paid by the session (Laughs).
Larry The Cable Guy: And they're almost $150 per session. That's a good deal right there (Laughs).
Emily Mortimer: I was lucky enough to get the first few sides in advance, the night before, and had a chance to look at the character. On the way there, I kept looking at it and it kept going and going. It was surprising. It turned into more sessions and it became a big part of my year this year. I've enjoyed it so much and it's been such a ride. I'm totally enamored, to the point where I'm starting to irritate my family and friends because I just can't stop going on about this place. You just come here and you never really want to leave.
Larry The Cable Guy: I told John that one time. I said, 'I bet there isn't much of a turnover rate in this place.' He said, 'That's the problem. No one wants to go home.' People come in here at 8 or 9 in the morning, and they might not leave until 9 or 10 at night. It's just that awesome to be here.
Emily, are you excited to be turned into a piece of merchandise?
Emily Mortimer: Yes, bring it on! I'm so happy to be such a glamorous car. This might be the best I will ever look in any other movie. It's so great to be a toy. I've had so much pleasure with my son who's here, taking tours. He's seven and now he's finally impressed by me.
What is your connection with kids, Larry? When you meet kids, are you always doing the voice for them?
Larry The Cable Guy: Oh, it's great. My kids obviously love it. When I started doing the first one, I just had one kid, and now I have two, they're three and four. When I see kids on the street, sometimes their parents will say, 'Hey, that's the voice of Mater.' They'll look at me and, if it's a girl, I'll always say, 'Mornin, sleeping beauty. My name's Mater.' The last one was really cool. There was this little girl in Vegas and her dad said, 'Becca, you know who that is? That's Mater.' She goes, 'No, really?' I go, 'My name's Mater,' and she started crying. I mean, she was happy that she got to meet Mater. That was pretty cool. Yeah, it's a good ice-breaker.
You've worked with Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, and now John Lasseter. Is there a crossover there that might not have occurred to us?
Emily Mortimer: I think what they share is the experience is so relaxed in each case, because they're masters at what they do. There's no feeling of anxiety from them, almost to the point of, 'Can you just direct me, and tell me what to do?' None of that goes on. There is a total lack of anxiety and then, when you watch the movie, every frame of the film has their fingerprints all over it. They are the puppet masters, all of them, but they're totally relaxed.
Larry The Cable Guy: That's why he hired her, because he knew she could do the job. It was like when I did all my Scorsese movies (Laughs).
You can watch Larry The Cable Guy as Mater and Emily Mortimer as the new character Holley Shiftwell when Cars 2 hits theaters nationwide on June 24.