Larry the Cable Guy voices the popular character Mater for this Disney Pixar sequel, in stores November 1st
Larry The Cable Guy stands as the proud voice of Mater, a shabby little tow truck that brings a lot of heart and soul into the Disney Pixar animated franchise sequel Cars 2, which is set to make its Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, and DVD debut this Tuesday, November 1st. We recently caught up with Larry to chat about the movie and life in Nebraska.
Here is our conversation.
Larry The Cable Guy: It's been such a long time since I last heard your voice!
It seems like yesterday. Are you in Los Angeles right now?
Larry The Cable Guy: No, I am in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Good. I was wondering what you were doing outside. It's cold and rainy here in L.A.
Larry The Cable Guy: I know. Believe it or not, here in Lincoln, Nebraska, it's about seventy-two degrees. But the wind is blowing at about 25-30 miles an hour.
Geez. That's a little crazy. Is that where you're living now? Out in Nebraska?
Larry The Cable Guy: Yeah. I just moved out here. I'm from here originally. I lived in Florida for thirty-three years. My little boy just started school, so I moved to Lincoln. I decided to put him in school in Nebraska.
What's that like for the other kids at school, when he shows up with Mater? That has to be pretty exciting for them?
Larry The Cable Guy: It is pretty awesome. However, I have been working so much, since he started, I have only gotten to take him to school twice.
Mater's almost, if not has, outgrown your stand-up routine in popularity...
Larry The Cable Guy: Dude, Mater has been awesome. It introduced me to a whole new market of people. I love doing the character. I never got a sound-alike, when they did the games and the toys. So, everything that is Mater is my voice. Which is even better! I thought, "Man, if my kids are going to get the toys, I want it to be my voice!" Everything is about Mater...I gotta tell you, though. I don't know if my kids tell everybody, or if they keep that down. I have no idea. (Laughs)
Yeah, I remember when I was a kid, you'd get the Mork doll, and you'd pull that string on the back, and it wasn't Robin Williams' voice coming out. It was a sound-alike. But even as a kid, I knew that wasn't him. Its so much cooler when you get Mater, and its actually Mater's real voice coming out...
Larry The Cable Guy: Wait a minute, let me take that last statement back. My wife did tell me that a kid brought a Mater truck for Show and Tell. My little boy pointed at it and said, "Hey, that's my dad!" That was cool.
How old is your son? What grade is he in?
Larry The Cable Guy: He's a senior in high school this year (laughs). He's a senior and he is trying to figure out which college he wants to go to...No! He is five.
Some kids might find that a little strange, if one of their peers is pointing at a tow truck going, "That's my dad!" And they don't have a point of reference. "You're dad is a tow truck? You're crazy!"
Larry The Cable Guy: Yeah, right! He is five years old. My little girl is four.
You know David Koechner, right?
Larry The Cable Guy: Yes. We did the movie Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector together...
He did the voice for the Polar Express toys, as the train conductor. He was Tom Hanks' sound-alike...
I really enjoyed Health Inspector. I think that's a great little movie....
Larry The Cable Guy: Yes! Thanks! You know what? It has turned into a comedy cult classic. It has a lot of quotable lines. Everywhere I go, people tell me how much they like Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector. It was very underrated. It should have been nominated for something! (Laughs)
Yeah, my brother, Dave, is the biggest Larry the Cable Guy fan there is...
Larry The Cable Guy: Your brother is a good American!
It's funny. He always has to wear that fishhook on his hat. For the longest time, I didn't know what he was doing...
Larry The Cable Guy: (Laughs) Man, that is so great! Where does your brother live?
He lives up in Oregon, in a town called Independence.
Larry The Cable Guy: That is an outdoorsy state. The man should have a fishhook on his hat!
Yeah, except that never goes fishing. Hardly. Ever.
Larry The Cable Guy: You don't have to go fishing to have a fishhook on your hat. It just says, "I'm outdoorsy!" He is a country kid!
He does like to go shoot his gun out in the woods.
Larry The Cable Guy: Well, there you go!
When the original Cars came out, they developed the character first, and then fit you around that. With this sequel, I have to imagine that they really fashioned Mater around you and your persona this time. That the animators were really working for you...
Larry The Cable Guy: Yeah. In the first one, Mater was just a small part. I went out there, and they really liked how Mater sounded. They liked the character, and they thought he was sweet. They knew that people would like it. So they added a lot more Mater this time. When the second one came along, they had been selling all of these toys, and Mater was the highest selling toy they had. They knew people really liked Mater. Mater was really the heart and soul of that first movie. They wanted to give him a bigger part of the action. They wanted to focus on him. Mater had never left Radiator Springs, so they wanted to focus on that aspect this time. What it is like when he goes to another country. That is kind of based on John Lasseter. This is his baby. He patterns it after himself. John is a regular dude. When he goes to foreign places, he is at a loss with the true customs. He is a fish out of water, so he goes off of that. In the first movie, Mater was the heart and soul. So they figured, now, they will put Mater in these new situations, and he will be a bigger part of it. And it worked out great. People have really enjoyed it.
There is a really interesting dynamic there, between you and Owen Wilson. You are yin and yang. Do you think you'll ever appear together, in the flesh, in a movie? I like this combination.
Larry The Cable Guy: It would be really great if we did. I have to tell you, Owen and I, when we were sitting around waiting for interviews, being in the same room together...We got along really well. I made him laugh. He made me laugh. It was almost like we'd known each other for a long time. I had met him very briefly on the first one. Just very briefly. But on this second one is when I got to spend more quality time with him. He is a great guy. I really liked him. You're right, we have a good chemistry. And it would be really cool to do something together.
Often times, when you guys are recording these voices, you're not even in the same room together. So, onscreen, in the movie Cars 2, you are really creating this chemistry that you share with Owen Wilson out of thin air...
Larry The Cable Guy: Yeah, that is what makes John Lasseter so good at what he does. He is so good at explaining the situation. And explaining what is going on. He knows. He listens. When you are doing the voice, he will close his eyes, and he will listen to you, and he will put himself in that scene. You can see him, his wheels are just turning. As soon as you get into it, when you are about done, when you get to the middle...And he starts to smile and laugh...You know you've hit on a good line. We had a lot of those. John is really good at getting the best out of you. He explains it in such a way that it helps you out.
Are you still continuing to do Mater in the Cars Toons?
Larry The Cable Guy: Oh, yeah. I do all of the Cars Toons. All of the shorts, and mini-movies. Those did really well for Pixar. Out of all the Pixar movies...I know that they are for adults, too...But out of all the movies, this is a project that John really likes. He is a big car guy. He loves cars. When he was a kid, he always thought of this. He would sit and think of a world of talking cars. What would these cars, and this world, be like? Obviously the adults like it, but kids really like this movie. I think he patterned this one a little more for the kids. The kids love the Cars Toons. They are on the Family Channel, and on the Disney Channel. They show those Cars Toons, and they show Mater's Tall Tales. The kids really love those things. We'll keep doing them as long as people keep watching them. I enjoy them. They are fun little things. My kids, when they sit down and watch something, nine times out of ten, they'll want to watch Mater's Tall Tales. There are thirteen or fourteen of these on DVD. They are short, and they are quick. They are perfect for a kid's attention span. Some of them are seven and a half minutes, some of them are three minutes long. They are not too long, they are not too short. They are just perfect. We will be doing another round of those soon. They keep Mater fresh in everyone's mind.
I like them, because I remember as a kid, going to the movies, you'd always get an animated short before the movie would start. Pixar and Warner Bros. are really starting to bring that back in a big way...
Larry The Cable Guy: Yeah. Pixar, before Cars 2...They had a really funny Toy Story: Hawaiian Vacation short. That one is really funny. I always like it when they are quick and short like that.
I have to imagine that you guys are already talking about Cars 3?
Larry The Cable Guy: You know what? I have no idea. John makes the movies because he likes the movies. If John thinks there is a funny story line, and it's a good storyline, he will do a Cars 3. It just depends. I know that this and Toy Story are something that he really enjoys. There was a Toy Story 3. Will there be a Cars 3? I have no idea. I will say this. I was happy to be a part of the first two. They came out exactly like we wanted them to come out. I really enjoyed voicing Mater. If there aren't any more? Well, then, that is fine. We'll still do Mater's Tall Tales. I will be up to my ears in Mater stuff for at least the next three years.
You're Pixar royalty...
Larry The Cable Guy: Those guys are really good to me over there. Every time I go to Pixar, they are all really nice. I was so glad to be a part of this. Anytime I do a show, the whole cast comes out to watch. All of the animators come. We hang out back stage. They are such good people.
Now, is it in your contract that when you are in a live action movie, your character has to be named Larry? I am looking at your list of credits, and Mater is the only non-Larry you've played...
Larry The Cable Guy: Well, you know, that's pretty much what I do. People know me as Larry The Cable Guy. If all of a sudden we did Tooth Fairy 2 starring Dan Whitney, I don't think a lot of people will know who that is. But if it's Larry The Cable Guy, they'll know who is in it. I keep everything Larry. It's working. I enjoy doing it. I've always been under the assumption that life is too short. People like what I do. I don't take myself that seriously. It's just a movie. I'm not running for Congress.
I'm talking about the actual names of the characters that you play in these movies...
Larry The Cable Guy: Yeah, his name is Larry.
The Rock was in the first one. Now, you are taking over the franchise?
Larry The Cable Guy: Yeah. And I have to tell you. It is a really good movie. It's my first G rated kids movie. And there are a lot of really funny gags in it. I am really proud of this movie. I think people are really going to like it. Of course, it's going straight to DVD. Its one of my better ones. There is no doubt about it. I really enjoy it. I had a good time making it. If you notice, that is my character. He's in every one of them. In Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector, I was Larry Stalder. In Delta Farce, I was Larry...Funny story about Delta Farce...That was originally made for me, Jeff Foxworthy, and Bill Engvall. Jeff caught Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?, so he couldn't do the movie. My part was DJ Qualls' part. They moved me to Jeff's part. I took the script and tried to rewrite as many lines as I could, to cater it to me. Then we hired DJ Qualls to do my part. That was the first time I'd ever taken over someone's part, and someone else did my part. In Witless Protection, I was Larry as well. And now, in this new one, Tooth Fairy 2, I am Larry. (Laughs) You know what, if it ain't broke, don't fix it!
No doubt. DJ Qualls is a good ol' Memphis boy. He's a good fit in that group.
Larry The Cable Guy: DJ was a lot of fun. We had a good time working with him. Anytime you can do a movie, it's just a good time. I never dreamt in a million years that I would be doing a movie. I never pursued them. I never said, "Hey, lets do a movie." They came to me and said, "We have a movie we'd love for you to do." So I did the movie, and obviously it worked really well. My fans have really enjoyed them all.
Yes, please, keep doing them. I've seen all of them, and I enjoy them quite a bit.
Larry The Cable Guy: My fans like to buy my DVDs. I have a great DVD audience. So, that is why we did Tooth Fairy 2. So it would go direct to DVD. But, as far as the name Larry goes, that's why we do it. People? They know Larry The Cable Guy. They know me doing that. It's easier to do it that way. Than to throw them a wrench, and throw my real name in there.
I didn't even know that wasn't your real name. I was solely talking about the fact that all of these characters are named after you. Anyway, thanks so much for stopping by! It's been a real pleasure.
Larry The Cable Guy: Thank you! And tell your brother: Get-R-Done!