Cars 3 is in theaters now and it’s a hit! I got to take my kids to see it this weekend (it was my 3rd time seeing it!) and I loved it just as much as the other two times. Last week I shared with you my interview with Owen Wilson, Kerry Washington, Armie Hammer and Cristela Alonzo and today I can’t wait to share with you the fun interview I had with Nathan Fillion (Sterling), Larry the Cable Guy (Mater), Isiah Whitlock Jr. (River Scott) and Lea DeLaria (Miss Fritter).
Larry the Cable Guy
Larry the Cable Guy voices the beloved Mater and I loved hearing him share more about how he got started in the business and his love of social media.
If you’ve seen Cars 3, you’ll have noticed the importance of a “mentor and mentee relationship”. Larry shared that his mentor is Jeff Foxworthy, telling us, “I have known Foxworthy for 30 years, and he really gave me awesome advice about the business, and how to be kind to people, and be kind to your fans, and so he would’ve been my mentor.”
He also shared with us how he came up with the Larry the Cable Guy name (his real name is Daniel Whitney!), “How I came up with the name Larry the Cable Guy is, I was doing stand-up, and you always go on stage, and you’d try new stuff out. I’m a big rodeo fan, and I used to watch mesquite championship rodeo on Sundays. I’m a country kid, so I grew up in a small town in Southeast Nebraska. I did this rodeo cowboy, got kind of a laugh. So the next day, I changed it to a cable installer and it got a big laugh. I had a buddy of mine who had a morning show, and he said, “you’ve got to call our morning show, that’s funny. You should pretend you’re the cable guy.” So I called up. And I remember the first time — the first thing I ever said on the radio. I called up and I said, “Hey, Ron & Ron, what’s goin’ on, fellers. What’s goin’ on, fellers.” And they go, “Well, who is this?” I said, “It’s the cable guy. Y’all said y’all wanted that hookup down there, didn’t you? And they said, “Well, what’s your name?”
I didn’t really know. And I’m going, “Uh…Larry!” Oh. It’s Larry the Cable Guy? And it just caught on, and I started calling as Larry the Cable Guy, and then I got syndicated over in Orlando, which syndicated me into Tulsa and to Baltimore. I was a stand-up. I was still doing stand-up. But I was doing these calls while I did stand-up. I ended up getting syndicated, around the country, on 27 radio stations, getting up every morning, doing radio calls. 27 stations. All different times. I think I did 14 was the most I did in a day, but I’d do five days a week, for 13 years every day, and “get ‘er done” just started getting popular from the radio, and so then everybody just started calling me Larry. That wasn’t my name, but it was my radio name. And so it just kind of stuck. Kind of a nickname, more than anything else. That’s how Larry the Cable Guy came to be on stage, when I was doing a show in St. Petersburg. A buddy of mine owned a comedy club, I walked in, and it said on the billboard, “Dan Whitney, AKA Larry the Cable Guy,” and both shows sold out.
I said, “What’s going on, you got a convention here or something? I can’t find a place to park.” And they go, “No. They’re coming to see you.” And I said, “Wow. I didn’t know he was going to do that,” and I went on stage, and people started going, “Get ‘er done, get ‘er done.” And I couldn’t do my regular act. I went into Larry the Cable Guy, and (cheers!). Then if I came out of the act…I couldn’t follow it. I got off stage. The guy, Lester McCurdy, from McCurdy’s Comedy Club, said, “Can you do your whole show like that?” And I said, “Yeah. You know. I act like a redneck all day long, ’cause I is one.
It’s like what Jeff says — ’cause I is one.” And so he took my name off, and it said “Larry the Cable Guy.” I took the stage as Larry the Cable Guy, and then I started weeding out all of the other stuff that I had and I started rebooking dates as Larry the Cable Guy. And that’s how I was born. That was it. It was all completely by accident. I never thought it out. It just evolved into what it became, so that’s how it happened.”
I also loved how Larry shared with us his love of social media! If you don’t follow him, check out his Facebook and Twitter pages. He told us, “Social media is — it’s just great for getting out. It’s a good way to talk to your fans. My Facebook has over five million people on it, and I always keep that updated. I always keep stuff funny on it. You want people to come to your Facebook. It’s become your new website, you know. I have a website, Larrythecableguy.com. I don’t really keep it up because everybody is going to Facebook.
Everything on Twitter, I love, because Twitter is not as many people, and you can communicate with everybody. So, I mean I have almost 500,000 on Twitter. If you check it like I do all the time, I mean, when the kids go to bed, when my wife goes to bed, that’s when I pretty much just hang out on Twitter and talk to people. It’s fun, you know. It’s manageable, and I can generally talk to most people. Now, if I’m on there after something and you do something say, after my History Channel show, whenever that would air, there’d be 500 messages.
You can’t get to those. But, generally, if you check it once every hour and a half, you’re going to have 17, 18 messages. You can pretty much answer everybody. I think it’s awesome. I think it’s really cool that you can actually get responded to by a celebrity. I mean, if back in the day, when I was coming up if I could actually go online, and my favorite baseball players or my favorite actors would actually send me a response, I would be a fan for life. I think that’s the cool thing about social media, and I always try to stay engaged, as much as I can.“
I’ve been a huge fan of Nathan Fillion for years and was excited to hear he was voicing a part in Cars 3. He’s the voice of Sterling, a businesscar who becomes the new owner of Rust-eze and sponsor of Lightning McQueen.
Nathan shared with us how his love of Pixar is why he wanted to get involved with Cars 3, “What called me to this is an opportunity to work with Pixar. I’m not going to lie to you guys. I’ve been to the Pixar facility twice. I’ve seen every Pixar movie. I’ve seen the Pixar documentary four times. I am into Pixar. Nothing happens in a Pixar movie by accident. They tell the story, one pixel at a time. It’s very, very careful filmmaking, and it’s very methodically planned out, and to be a part of it, you know you’re going to be a part of a story well told, and it’s going to be beautiful, and it’s going to last. It’s going to be a story that lasts. So, over and above anything else, I will do anything for Pixar. And, point of fact, I actually did some janitorial work for them two weeks ago. I’m not picky.“
He also chimed in with his love of social media, telling us, “Engagement is a fantastic word. It’s a way to engage with your fan base, that doesn’t revolve around work or any publicity due. It’s stuff that you’re entirely in control of, so you can personalize it as you wish. You can share, you can be personal with it, you can share your private things, you’re entirely in control. But it is one-on-one. There’s nothing in between you and the fandom at that point, so you can engage with your fans, one-on-one, or just kind of get a general idea of what everybody is about, but I love that word. Engagement. You can engage with people. And I couldn’t do that when I was a kid. I would’ve been like, “William Shatner?!”
Isiah Whitlock Jr.
You may know Isiah from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit or VEEP but you definitely know him from The Wire where he has that famous line. Isiah voices River Scott in Cars 3 and he shared with us about being a voice in an animated film and more!
When asked about being in an animated movie, Isiah shared, “I always jump at the chance to do, you know, something different. Different characters. This opportunity came along and I was just thrilled about it. It was totally different. You know, I was in the booth by myself, with my own imagination, and I found it quite liberating. Just laying down the voice, and everything like that. To me, that’s kind of what keeps you going, is that you’re not always playing the same thing, over and over and over again.
Even when I’m doing that, I can always find something about the character that’s gonna be kind of interesting. So that’s what I try to do.“
Isiah also shared how he felt the first time he saw a screening of Cars 3, “I found it very emotional. I found myself tearing up a little bit, you know, and kept saying, “Okay. Think about something else. Think about something else.” Don’t start crying, you know. When they deal with change and aging and things like that and moving on, you know…That’s like my career!
I was glad I brought my sunglasses with me, so I could put those on, and pretend like I was just sitting cool in the movie theater. I did see it, and I found it just extremely emotional. I think the story’s going to be powerful.“
As I mentioned earlier, the mentor/mentee relationship is a heavy aspect in Cars 3 and Isiah shared with us about his mentor, “I had a mentor in college, and he had seen me in a play in college, and he was kind of like this nutty, crazy professor that everybody kind of stayed away from, but this guy pulled me aside and he says, “look, you know, I saw you in a play last night.” And he says, “I thought you were great. You got to get out of Minnesota, man. You got to go to New York, and you got to start knocking on doors.” And I thought, knocking on doors? What? Just going around to people’s apartments? Just knocking on doors? I took him literally. Then he said, “look at all of these monitors.” He said, “Someday we’re going to be able to talk to people and do our banking and — ” and I said “This guy is really nuts.”
The one thing he told me, “If you really want to be a great actor, you’ve got to start studying psychology. You’ve got to know the human condition. You’ve got to know how people tick, and how you can figure out all of these characters,” and so I thought, Okay, I’m gonna try that. And I studied psychology for about two years. And I just play a bunch of characters who’ve got problems. But it was some of the best advice I had ever gotten. And when people talk about mentorship, I always think about this guy, because I really did sort of learn about the human condition, and what makes people do what they do, and how they believe that, you know, they’re right in what they do. So, that was some of the best advice I’d ever gotten in my life.“
You might know Lea DeLaria from Orange is the New Black where she plays Boo but she has a long career as a singer, comedian and activist. She voices Miss Fritter in Cars 3 which also happens to be my son’s favorite character.
When asked why she wanted to voice Miss Fritter, Lea said, “Why would I want to be Miss Fritter? Have we seen her? She’s awesome. I mean, come on. Her stop sign is a buzz saw. She’s terrific. Also, I grew up where they do stock cars. I grew up where demo derby was a big deal. I grew up in a really small town on the very tip of Illinois that’s right by Kentucky. So that was a Friday night entertainment for me. So the idea of being the queen of the demolition derby? Awesome. And they let me say the high school that I went to, a shoutout to that. That’s the side of the bus is the high school that I went to. The people of Belleville, Illinois, which is a tiny little town, they’re gonna go nuts when they see that. It’s kind of awesome. When they came at me and said “do you want to do this?” I was like, “Yeah. I have a really good idea of how to play her.” And they were all in and, as was I, so, it was awesome.”
Lea also shared her take on social media, “I feel the same way these guys feel about engagement with my fans. I’m more over at Instagram. I go on Twitter more as an afterthought. You can go on social media, and see how it tears down. My fan base, because of Cars and Orange is now a much younger base than I used to have.
I’m a lot older than people realize, so they’re on Instagram. So I reach out a lot on Instagram, I post every day, I try to respond. Especially, they can direct-message you so only you can read it and no one else on Instagram. Politically for me, as an openly gay activist, I get a lot of people that DM me about problems, you know. Which I take very seriously. I try to keep up on it. I can’t do it every hour, every half hour. I actually have someone now who helps me with my social media, because it’s just gotten a little out of hand. But I think that it’s the best way to reach people.”
Above photos taken by MomStart.com.
Cars 3 in Theaters Now!
Cars 3 races into theaters THIS Friday, June 16th! You’ll want to bring the whole family because I know that kids – and adults – of all ages will love it.
Thank you so much to Disney and Pixar for bringing me to Anaheim for this fun event!