In conjunction with the New York International Toy Fair, Disney Consumer Products held a Cars 2 panel, where they spoke about the film, a few new characters, and (of course) the more than 300 toys that will tie in to Pixar’s upcoming movie. Film stars Michael Caine and Emily Mortimer were also on hand to discuss Pixar and their time spent shooting the film. I have kept this article largely spoiler-free, but there are a few plot details (nothing substantial) that are discussed.
[UPDATE 1: Added a gallery of high-resolution photos from the media event at the bottom of the post.]
[UPDATE 2: Added a video recap of yesterday’s event below.]
To lead off the event, the presenters discussed the success of Cars products. Annually, merchandise related to the film generates an average of about $2 billion, a staggering figure considering the first film was released several years ago. The secrets to the success of the merchandise? – the same that Pixar focuses on when creating its films: story, character, action, and heart.
While there were no new clips from the film that were shared today, the most exciting video was that of Cars 2 director John Lasseter, who sent a videotaped message from Emeryville. He apologized for not being able to make it to the event, but shared some of his thoughts:
- He said Cars 2 “is not a parody of a spy movie. [It] IS a spy movie.” Considering Pixar pulled off a fantastic “prison-break sequence” in Toy Story 3, it will be exciting to see the studio tackle a spy-centric theme
- One of his favorite new characters is Francesco Bernoulli, who he says “is full of himself”
- John Turturro was the number one choice to voice Francesco, so the studio was ecstatic when the actor agreed to play the role
Keeping the focus on the new characters, actress Emily Mortimer, who plays Holley Shiftwell, then took the stage. She discussed her love of Pixar and her character:
- Emily said that she is “so into Pixar” – so much so that her husband thinks she has a crush on John Lasseter
- She highlighted her fondness of the studio, stating that “Everything should be run by Pixar,” and “If only everybody made movies the way they do.” She also spoke about those who work at the animation studio are “perfectionists” and very “collaborative”
- (Small spoiler alert) In the film, Holley Shiftwell is on her first field mission. The character also seems to have a bit of a connection with good ol’ Mater
Next up was Sir Michael Caine, who was as charming in person as he is on the big screen. Walking in to thunderous applause, the actor went on to talk about his respect for Pixar and how he landed the role:
- He led off by speaking of his relatively new path of playing an animated character, and how he realized that Pixar creates fantastic “cartoons”
- Michael wanted to play the character of Finn McMissile as soon as he heard the name. He is excited about the spy-theme of the film
- He said that Finn McMissile is incredibly charming (ASIDE: how could he not be with Michael Caine voicing him?!)
- He discussed how he took a look at the technical aspects of creating an animated film at Pixar, and how he would go crazy, as the computers “take forEVER”
- He just watched an unfinished cut of the film yesterday and he loved what he saw on screen
The two exceptional actors seemed to be genuinely excited about the film, and from their time on stage, they were struck by how much Pixar has done to create a high-quality film. Those who have been saying that Cars 2 is merely a cash-grab by Disney and Pixar seem to be wrong, as all the evidence points to another film where the studio rigorously worked on releasing another great one. Of course, we will not know how good the film is until the finished movie hits theaters in June, but we do know that Pixar is working their butt off to provide audiences around the world with an excellent film. It may just be time to get excited.
Stay tuned over the next few days for continued coverage of this exciting event!
UPDATE 1 (2/14/11 5:45 PM): Check out the gallery of high-resolution photos below.
UPDATE 2 (2/15/11 5:45 PM): Here is a video recap that Disney Living released that recaps the great event. It also features interviews with Michael Caine and Emily Mortimer.