Cars 3: Armie Hammer Says Film Goes Back To Original Roots of Cars And Impressions of Jackson Storm and Pixar

– by Gig Patta

Vroom! Vroom! Ka-Ching! Pow!

CARS 3 is racing back into theaters nationwide today.

In this fun-loving animated film, it features Lightning McQueen who refuses retirement in the races as young up-and-coming racers have better engines and with better car designs.

Here’s the official synopsis:

Blindsided by a new generation of blazing-fast racers, the legendary Lightning McQueen is suddenly pushed out of the sport he loves. To get back in the game, he will need the help of an eager young race technician with her own plan to win, inspiration from the late Fabulous Hudson Hornet, and a few unexpected turns. Proving that #95 isn’t through yet will test the heart of a champion on Piston Cup Racing’s biggest stage!

The voice cast includes Owen Wilson, Cristela Alonzo, Chris Cooper, Nathan Fillion, Larry the Cable Guy and Armie Hammer.

LRM had an exclusive interview with Armie Hammer earlier this week and we discussed extensively on everything Pixar and his character Jackson Storm.

CARS 3 is currently playing in theaters nationwide today.

Read the interview transcript below.

LRM: Great film It was reminisce of the original CARS movie. I wanted to hear it from you on why you were attracted to this movie.

Armie Hammer: Because, it was a Pixar movie. That’s foremost. I wanted to see on what’s behind the curtain and I did. I got to go up to the Pixar campus. I got to meet all the animators, all the engineers and everybody who made the Pixar movies so special.

I am also a huge fan of the CARS franchise. I loved the first CARS so intensively. I love road trips. I love cars. I love Route 66. This movie was just tailor made for me. It really gets back to on what CARS was about. I just love that.

LRM: Do you have children? Is that also another draw to this franchise?

Armie Hammer: I do have kids. I have two kids. It’s really nice that it’s a movie not only my kids can see, but also can interact with. They got to watch the movie. They could also go to Disneyland to see the cars and meet the characters in Cars Land. It’s really an immersive enjoyable experience to see the movie and then go bump up against it.

LRM: How was their reaction when they saw the movie—with you in fact?

Armie Hammer: They loved the movie more than the fact that I was in it. My daughter didn’t really care that much. At one point, she said, “That’s your voice.” I said, “Yeah! Yeah, yeah.” And then she goes, “Oh, okay.” [Armie Hammer shrugs his shoulders] And then she enjoyed the rest of the movie.

LRM: How did they approached you with the character of Jackson Storm or did you try to audition for something else at the time?

Armie Hammer: Basically, my agent got a call from Pixar. They asked, “Does Armie want to be in a Pixar movie? That’s all we’re going to tell you.” We were like, “Yeah! Hell, yeah!” I said yes and then they said they wanted me to come up to Pixar.

We went up there to Northern California and showed me everything. They showed me the mockups of the character. They showed me the clay models. They really had it all planned and done. They had the boards for the movie and what they had envisioned. It was amazing.

LRM: What was your first initial impression when you saw Jackson Storm with the models, pictures or anything else?

Armie Hammer: That is a…..HANDSOME CAR. It’s really an amazing looking car. You see the one at Disneyland in person. It’s so sleek. It’s so cool. I want to put an engine in it and drive it around.

LRM: Did you get any model toys to keep?

Armie Hammer: The fun part about doing a Disney movie or Pixar movie is that they are bountiful in their merch.

LRM: So how did you want to develop the voice for Jackson Storm? Did you have to tweak your voice a little bit?

Armie Hammer: No. They were very clear in the beginning. At the first recording session, I asked, “So what do we want for the voice?” They responded, “We wanted it to sound like you. We want it to be you.”

Lightning McQueen sounds just like Owen Wilson. Cristela [Alonzo] sounds exactly like Cruz Ramirez. They don’t want you coming in to put on a voice. It’s what helps with the Pixar movies. It feels so authentic. It helps you to relate to all of the characters.

No one is putting on crazy air. No one is doing anything different. They want it to be you.

LRM: Did you think that your voice easily portrays an up-and-coming cocky race car? Does my voice sound like this?

Armie Hammer: Uh, no. I didn’t even care. I was just happy to do a Pixar movie.

LRM: Now is this your first animated film?

Armie Hammer: Yeah, first feature.

LRM: How was it like doing voice acting for yourself then?

Armie Hammer: It’s very different from film acting. It’s the same way stage acting is very different from film acting. Film acting is very different from television acting. They’re all different muscles in terms of acting.

Obviously, a lot of things had been done in terms of the production of the movie before the actors get on set. This is even more of an exaggerated example—by the time you get into the sound booth—they have already spent years working on it and getting it ready. You just walk in, do your job and that’s it. Hopefully, I did a good job.

LRM: How does it feel that you weren’t really interacting with anybody by being in the sound booth? You probably didn’t really meet with the rest of the cast until the red carpet premiere.

Armie Hammer: Owen [Wilson] and I had worked on a project before. Most of the cast I’ve met was during press like for this, which is kind of funny. But, it’s a lot of fun. It’s interesting to go into a sound booth and laying down lines to not knowing on what the other person is doing. You put so much time putting down a variety of lines. They just mix and match to make it work.

LRM: How was it working with a first-time director Brian Fee? Was it much more helpful that he’s coming from a different perspective?

Armie Hammer: I don’t know. I can’t really answer that question. I can tell you it was amazing to be working with Brian, with Kevin [Reher] and with everybody.

When you’re going into a recording booth and doing a Pixar movie, there’s a giant screen inside with a video feed of everyone at Pixar. You can see their faces on the monitor. It’s very Orwellian. They’re talking amongst themselves and then talking to you and then talking back to themselves. It’s really collaborative.

Brian is so great about that. He let in to do my job and say my lines. Sometimes I would be, “What if I do it like this or say it like that?” He humored me. “For sure! Why not?” He may cut everything. But, he’s so collaborative with you.

Not to be biased, he has done a great job on this film. I’m very excited to see what else he does.

LRM: How is the process like? There’s probably not a lot of lines, but you have to say the lines like four or five dozen times.

Armie Hammer: Yes, definitely. It’s also a way on how it works on animated movie is that they have all the scenes they have to animate, then render and blah….blah….blah. Once it’s ready and then now you can voice this scene. You put this voice down. They might later in finishing up the rest of the movie, they’re always trying to hone it. No matter what.

They would realize, “Oh, wait. We have a hole in the script or what about this thing? They would get rid of that scene or add another scene….blah…..blah.” And that whole scene you’ve worked for a long time would be gone. Then you’ve start doing a whole another scene.

It’s as much as coming up with brand new stuff than it is trying to perfect old stuff.

LRM: What is the most difficult thing you had to do on this project? You’ve done a whole lot of movies, but animation is a whole different animal.

Armie Hammer: It’s a lot easier to be honest. It’s not to say it’s not without its challenges. I’m sure Owen and Cristela had to go into [the studio] a lot more, but they’re really prevalent through the whole movie.

I went in there less than ten times…..total for recording sessions. Each session is about five hours each. That’s not a lot of time.

LRM: Do you want to do this again?

Armie Hammer: For sure! In a heartbeat. Yeah.

LRM: When we are saying to do it again…..are we saying for another Pixar movie or any animated movie?

Armie Hammer: Both. Definitely both.

LRM: Good Answer. Here’s a final question. And you could be creative with this one. A lot of people like to talk about the Pixar magic. What does Pixar magic mean to you? How would you definite it.

Armie Hammer: I can define it on what it means for myself. The majesty and magic of a Pixar movie is from the fact of hard work from a massive team of geniuses. They can create a movie that has so many different layers to it.

My two-and-a-half-year-old daughter loves this movie. It’s guaranteed that she loved it for a very different reason. Eva, Evelyn, you, me or anybody else liked it for a different reason. They managed to layer the movie to small fun things or to deal with big issues. They had deal with it in a light-hearted fun way.

You can take the whole family to watch this movie and each person will walk away with a different reason on why they loved it. I think that’s why everyone likes Pixar. Who doesn’t love UP? Who doesn’t love THE INCREDIBLES? They keep on making these movies that are so good.

As an adult now, I really love the way how they made Lightning McQueen gracefully moved his life from one stage of his life to the next. For my daughter, I loved the Cruz Ramirez character for the empowerment presented to her. For Jackson Storm, there are all these young actors coming up now. I was once a young actor coming up too. Now I hope they will be successful and win with dignity.

There is something in there for everybody.

LRM: Terrific! Great answer. I appreciate this conversation.

Armie: Likewise. Thank you.

CARS 3 is currently playing in theaters nationwide today.

Source: Exclusive to LRM

Film, Interviews, LRM Exclusives Jackson Storm, Cars 3, Armie Hammer