Pixar's hotly anticipated "Cars 2" is set to hit theaters on June, 24, and "Cars 2" reviews are starting to come in, so we spoke with Co-Director Brad Lewis about the worldly inspiration behind the Cars Universe taken from destinations Japan, Italy, France, Germany and England. We present to you, the world "car-ified".
Lightning McQueen and the cast of Cars characters returns in Cars 2 to take on cars of other nations in the World Grand Prix.
Taking McQueen and crew on a race around the globe required loads of traveling by the directors and production team as they had to determine how to "car-ify" iconic locations. They couldn't just do a carbon copy of the Eiffel Tower or Tokyo's Ginza District, they had to completely transform them into the Cars Universe.
When AOL Travel asked Co-Director Brad Lewis how they determined what locations would be featured, he explained that each country chosen had to have a rich car culture (ie, these are some seriously car crazy countries and regions) to draw upon as well as recognizable world landmarks that would lend themselves to the Cars' world and character interaction and exploration.
Multiple research trips were needed by production crews with four Pixar crew heading to locations on scouting trips, followed by either members of a story and design team on a second trip. The trips had to be "incredibly efficient" and lasted any where from 10 - 14 days with a couple months of prep time. To organize these trips Pixar had to find the right mix of locals and help from the Disney International Group.
There was also inspiration from previous Pixar projects and overseas trips. Brad Lewis had spent a lot of time in Japan pumping the first Cars and in France working on "Ratatouille."
We tried to get a few Easter Eggs out of Brad, but he's used to getting pressed by the press for tidbits of "special" info, and was easily able to dodge our question.
We hit him with one last tough one: Pick your favorite destination from your travels.
Brad answered, "I can't do it. I can't pick a favorite" and proceeded to say great things about Italy. "I love Italy, I love it. The cars, the food, the people," he said. Japan, he added, "is just rich in culture and contrasts." And Germany: "Warm people. Giving. And of course they have Oktoberfest."
Smooth Brad, very smooth.
Check out the Gallery below for more insights about car-ifying the world from the Co-Director of Pixar's Cars 2.