SEATTLE - Eleven years after Lightning McQueen first burned rubber on animated race tracks, he's back – along with the actor who gave him a voice.
"I like the blue eyes,” Owen Wilson said, looking at a life-size model of the car. “It's me!”
In Cars 3, Number 95 quickly learns he may be aging out of the sport he loves. Newer, sleeker models are moving in, winning, and taunting him.
Armie Hammer plays trash-talking rookie Jackson Storm.
"It's all those things that your whole life, your parents (have told you,) ‘Treat people nice, be respectful’ - you can just let them go for a second and be like, ‘I'm just gonna be a gashole,’” Hammer said.
Newcomer car Cruz Ramirez also moves into Lightning's life. A training car who always dreamed of racing, her backstory will be universally understood by anyone who's ever been told they're not good enough.
That includes the actress who plays her, Cristela Alonzo.
"I remember in high school, I had a guy, he was kind of like a bully - well, he wasn't kind of, he was a hell of a bully - and he made a comment about my smile and I stopped smiling because he did it in public and kids are cruel, and you start thinking about it all the time,” she said.
Actress Kerry Washington also joins the Cars world as a racing statistician named Natalie Certain.
Washington watched the movie with her mother and 3-year-old daughter and thinks the messages will resonate even with the youngest audiences.
“It's not that the young guys beat the old guys, or the girls beat the boys. It's actually that, when they come together, the old timer and the newcomer, the girl car and the boy car, the Latina character and the not Latina character, when they all come together, that's when they win,” she said. “When they make room for each other and kind of include each other in the journey, then they become a champion team."
Cars 3 is rated G and opens in theaters on June 16.
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