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About The Production
Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Studios are off to the races in "Cars 2” as star racecar Lightning McQueen (voice of Owen Wilson) and his best friend, the incomparable tow truck Mater (voice of Larry the Cable Guy), jump-start a new adventure to exotic new lands stretching across the globe.

The duo are joined by a hometown pit crew from Radiator Springs when they head overseas to support Lightning as he competes in the first-ever World Grand Prix, a race created to determine the world's fastest car. But the road to the finish line is filled with plenty of potholes, detours and bombshells when Mater is mistakenly ensnared in an intriguing escapade of his own: international espionage.

Mater finds himself torn between assisting Lightning McQueen in the high-profile race and "towing” the line in a top-secret mission orchestrated by master British spy Finn McMissile (voice of Michael Caine) and the stunning rookie field spy Holley Shiftwell (voice of Emily Mortimer). Mater's action-packed journey leads him on an explosive chase through the streets of Japan, Italy, France and England, trailed by his friends and watched by the whole world. The fast-paced fun includes a colorful new cast of cars, boats, trains and airplanes — complete with menacing villains and international racing competitors.

The release of "Cars 2,” Pixar's 12th full-length animated feature, coincides with the 25th anniversary of the celebrated studio and follows the release of the 2010 Oscar®-winning blockbuster, "Toy Story 3.” Academy Award®-winning filmmaker John Lasseter, the creative leader of Pixar since its inception and chief creative officer for Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, returns to the driver's seat as director of this latest "Cars” adventure. The film is co-directed by Brad Lewis (producer of Oscar®-winning "Ratatouille”), who spearheaded the intense research and initial story development until Lasseter was able to slip back into the director's chair. "Cars 2” is produced by visual-effects industry veteran Denise Ream (associate producer, "Up”; visual effects executive producer, "Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith”). Oscar®-winning composer Michael Giacchino ("The Incredibles,” "Up”) provides the electrifying score with a surf-rock-meets-spy-thriller flavor and a variety of global accents, evoking a sense of thrills, mystery and emotion. Brad Paisley, Robbie Williams, Weezer, French singer Bénabar and Japanese girl band Perfume lend their diverse musical talents to the film's soundtrack.

Adding to the fun and excitement of "Cars 2” is a stellar cast of actors that provides the voices for the cars, not to mention the boats and planes that this global adventure requires. Owen Wilson reprises his role as hotshot racecar Lightning McQueen, winner of four Piston Cups and now a leading contender in the World Grand Prix. Larry the Cable Guy provides the voice of Mater (proprietor of Tow Mater Towing and Salvage), Lightning McQueen's best friend and the heart and soul of Radiator Springs. Bonnie Hunt is back as Sally, the baby-blue Porsche 911 Carrera whose motor races for Lightning. Acclaimed actor Michael Caine makes his Pixar debut as Finn McMissile, a top British spy who mistakes Mater for an undercover American agent with a genius disguise. Emily Mortimer brings charm, cleverness and cachet as Holley Shiftwell, a rookie field spy who knows every trick in the manual. Versatile actor John Turturro gives a free-wheeling performance as Francesco Bernoulli, the world-renowned Italian racing champ who is Lightning's chief rival. Tony Shalhoub, Guido Quaroni, Paul Dooley, Cheech Marin, John Ratzenberger, Joe Mantegna, Peter Jacobson, Jason Isaacs, Eddie Izzard, Franco Nero and Vanessa Redgrave also lend their vocal talents. Real-life Formula 1 racing champ Lewis Hamilton and NASCAR racer Jeff Gordon add a touch of authenticity with their cameos in the film.

"Cars 2” is presented where available in Disney Digital 3D™ and uses the latest technical advances to maximum advantage in giving audiences a front-row seat (as well as a car's eye view) for all the racing action, and stunning global settings. Pixar's phenomenal technical team also takes the medium to exciting new heights, utilizing state-of-the-art tools for modeling, lighting, shading and rendering.

Director Can't Resist the Race or the Spy Chase

After completing "Cars,” John Lasseter knew he wanted to tell another story with these characters that both he and audiences had come to love. And the ideas for "Cars 2” were taking shape long before production on the film began.

"During ‘Cars,'” says Lasseter, "we were developing a sequence in which Lightning McQueen was going to take Sally, the Porsche, on a first date. And it was going to be at a drive-in movie, because that's very car-oriented. Then we thought, ‘What movie is playing?' I love spy movies and I thought it would be so much fun to see what a spy movie would be in the car world. We came up with this character named Finn McMissile who was going to be starring in this little movie-within-a-movie.

"I am a huge fan of spy movies,” continues Lasseter. "I grew up on the TV show ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.' and my five sons and I love watching the spy movies together. We must have seen the ‘Bourne' series hundreds of times. And so even though the sequence changed and Lightning and Sally went cruising on their first date instead, I never forgot the idea of Finn McMissile and the spy movie. I thought, ‘There's a lot of potential there.'”

Then in 2006, while on a global publicity tour promoting the international release of "Cars,” Lasseter knew that these culturally diverse foreign countries would be the perfect setting for the "Cars” characters to become embroiled in a spy story.

"It's exciting to take Mater around the world and put him in situations that are totally unique to that country,” says Lasseter. "This is where the spark of the second part of the story came from as I was traveling. I had all these characters in my head, and I found myself constantly laughing, imagining what Mater would do in these different situations. How would he handle driving on the wrong side of the road in London? What would it be like to have Mater lost in the maze of streets in Tokyo, with no English street signs? And how would he function in Italy, where the traffic signals are just a mere suggestion of what you might want to do?”

Apart from the chance to take the characters all over the world, and explore the world of international racing and espionage, the thing that appealed most to Lasseter was the heart and humor inherent in the characters and the story.

"The humor in ‘Cars 2' comes from the personality of the characters,” says the director, "and seeing them in interesting, fish-out-of-water situations. But at its emotional core, the movie is about Lightning McQueen and Mater's friendship, which gets tested in a very different and interesting way. It's about how the strength of a friendship can be tested. What may be solid in one place can appear much different in another. Put a friendship to the test under a different set of circumstances and in a different setting — how true and deep is this friendship, really?”

Lasseter is particularly fond of Mater. "Mater is such a special character; he's honest and completely straightforward and tells it exactly like it is,” says the director. "He's just fun and lovable. When a character as innocent as that discovers that people are not laughing with him, like he's always thought his entire life, but laughing at

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