Route 66 News

A few inside details from “Cars 2″

Author Michael Wallis, who voiced the Sheriff of Radiator Springs in Disney-Pixar’s “Cars” and served as the film’s Route 66 consultant, recently completed voicework on the sequel “Cars 2.”

Although he hasn’t seen a final edit of the film slated for theaters June 24, he revealed a few tidbits about it:

— Wallis is “almost positive” the fictional Route 66 town of Radiator Springs will be featured in the beginning and likely at the end. Most of the plot takes place overseas, where Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater inadvertently become involved in a spy caper. Roadies were concerned that Radiator Springs wouldn’t be shown at all in the new film.

— Many of the roles in the first film will be vastly reduced in “Cars 2,” including Wallis’ own Sheriff character. A bunch of new characters will be introduced, which almost certainly will set off a new multimillion-dollar frenzy of buying “Cars” memorabilia.

— Wallis confirmed the first film’s Doc Hudson character, portrayed by Oscar-winning actor Paul Newman, was retired for “Cars 2″ in the wake of Newman’s death in 2008. However, Fillmore will reappear in the new film, despite the death of comedian George Carlin the same year. Wallis said Pixar found an actor whose voice sounds almost exactly like Carlin’s.

— For the eventual release of “Cars 2″ on DVD and Blu-ray, Pixar is producing a short documentary about the impact the original “Cars” made on the real-life Route 66. Production will begin in the coming weeks, Wallis said.

“(Director) John Lasseter continues to be surprised by the impact ‘Cars’ has had on the road,” Wallis said. “It delights him.”

Wallis says he’s lobbying to have the Pixar documentary crew visit 4 Women on the Route in Galena, Kan., which displays the original 1951 International boom truck that inspired Mater; and the Rock Cafe in Stroud, Okla., owned by Dawn Welch, who inspired Sally Carrera.

(Image from “Cars 2″ courtesy of Pixar)