Star racecar Lightning McQueen and the incomparable tow truck Mater take their friendship to exciting new places in Cars 2 when they head overseas to compete in the first-ever World Grand Prix to determine the world's fastest car. But the road to the championship is filled with plenty of potholes, detours, and hilarious surprises when Mater gets caught up in an intriguing adventure of his own: international espionage.
Cars 2 continues the unlikely best-friendship of Lightning McQueen and Mater, and also required the tow truck to drive the film’s action-adventure plotline. “What would Mater do?” became the mantra for Pixar’s creative team as the story entered each new locale. The character of Finn McMissile was revived from a discarded scene in Cars, in which the ultracool spy car starred in the drive-in movie Sally and McQueen were attending.
In the now-popular tourist destination of Radiator Springs, the rusty old tow truck Mater has a number of roles, including proprietor of Tow Mater Towing and Salvage, grand storyteller, and the heart and soul of the town. But Mater’s favorite title is best friend to Lightning McQueen. Mater values each and every dent he’s earned on his escapades with Lightning over the years, and anxiously awaits further fun with his friend when Lightning returns with his latest Piston Cup.
Number 95 Lightning McQueen is still a hotshot race car, but his rookie days are past him. Now a permanent resident of Radiator Springs, Lightning has become a bona fide worldwide celebrity as winner of four Piston Cups.
After his latest win, Lightning returns home to enjoy life in the slow lane for a while with sweetheart Sally, best friend Mater and the rest of his Radiator Springs family. His off-season is unexpectedly cut short when Mater inadvertently prompts Lightning to enter the World Grand Prix, a high profile, three-part exhibition race that will take him around the globe.
Francesco Bernoulli grew up in the shadow of the famous Monza racecourse in Italy, where he and his friends would sneak onto the track and race the famous Pista di Alta Velocita bank turn. He was an instant winner on the amateur circuit and soon became an international Formula Racer champion. The ladies love Francesco’s open wheels, youngsters look up to his winning spirit, and fellow racers envy his speed.
Finn McMissile is a master British spy. Though charming and eloquent, it’s his stealth maneuvering, intelligence, and years in the field that enable him to thwart unexpected attacks from bad guys and make quick
Holley Shiftwell is a beautiful young British desk agent turned rookie field spy stationed in Tokyo. Well educated and sharp, she knows every trick in the book—or rather, she relies on every trick in the spy manual. She’s armed with the latest state-of-the-art spy equipment imaginable, from hidden cameras and concealed weapons to a telescoping utility arm and a holographic
Professor Z, aka The Professor, is an internationally wanted weapons designer in a small, sophisticated German package. He's a brilliant—but mad—monocle-wearing scientist who's plotting to sabotage the World Grand Prix. Though his true motive is unclear, Professor Z is willing to do whatever it takes to eliminate all obstacles and keep the “project” on schedule.
Sir Miles Axlerod is a former oil baron who has sold off his fortune, converted himself into an electric vehicle, and devoted his life to finding the renewable, clean-burning energy source of the future—ultimately discovering what he believes is the fuel everyone should be using. Axlerod is also the creator of the World Grand Prix, a three-country race that attracts the world’s top athletes. But the race is really an excuse to show off his new wonder-fuel, Allinol.
Acer has always felt like an outcast in the car world. The beat-up green AMC Pacer joined forces with fellow “lemon” cars as henchmen for the devious Professor Z, whose clandestine mission is to wreak havoc at the highly visible World Grand Prix. Acer must hunt down the American and British secret agents who’ve stolen crucial information about Professor Z’s underhanded plot—his primary target just happens to be Mater, who’s been mistaken for a spy. Acer tries very hard to be a tough guy, but he’s overeager compared to his no-nonsense accomplice Grem.
Grem is a dented, rusty orange AMC Gremlin. After years of being dismissed for his design, even being called a “lemon,” Grem has a big chip on his fender that has led him to the underworld of international espionage. As a henchman for a villainous boss, Professor Z, Grem and his partner-in-crime Acer are trying to sabotage the World Grand Prix and the famous race cars competing in it.
Known as the “World’s Greatest Rally Car,” #6 Raoul ÇaRoule was born in Alsace, France. A restless soul, Raoul joined the famous Cirque des Voitures French circus where he learned Gymkhana—a graceful, drift-filled motorsport that taught him pinpoint timing and an unparalleled ability to navigate tricky courses with ease. He’s the first car to ever win nine consecutive rallies. Raoul is confident he can use his rally experience to pull ahead of his fellow World Grand Prix racers during the touchy dirt sections of the three courses, especially with his fans in the stands waving banners that read “ÇaRoule Ca-Rules!”
Siddeley is a state-of-the-art British twin-engine spy jet. Measuring 176 feet from nose to tail with an impressive 157-foot wingspan, the super sleek, silver-bodied Siddeley streaks through international skies at Mach 1 speeds. Outfitted with all the latest in high-tech spy equipment including cloaking technology, defensive weaponry, and afterburners, Siddeley is Finn McMissile’s steadfast partner in fighting crime around the globe.
The safety and simplicity of Radiator Springs quickly gave way to the glamorous hotspots of international racing. The challenge was finding a way to caricature and "car-ify" each country. “By caricaturing I think of it as celebrating,” said Production Designer Harley Jessup. “Our approach is to show those locations in the most beautiful way we can."
With over 45 translations, the creators of Cars 2 were faced with the monumental challenge of interpreting the films original language (English) to a host of divergent cultures. This task required that the filmmakers use a "idiomatic adaptation," which would allow for the original English's subtleties, gags and plot twists to resonate for each unique language.
“I really wanted to start off with something that was the complete opposite of what the audience would expect from the sequel to Cars,” said Director John Lasseter. “People are expecting to see Lightning McQueen, Mater, stock car racing, Radiator Springs, Route 66, the Southwest…but instead, the first thing you see is ocean. And then there’s a boat. And out in the middle of the ocean, there’s a little car riding on this boat and he’s looking for another car. You’re thinking, ‘Wait a minute—what’s
going on here?!'”
Setting the tone for the film’s fictional World Grand Prix, the opening race in Tokyo took inspiration from Singapore’s Formula One night race. “Having the Tokyo race take place at night let us showcase a really rich and beautiful range of light sources, from glowing lanterns to the amazing neon signs downtown to the chaos of light reflecting on the cars themselves,” said Director of Photography for Lighting,
After adapting the Grand Prix races to the real cities of Tokyo and London, the filmmakers decided to create the Italian Riviera town of Porto Corsa from whole cloth. Though fictional, Porto Corsa proudly displays the influences of Vernazza, Genoa, Positano, Monte Carlo, and Portofino. “We wanted it to be our love letter to European racing and to Italy,” explained Co-Director Brad Lewis.
After jettisoning plans for a 24-hour endurance race through Paris, the filmmakers gave the City of Light a more mysterious role. Inspired by classic action-thriller films, they used Paris for a chase veering away from the postcard imagery of the usual lush travelogue backdrop. The Pixar team found inspiration in vintage photos of Paris’s old central market, Les Halles, to create an unexpected setting for the black
London provided the Cars 2 art team’s biggest challenge, requiring over 50 miles of city streets and thousands of uniquely "car-ified" buildings exhibiting a wide variety of architectural styles. Along with celebrated landmarks like Big Ben and Buckingham Palace, the filmmakers got to make distinctively British characters out of such revered vehicles as Range Rovers, Jaguars, Minis, and the London double-decker bus.
A colorscript is a sequence of small pastel drawings or paintings used to emphasize color in each scene and establish a film's
Given the film’s multiple real-world locations, the Cars 2 team fashioned separate palettes to capture the iconic atmosphere of each city along with the changing mood of the story, from the dazzling contrasts of Tokyo at night to the sun-drenched warmth of the Italian Riviera.