The International World of Cars 2
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."
(Not) Lost In Translation
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.