If you were listening closely to the full trailer for Cars 3, you might have recognized the voice of Paul Newman had been snuck in there, and if you know the original Cars movie well, then you probably recognized that the line you heard was nowhere in the original Cars movie. It turns out that we’ll be hearing a lot more of Doc Hudson in Cars 3 as well. How is that possible? Apparently, there’s actually a lot more “Doc Hudson” dialogue available to Pixar, because when Newman recorded his dialogue back then, John Lasseter never stopped recording. I recently had a chance to sit down with Cars 3 director Brian Fee and he told me where the new dialogue came from.
The Paul Newman voice you hear in that trailer is not actually in the film. There’s other Paul Newman stuff in the film. That was for the trailer. But we have lots of Paul Newman in the movie which was because when John [Lasseter] was recording Paul Newman in Cars 1 John always kept the tape [running]…we were always recording and Paul would tell stories in between takes and John just like [twirling motion with hand] ‘keep it going.’ We had 28 hours of Paul Newman stuff that we were able to listen to and repurpose.
Let that sink in. There are 28 hours of tapes of Paul Newman just sitting around and telling stories. Oh to have been a fly on the wall in those days. I asked if they could just release all of that on CD for fans to listen to. I’m certainly hoping we might get at least some of it as an extra on the future Blu-Ray release.
I was lucky enough to attend a media day for Cars 3 last month and, as several members of the Cars 3 team spoke about how the relationship between Lightning McQueen and Doc Hudson was a key part of the new movie, I asked exactly how that would be possible, since Paul Newman passed away in 2008. That’s when I learned about all the recording that had been done back then.
It not entirely clear exactly how Doc Hudson will be used in Cars 3. It would seem that the movie will contain flashbacks but what we don’t know is if those flashbacks will be of events that we never saw during or after the original Cars movie, or from even earlier. Cars 3 will contain four racing legend characters who knew and worked with the Hudson Hornet back in the day, so it’s possible that we might even hear the voice of a young Paul Newman in some scenes. How is that possible? Writer Mike Rich told me that they also went to the Newman Foundation to get additional recordings of the late actor, so there’s even more for that the film was able to work with.
Doc Hudson isn’t the first character in the Cars films to have their voice actor pass on. The Radiator Springs character of Fillmore was voiced by George Carlin the first film, but has been done by another voice since then. Cars 3 producer Kevin Reher informed me that using another voice for Doc Hudson was simply never an option. It was an edict from up on high.
We didn’t want to do a sound alike, and John [ Lasseter] was like, ‘you’re not doing a sound alike for Paul Newman, so figure it out’
It appears that they did figure it out. We’re looking forward to seeing Doc Hudson again, and saying a proper goodbye, when Cars 3 comes out this June.