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Richard Petty on Cars

Published June 6, 2006 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Walt Disney Pictures
Richard Petty as 'The King' in Cars Richard Pett as "The King"
They couldn’t make a movie about racing cars that drive themselves without at least one NASCAR legend. Richard Petty plays “The King,” the old champion on whom Lightning McQueen has his sights in the big race. Since John Lasseter was such a racing fan, he incorporated some of Petty’s own legend into the story.

Richard Petty on Pixar's Cars

“If you’re a real racer then you can go through a bunch of the stuff that happened in the movie that you would pick up on as being true stuff or something around true, that started with the truth anyway,” Petty said. “If you’re not a true race fan then it just sort of goes past you. The very last race that I actually ran, I crashed. So, it’s in the movie. If you watch the movie you don’t put that together but the racing people will. There’s a bunch of different things in the movie that I seen that relate to things like that.”

The King is a Superbird, which was perfect for Petty. “I think, if you look at me and look at the Superbird, it looks like a race car with the wing and all that stuff on it. It’s moreso than any stock car that’s ever been so that joins me and racing and the car together as a one unit deal.”

As a veteran racer who believes Hollywood has never done right by his sport, Petty was impressed that Cars was so easy to watch. “What fascinated me about the movie was I said, ‘Okay, I’m going to go watch a movie and they have cars and trucks and they’re going to be talking to each other’ and you sit there for a couple of minutes and say to yourself, ‘How dumb can I be to sit here and watch cars talk to each other?’ Then all of a sudden you’re right dead in the middle of the movie, man, and you don’t realize that they are characters, that they aren’t real people because when you go away, when the movie is over, you remember the doctor and different ones and what they are and what they look like. You would have done the same thing if they had of been true life people.”

As for the problems with movies like Days of Thunder and Driven, Petty says, “It’s really hard to make a movie about racing without it being too much racing. Then, if they get away from the racing, it’s too much away from racing so they’ve never had a movie that I think had a real good balance. If you’re making a racing movie, do you make it about racing or make it around racing? I don’t think they’ve got that figured out yet. But, it’s the same with any sport. A football movie or a baseball movie, I’ve never seen one that’s the real deal unless you’ve got a history deal, a biography and just go through and this is what the guy done.”

See the closest thing to the real deal with Cars on June 9th.

For the trailers, posters, promotional images, movie stills, Super Bowl spot, clips, synopsis and additional movie info, go to the Cars Movie Page.

Stay tuned for updates.

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Compiled By (Sources)
Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Walt Disney Pictures

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