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Cheech Marin on Cars

Published June 7, 2006 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Images property of Disney.
Cheech Marin Cheech Marin
John Lasseter knows what he’s looking for when he’s making his Pixar movies. Especially with Cars, because he’s a car fanatic. So he and Cheech Marin had words when it came to designing Marin’s character, Ramon.

Cars with Cheech


“John and I had a long conversation about what year the car was,” Marin said. “I said, ‘Well, it has to be a Chevy if it's going to be a low rider.’ I wanted a '58 because that was my dream car. And he says, ‘But the look of the film was more the tailfin. A '59 came out with tail’ so I said okay, so we settled on '59 because it kind of went with the movie.”

That’s what it takes to please John Lasseter, but audience don’t need to know that much detail about cars to enjoy the movie. “I don't think so. I think you just have to be into a heartfelt story, which is what this is. It's character driven and story driven rather than the particulars of NASCAR. But if you know anything about NASCAR it really helps.”

Ramon is one of the many unique characters in the town of Radiator Springs, a forgotten town on route 66 bypassed by the new interstate. Marin could relate to his personality because he remembers the low riders in his day.


Cars Cars

Cars Cars


Cars Cars

Cars Cars

Cars Cars

“The low-riders for me were the coolest guys. I hung out with a lot of different social sets, but the low-riders, a couple of my friends were low-riders and it was just the coolest. But there's a certain cool factor that comes out of going low and slow, it's like you know, low, powerful gear, you know. There's this joke in Mexico we tell them, ‘Run, run there's a big catastrophe and the things going…’ [They just say], ‘Yeah, okay’” There's a certain 'in control' factor and that comes out of parading horses, and the low-rider is the next eventual step from that. But it was cool. You know they had all the coolest sounds, and chicks dug it.”

But Ramon has a lot of Cheech Marin in him too. “This character had a lot of energy to him. He was very positive and he was almost like a salesman because he's the inferior/exterior guy in town. And he was a lover. I think the most salient characteristic is that he was a lover because he was in love with his wife and he geared his life towards that, so that kind of kept coming out.”

Cars comes to theatres on June 9th.

For movie stills, posters, promo images, trailers, more interviews and more movie info, go to the Cars Movie Page.

Stay tuned for updates.


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Fred Topel
Sources: Images property of Disney.
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