Always a fun chat, Owen Wilson talks to Mindfood about reprising his role as Lightening McQueen in the hit franchise, Cars, raising two young sons, and what he was like as a kid.
The first Cars came out in 2006 so this has been a franchise you’ve been involved with for more than a decade. How much did you enjoy Cars 3 and how happy are you that Lightening McQueen is back?
I was excited to hear that they were doing another one. I was pumped up and I think with having two little kids now, it’s exciting for me just to get a little street cred from those guys. They were at the premiere with me the other night and they loved the movie (laughs).
A big theme of the movie is about maturing and becoming a mentor. In which way did this storyline strike a chord in your own life? Are you more mature these days?
Yeah, I feel like nowadays I definitely tend to play a role where I’m a father more than a member of a fraternity (laughs). I think those days are behind me. And in the movie we see that even Lightning McQueen, even the animated world isn’t immune from the ravages of aging.
We see with Lightening McQueen that he’s not as fast as he used to be. Do you remember that moment when you realised you were not as invincible or as fast as you used to be?
I definitely notice with my 6 year old and 3 year old I need to do some stretching before pillow fighting (laughs) otherwise I’m liable to throw my back out. I think it happens so slowly that you don’t quite notice it and you begin to hear yourself saying stuff or thinking stuff that you would have heard your parents say.
What’s life like with a 6 and a 3 year old?
It’s definitely it’s fun but it’s tiring. At the premiere the other day when I was going through press lines I had been given a little green card and I just stuck in my pocket. During the movie I gave it to the 3 year old and the next thing the 6 year old is, ‘Yeah? Where’s mine?’ Then we had to deal with that little meltdown. Sometimes it feels like I’m like Kissinger trying to negotiate between war and country. Luckily they get along for the most part pretty well. We call the 3-year-old And Me because he wants to do everything that his brother does.
What were you like as a kid?
Well, you know, you don’t end up at military school at 16 because you’re a great student (laughs) so I was kind of mischievous as a kid but I wasn’t like a juvenile delinquent, much more sort of Tom Sawyer type trouble. I loved movies as a kid and my dad was great about taking us to movies but looking back he took us to see “Scarface” when I was 14 or something so I don’t know if my mom knew our outing that day (laughs). I loved sports growing up in Dallas, the Dallas Cowboys. That was a big deal.
Did you face any bullies at school?
I was lucky that I had an older brother who was pretty tough so he protected me a little bit.
What about when you decided to be an actor. Were you teased?
Well, I never said that I wanted to be an actor when I was in school because I didn’t really know it was possible. I think had I said that I wanted to be an actor, I think people probably would have made fun especially if you said you were going to move to Hollywood and be in movies. I think people would have rolled their eyes a little bit.