Disney have struck gold with Cars - while the franchise may not be a hit with critics everywhere, kids (and a lot of others fans too) love it, and, in terms of merchandise alone, it makes a killing. As such, it's a logical, and very Disney, step to make a direct-to-video follow up. Said direct-to-video follow up though - in the spirit of Pixar's Toy Story 2 before it - is now going to be released theatrically, as Planes will soar onto screens this summer.
Last month we heard that Dane Cook (Employee of the Month) had signed on to replace Jon Cryer as the film's lead voice. Now, USA Today has details on who will be joining Cook above the world of Cars in August - they also unveiled a glut of accompanying character posters for the film.
The film features a Top Gun reunion, as Val Kilmer and Anthony Edwards, who played Iceman and Goose respectively in the Tom Cruise-flick, are set to voice a duo of F-18 jets, Bravo and Echo. Stacy Keach (Chelsea's dad in Two and a Half Men) voices Skipper, "a reclusive old Navy Corsair", who seems to be the Doc Hudson to Dusty's Lightning McQueen, described as "the old grouchy guy". Cedric the Entertainer (Madagascar) is set to voice Mater-type, Leadbottom.
Other voice talent for the film includes Teri Hatcher (Coraline) as Dottie and Brad Garrett (Everybody Loves Raymond) as Mater-lookalike, Chug. Roger Craig Smith (vocie of Sonic the Hedgehog; Captain America in Ultimate Spider-Man) voices the villainous Ripslinger, Gabriel Iglesias voices his stooges, Ned and Zed. Carlos Alazraqui voices lucha-libre plane, El Chupacabra; Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Maggie Lizer from Arrested Development) voices "no-nonsense" Rochelle, who 'El Chu' quickly falls for. Bollywood's Priyanka Chopra voices Ishani, Sinbad voicer Roper and ESPN's Colin Cowherd voices Colin Cowling, a blimp. Helping round out the quite impressive voice cast is comedy-legend, John Cleese, as Brit-racer Bulldog.
|I wonder who the bad guys are?|
The site also grabbed a few words from Pixar and Disney CCO John Lasseter, for whom Cars is a passion project:
"I always felt every vehicle in the world of Cars is a character, and I love the idea of airplanes because you get off the ground and can take people places they have never seen. There's so much potential."
On the reasoning behind the transition from straight-to-DVD to a a wide release, Planes director Klay Hall said:
"I think we got into this world and really saw how epic it could be. It kind of just happened. It's worked out best for everyone," adding that they've avoided the usually-predictable love interest route, saying "Dusty doesn't fall in love. I didn't go there. That's not to say that doesn't happen sometime down the road. But right now, he's living his dream."
Head on over to the USA Today post to check out all the details and quotes in full. You know what, I've not been very excited for Planes, but this latest batch of characters, these quotations and some of the voice cast attached, have actually got me pretty optimistic about it. Planes opens in the US on 9th August and in the UK a week later, on the 16th.