November 3rd, 2011
12:05 PM ET
When kids meet the actors behind their favorite animated characters, things can understandably get a little confusing.
Such was the case for "Cars 2" actor Owen Wilson, who voices Lightning McQueen in the Disney/Pixar franchise, when he was out at a recent dinner.
"At dinner, a family [brought] over their kid who was Lightning McQueen for Halloween, and the parents were trying to say, ‘This is Lightning McQueen,’ and the kid just had no comprehension of what they were talking about," Wilson, 42, recalls.
His more adult viewers may notice that Wilson's been doing quite a bit of voice work, with another animated film on the way in 2012.
Called "Turkeys," it's "a project I’m working on with Woody Harrelson - we've wanted to work together on something for a while. With ‘Turkeys,’ we’re trying to go back in time and change the Thanksgiving menu," Wilson says.
But his foray into animated features wasn't necessarily by design. There are the obvious perks of doing voice work - "you don’t have to worry about the camera, or hair and make-up. You just kind of roll right in and start working" - but in the end the actor says it's not necessarily a preference.
"I didn’t set out to work on a lot of animated movies; I think maybe it’s a testament to my voice. Which is funny, because I certainly can’t sing, and I’m not good at doing accents or changing from [a] Dallas [accent], so it’s funny that I would’ve ended up working on quite a few things where it’s just using my voice."
And as for the rabid appeal of his "Cars" character, Wilson has no clue why the kids go crazy for the red race car, but he is hoping to share the character with his son, who was born in January.
"Especially the 'Cars' [attraction] part of Disney theme parks that’s going to be completed in a year or so," Wilson said. "It’ll be fun to be able to bring my son to that and see if he recognizes the [my] voice at all."
It sounds like he's already received a hint, though: "When my son was born, I got a very nice gift from John Lasseter and the Pixar people with a little onesie with a picture of Lightning McQueen and underneath it, it said ‘My dad,’” the actor shared. (Cue the "aww" moment!)
Wilson hasn't heard about a threequel to the "Cars" franchise, but if it happened, "they wouldn't have a hard time convincing me to return," he says.
"First of all, they’re just fun to work on...I remember on the first ['Cars'], we did a few recordings at Pixar in Northern California, and that place made such a big impression on me, it just seemed like sort of the dream place to work."
You can hear Wilson as Lightning McQueen in "Cars 2," now available on Blu-ray and DVD.
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