Kerry Washington, Nathan Fillion, and Lea DeLaria are starting their engines.
Disney has announced that the three actors will lend their voices to the upcoming Cars 3, which follows Owen Wilson’s Lightning McQueen as he struggles to find his place among a new generation of super-speedy competitors. We already know that Lightning will be facing off against a villainous and technologically advanced new foe named Jackson Storm (voiced by Armie Hammer), but Washington, Fillion, and DeLaria add three new characters to Pixar’s automotive universe.
First up is Washington as Natalie Certain, a top-notch statistical analyst who’s all about the numbers.
“She is a super-smarty-pants statistician,” the Scandal star told People, which first revealed the casting news. “She reminds me of a statistical analyst on cable news or SportsCenter. She knows everything there is to know about the ins and outs of statistics when it comes to racing.”
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Washington added that she’s excited to tackle her first animated role, especially because she’s the mother of two young children (ages 2 and 5 months).
“It’s fun, the idea of doing something that the kids can actually enjoy,” she said. “Scandal isn’t exactly a Disney Jr. show.”
Fillion is also on board as the silver Sterling, a “brilliant businesscar” who heads up the training facility Rust-eze Racing Center. Disney describes him as “dapper” and “unassuming” but willing to do anything when it comes down to business.
As for DeLaria, the Orange is the New Black star will lend her voice to a demolition derby legend named Miss Fritter — an enormous school bus with “smoke stacks of doom” and a penchant for collecting her victims’ license plates.
Cristela Alonzo is already on board as a young race technician named Cruz Ramirez, and Formula One winner Lewis Hamilton will voice, well, Hamilton, a high-tech, built-in voice command assistant. Previous cast members like Larry the Cable Guy, Bonnie Hunt, Cheech Marin, and Bob Costas are returning, too.
Brian Fee is stepping into the director’s chair after working as a storyboard artist on the first two Cars films. In January, he spoke to EW about where Cars 3 finds its red racecar hero, saying, “McQueen is not the young hotshot anymore, the kid he was back then in Cars 1. He’s in the middle of his life, and as an athlete, that’s getting up there. You have your whole life ahead of you, yet your career is starting to show its age. He’s looking in the mirror and realizing, ‘I’m 40 years old,’ and dealing with the fact that the thing you love more than anything else, you might not be able to do forever.”
Cars 3 will hit theaters June 16, 2017. See a new poster above.