Car Talk’s Tom and Ray on 'Cars'

By David Thomas  on May 29, 2006

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Fans of National Public Radio’s “Car Talk,” which stars Tom and Ray Magliozzi as Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers, can catch their voices on the big screen June 9 when Pixar’s latest animated movie, “Cars,” is released. Ray is the voice of Dusty Rust-eze (left) and Tom is the voice of Rusty. In this Q&A, the brothers answer questions about their roles in the film. Image © Disney Enterprises, Inc. and Pixar Animation Studios.  All rights reserved.

How and why did you get involved in the "Cars" movie project? Are these the first movie roles for you?

Ray: John Lasseter, the director and brains behind “Cars” and “Toy Story,” is a fan of our show, I guess. He tried to get us to play gas station attendants in “Toy Story,” but we were too lazy back then. Plus, we figured, computer animation? Toys that come to life? Who's going to watch that?

Tom: Despite the fact that we told them to flake off on “Toy Story,” John called again and said he had great parts for us. And he'd written them with us in mind.

Ray: We found out later that he had actually written them for Carrot Top and Art Garfunkel, but they turned him down.

Tom: These are our first movie roles. I mean, have you seen our faces? We could only work in animation.

So who are Rusty and Dusty Rust-eze? What are their roles in the film?

Ray: They're brothers who sell bumper ointment…

Tom: Don't ask!

Ray: CAR bumper ointment. They're a couple of old cars who dispense wisdom to the hotshot rookie racecar, Lightning McQueen.

Tom: We told them we wanted roles that would really stretch us professionally, ya know. So they cast us as decent, smart guys. We needed a lot of coaching for that.

What's it like doing voice work for a movie? How is it different from or similar to doing your radio show?

Ray: Well, you only get to do one take on radio. In other words...

Tom: ...this was a lot more work! We must have done dozens of takes of some of those lines. And not one extra doughnut. Not ONE! Isn't there some kind of actors' union?

Are there any surprises from you two that moviegoers can expect to see?

Tom: We don't know. We haven't seen the movie yet. They kept inviting us to all these premieres and special screenings, but one week I had a hair appointment, and the other time my brother was at the Seat Cover Convention in Toledo.

Ray: So it's all a surprise, at least to us. But given what a great job Pixar has done on everything they've touched, I suspect it's going to be a very good movie despite the fact that we're in it!

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Managing Editor David Thomas has a thing for wagons and owns a 2010 Subaru Outback and a 2005 Volkswagen Passat wagon.  Email David