When Disney Pixar’s new animated film Cars 2 hits theatres today, sports fans will recognize the voice of one of the characters as ESPN’s Brent Musburger.
Making his first “appearance” in an animated film, Musburger is essentially playing himself as sportscaster Brent Mustangburger.
Not only does Musburger deliver his signature “you are looking live …” line during the film, he calls a race involving the film’s lead character, Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson).
While he has appeared in movies before, including Rocky II, The Main Event and The Waterboy, he ranks his role in Cars 2 at the top of the list.
“This one is the highlight of my movie career,” he said with a laugh. “It’s head and shoulders above all the other experiences.”
Musburger said he didn’t hesitate when his agent called with the opportunity to do a voiceover for the film.
“Pixar has such a reputation for excellence with their animated films, and nobody is their equal,” he said.
He received quite a surprise when he arrived at the Pixar animation studio in Emeryville, Calif., to record his lines. Expecting to work with a sound crew and perhaps one of the film’s associate directors, he was instead greeted by John Lasseter, the film’s director.
“And then this nice man says ‘hey, let’s go have a cup of coffee before we record,’” Musburger said.
“We went in, and the conversation did not turn to Cars 2 — he wanted to talk about college football. For about 30 or 45 minutes, all we did was discuss one of his passions.”
After talking football, the two went into the studio and Musburger said he realized quickly that Lasseter was going to be hands-on through the entire process.
In a room with a microphone and a script, Musburger went to work.
“It was a little more extensive than I would have imagined,” he said.
“John would go through each of the lines a couple of times at least in a way that he would want nuances or how to handle certain things, and then almost immediately he would say ‘Brent, just say it the way you would say it, just give us how you would describe this if you were doing this particular scene,’ to which I went ahead and sort of added a couple of wrinkles of my own to the lines.”
“At some point, they said ‘you know, we’d like it, if you don’t mind, if you’d give us a “you are looking live,” and I said you just choose the site and I’ll be glad to do it.’ So we did it, and everybody laughed, and I had no idea whether they were going to use it or not.”
While he had seen the original Cars film, Musburger didn’t realize at first he was going to be given a name and that he would be a classic 1965 Ford Mustang Coupe.
And it really struck him when he was at a wedding recently and someone showed him a diecast toy of his character.
“I was honored to be a Mustangburger and I thought that was pretty neat,” he said.
“I now know that I have truly made it, because I’m an animated figure in a Pixar movie and I think that is a wonderful, wonderful, honor.”