Lea DeLaria spills on the strongly feminist story of “Cars 3” and the future of “Orange is the New Black”

It’s safe to say that Lea DeLaria is having a pretty good summer. Within in the span of a week, a brand new season of Orange is the New Black dropped on Netflix (and go ahead, be honest, admit that you’ve already binged it ALL), and a mere seven days later, her voice made it into Disney and Pixar’s latest, Cars 3. Those are two pretty big milestones, and it’s only middle of June.

In Cars 3, DeLaria voices the larger-than-life Miss Fritter, a school bus in a very un-school like setting: A demolition derby. It’s just as hilarious as you think and DeLaria voices the character perfectly. Seriously, go see Cars 3, and then try and convince yourself that Miss Fritter *doesn’t* deserve her own spin off.


HelloGiggles recently sat down with DeLaria and we talked about all things Cars, Pixar movies, and the best Big Boo moments of OITNB Season 5.

HelloGiggles: I went into Cars expecting it to be a Cars movie and it was secretly super feminist. I was really excited about that. Did you know that going in, or was the story a surprise for you?

Lea DeLaria: I knew it when they told me the story. Now the thing about [Pixar films is that] you see your script, but don’t really see the whole script, because the script is constantly ebbing and flowing and changing as the writers ebb and flow and change. But you know the storyline. Once I sat down, which is the first thing they do, you go into Pixar — which is amazing. They sit down and tell you, this is the story. [Director] Brian [Fee] told me the whole story and I went ‘Oh my God this is totally superstitiously feminist.’ It’s fabulous that all these young girls are gonna see these strong female characters in this movie, winning. And men supporting them, which I think is also important.

HG: Miss Fritter kind of came off as the “New Mater” a little bit. Are there plans for spin-offs and sequels?

LD: I want all of you that are saying this to me, start writing Pixar, start talking…to Brian when you see him here, and say ‘Yes, we need a Miss Fritter movie, television show, something.’ My favorite thing [about the character] is that buzzsaw. That stop sign buzzsaw just says everything about that character.

[For a sequel] I gotta say this: Imagination wise, I can go to a thousand places. And Pixar writers can go to a million. So, whatever they come up for Miss Fritter to do, I’m right there doing it.

HG: I have kind of a deep question about that character. Because you know, Cars is in a world without kids. As for Miss Fritter, did you at one point shuttle little cars back and forth to school?

LD: There are no humans, so why are there cars, right? You know what I mean? I think she’s a school bus, not so much because she shuttled children around, just because it’s just completely opposite of what a school bus should be. You know, with the license plates hanging off of her and then buzz and everything. A school bus is supposed to be a safe place. She’s crazy. I’ll bet they looked at ambulances [for the character], too. You know what I mean? Or other kind of things. But a school bus just seemed to really hit it. Plus I love that Maleficent thing they got going on there.

HG: Was that your idea, or still all theirs?

LD: It was all theirs. And I said, ‘Is that purposely?’ And they were like, ‘Oh yeah, it’s Maleficent.’ So they were doing a shout out, which I love.

HelloGiggles: How many lines did you improvise? And did any of them make them into the film?

LD: There’s a lot of comics involved with this, like funny people involved with this. But, they have lines written. I did the lines and then they would go, ‘Just play with it, Lea.’ So, I guess I’ll find out [when I see the movie]. You know what I mean? But yeah, it’s a crazy improv kind of world, [working with] Pixar. I think that’s why people like Ellen [DeGeneres] and Sarah Silverman, people who are used to that world do well at it.

HG: Was it always your end goal to some day end up in a Disney movie? Or is this just like the best role of your life?

LD: It was never an end goal. It was like, ‘If only that could happen for me, I’d be so absolutely, extremely happy.’ So that was the first thing when I got the call from the manager and said, ‘Well, Pixar has called.’ Like, ‘Whaaaaa.’ Jumping up and down, I was so happy. I mean, just total bucket list for me.

HG: What is your favorite Pixar film?

LD: It’s gotta be Toy Story. It’s just gotta be the original, although I do love The Incredibles, I gotta tell you. I love The Incredibles, I really and truly do. But I have such a deep place in my heart for Toy Story. It’s like their first one, which is so great.

HG: Pixar movie makes you cry the most?

LD: Well, I’m trying to think. I remember crying at the first Cars movie, right?

HG: I mean, I cried at Cars 3, so …

LD: Yeah, I remember crying. In fact, going, ‘I’m crying at a car?’ I actually cried at Toy Story, surprisingly enough. I probably think it’s Toy Story that made me cry the most.

HG: I know Cars 3 is all about positive affirmations. What do you say to get yourself really psyched up?

LD: Oh, ‘Be funny, make the money.’ That’s my mantra. That’s the way I try to approach life, and everything that I do now. I have what I call a jazz attitude towards life. By that I mean, when you do jazz, you listen to everything around you, and you incorporate and you listen to them, and then you respond to them. That’s what I try to do with life. Now is the time, I’m always present. I’m right here with you, right now. I’ll try to respond to you right now. You know what I mean? Yeah, that’s probably my biggest thing. Hey, this is it. Get out there and do your thing.

HG: Okay, and now, I can’t leave you here today without asking about Orange. What is your favorite moment from it? What’s your favorite Big Boo moment?

LD: There’s a couple. First of all, I get to work with Beth Dover, which is amazing. Anybody who knows comedy acting, knows who Beth Dover is. Again, when we’re talking about this feminist thing, she’s just one of these girls that’s funny. She has that other thing that’s about, not only is she a women, and therefore not funny, she’s pretty. So pretty girls are definitely not supposed to be funny. If you’re funny, you have to look like Phyllis Diller or me, or whatever. So, I love working with her.

It’s hard to say my favorite moment [of Season 5]. Pulling out the butcher knife was great, and loved that they wrote that for me. Then, the immediate scene following that. The fact that they wrote a really funny sex scene for me and Beth, who are really funny people, was great.

HG: I really love the big court scene.

LD: Oh, that’s the court scene. I forgot about that. See, that’s great too. Also, I thanked [OINTB creator Jenji Kohan] repeatedly for letting me say, ‘Bye kids, have fun storming the castle.’ It was just so much fun. It was just a great season this season.

HG: Do you have any idea what’s coming next?

LD: I have no clue, and none of us ever do. We have given up second guessing those writers a long time ago. Just whatever it is, it’ll be great, because they don’t make mediocre at a lady prison.

This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity