It's always fun to spot a movie star out in public. But the odds of ever actually seeing one are pretty slim, never mind asking them to stop for a selfie with you. But there is one kind of movie star that it's much easier to see in person: the kind with four wheels.
For example, the sleek Lexus RC F seen in the new "Men In Black International." It not only got the starring role on pavement, but through digital special effects it turns into a jet. The high-profile appearance of this high-performance Lexus coupe is no accident, according to Josh Hancock, who has been a consultant on movie car placement for decades.
"With movies, there's just placement, and then there's integration. And then there are marketing deals. They (Lexus) were willing to do a whole marketing deal with this movie, which means a lot of money in print ads, and some commercials," said Hancock.
For an automaker, having a car in a big-budget summer movie can really be a big deal. In "Spider-Man: Far From Home," the Peter Parker character has one of Audi's upcoming e-tron models. The electric car is not only cool looking, it was cast for the role pretty convincingly.
"That is a true integration, because the car plays a part in the film. He goes and uses it for a science project," said Hancock. Indeed, Audi has already run commercials which highlight the science fair in the movie.
The German auto maker is rolling out its e-tron line pretty slowly, and the four-door GT model seen in the Spider-Man film doesn't even go on sale until 2020 or later. So its appearance is a sneak preview, for sure.
In the case of the Lexus RC F appearing in "MIB International," it's a car that's not new at all. In fact, Lexus is currently offering a special 10th Anniversary trim package for the car. But that movie is also giving some screen time to a very unusual, limited-production vehicle that most people have never seen. It's a wild, military-looking SUV called the Tank, made by an Irvine company called Rezvani Motors. Unlike the Lexus, its role probably wasn't backed up by marketing dollars.
"In that case, you've got an art director, or a guy like me, who sees it and shows it to the director and says 'How 'bout this?'," said Hancock, who has placed cars in hundreds of movies over the years.
And if you're a fan of classics, Quentin Tarantino's "Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood" is full of them. The detail-conscious director made it a car spotter's dream. Lots and lots of 1960s-era cars are shown throughout the film.
"He transforms Los Angeles into 1969. And cars play a big part in transforming the film," said Hancock.
So when you're in the theater, pay attention to those four-wheeled movie stars. You might even spot one afterward on the street. And it's probably OK to take a selfie with it if you do.
'Once upon a time in Hollywood,' 'Spider-Man,' 'Men in Black' feature the coolest cars
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