Last week, Geeks of Color had the pleasure of spending the afternoon with a selection of the creative minds behind Disney•Pixar’s latest movie Toy Story 4! You can read about the first part of the press conference here! For the 2nd part of the conference we were joined by:
· Tom Hanks – (voice of “Woody”)
· Annie Potts (voice of “Bo Peep”)
· Tony Hale (voice of “Forky”)
· Director Josh Cooley
· Producer Jonas Rivera
· Producer Mark Nielsen
The moderator started with newcomer to the Toy Story franchise, Tony Hale. Hale spoke about his new character Forky, and what it was like joining the cast.
TONY HALE: Yeah. It’s overwhelming which helps because Forky is very overwhelmed. But I remember when they brought me up to Pixar and they kind of described him as he’s kind of nervous. I was like check. He asked a lot of questions. Check. And he’s kind of gullible to a fault now. It’s like bingo. I’m in. So I just love that he sees everything as new. And mainly I love that he’s a character that his home place is trash. That’s all he knows is to help people eat soup. And then Woody comes along and shares that he has a greater purpose. I think just in life, anybody who might see themselves that way and they have worth. They have purpose. That’s just a beautiful message that Toy Story is giving us.
The legendary Tom Hanks spoke about the difference between recording the first movie to recording number four. Hanks also shared what it was like working with Annie Potts.
TOM HANKS: The way this has worked, and the first one, and this is now 24 years ago, we actually did read a script. There was a screenplay that looked like every other screenplay. You read that and then you saw every storyboard animatic of the entire film. The second movie, there was a script. But we had made, when we had the understanding of it, we realized there’s no real way you can appreciate the weaving of imagery and character that Pixar did on the paper. So we really did wait to see the sequences put together. The third one, they didn’t even bother doing anything other than showing us the movie in animatic form before we began recording. And on this one, I never read a complete script. I don’t think anybody did. But we read the sequences that we were in. And it had a continuous running dialogue of what was going. These movies are made with a great flexibility of it. They work on it. We record it. They start off with the storyboards and words that you say. Then you record them. Then they go away for six months and refine and alter and change and test what we have done up to that point. And so every time we would show up to work, there would be some new iteration of this idea that had been presented to us at the beginning of what everybody is going through. What was brand new on this one was that Annie and I got to record together at the same time. And that never happens. You’re always in a sound stage by yourself, not being able to move off mic. And we got to actually relate with this vast history between the two of us. You leave a recording studio, the session thinking wow, we took it pretty far there. But every time we showed up for the next one, something was revealed to us in the pages that they had for us. So we always knew what territory we were going into, but never the specific route.
Annie Potts briefly spoke about what it was like to return as Bo Peep after all these years and the global impact that Toy Story has had.
ANNIE POTTS: Lovely, with a new improved emboldened courageous seasoned gal. It’s been lovely….I just wanted to say this. It struck me. So I was in a boat going down a remote area of the Amazon. There was a little boy, a local boy playing on the banks of the river. And he had on a t-shirt that said Toy Story with Woody on the front. This is on the Amazon. And I thought man. This thing is so much bigger than any of us could ever have imagined and has gone so far.
Director of Toy Story 4 Josh Cooley spoke about the work that went into getting the animation right, specifically in the antique shop and to make sure the audience keeps an eye out for any easter eggs that might be seen in the scenes that happen there.
JOSH COOLEY: Yeah. We researched a ton of how porcelain reacts to light, how it breaks. We broke a lot of stuff and filmed it. The technical challenge in this one was the antique store. Because there’s 10,000 items in an antique store. It all had to built and shaded and set dressed and everything. And we didn’t even know if our computers could actually render that. There’s so much stuff. So early on, we did some tests. And it turned out pretty good. We’re like okay. We can do this. So that was. And then we needed to just make more stuff to go into that antique store. So a lot of it was made for this film. There is a lot of Easter Eggs in this movie because we just got lazy. And so you can find, I swear, if you pause any frame when they’re in the story, you’ll see something in the background.
Of course, Tom Hanks let those in attendance know what Woody personally means to him.
HANKS: Woody has been the great gift that I’ve seen play out again and again in my own family as well as sort of around the world, even in culture that it’s not in my voice. It’s Spanish or Mandarin or what have you. Woody still is this three dimensional emotional bag that kids carry around with them. What I have truly appreciated is that no matter how old you are now, when you see one of the movies, you’re the same age you were when you saw the first one. And there is not a bump, there’s not a jolt. There’s no nostalgia. Nothing ages poorly. It’s exactly as it was and sort of always will be. And I think in some ways, it’s like the definitive Disney enterprise is that there is a cohesiveness and an eternal quality to not just the stories and the characters, but the emotional bonds that we all have with each one of them. And I have always been dazzled when they have come back and said we’re going to try another one. The question is always, really? Ain’t you guys bold. You think? You think you can match that last one we did. Good luck. Then they say, as soon as they start talking about Gabby Gabby or Duke Caboom or the true catalyst of Toy Story 4 so much that it’s called Toy Story Forky is Tony Hale is a Forky. Because look at that. Look at what he is. He is a bunch of stuff that has been empowered by the imagination of his creator. And that is the essential. That’s what being a toy is. That’s the great power of what a toy has. So they did it. These crackpot geniuses up there at Pixar. The 900 or so of them that operate in their darkened rooms and eat takeout food for months at a time.
Potts talked about why she relates to Bo Peep.
POTTS: What did we relate to about it? Well, I’m 66 years old. I’ve said goodbye to a lot of people and hello and held hands and looked out into a new future. And that was sweet to play that out. As we said earlier, I never saw the full script. I never knew exactly what I was doing. Over time, I became aware how important the role was going to be. But not until three weeks ago when I saw the thing, I told Josh afterwards, I said thank you so much for putting this crown on my head. I think she’s so lovely. And I hope that, my wish was to bring all the experience of my long colorful life to kick ass Bo.
Check out some more photos below:
Toy Story 4 hits theaters on June 21, 2019!