Last weekend, we attended an advanced screening and press junket for Toy Story 4! Here’s a peek inside the star-studded press conference.
File this under “Coolest Experience of My Life Thus Far!”
Last weekend, I was in the same room and breathed the same air as some of Hollywood’s most admired actors, and I’m still not over it!
The two-day press junket included an advanced screening of the movie, a media dinner at Pizzerizzo, an exclusive After Hours event in Toy Story Land, and access to the celebrity press conference. It was simultaneously the most stressful and most exciting two days of my life!
Toy Story 4 Press Conference
The press conference was split up into two panels. The first panel featured Christina Hendricks (voice of “Gabby Gabby”), Tim Allen (voice of “Buzz Lightyear”), Keanu Reeves (voice of “Duke Caboom”), director Josh Cooley, and producers Mark Nielsen and Jonas Rivera.
Here’s a peek at what we learned in the first panel!
Keanu Reeves is new to the Toy Story franchise as the voice of Duke Caboom, a Canadian stuntman toy with a tragic past. Keanu described what it’s like to join the beloved Toy Story family:
“It was a great honor to be invited… I knew that working with Pixar and being with these characters and these performers, that I was getting a chance to be a part of something that’s legendary.”
“It was really fun to be a part of this story,” he continued.
Director Josh Cooley was also present at the press conference. He described how it felt taking on a new Toy Story film after the success of Toy Story 3:
“Tons of responsibility, tons of pressure. A lot of sleepless nights knowing we were going to attempt this. Because we love the end of Toy Story 3, and feel like that’s the completion of Woody and Andy’s story. But there was more of Woody’s story to tell.”
Producer Jonas Rivera stepped in to address if there is the possibility of even more Toy Story films:
“As filmmakers, to be honest, we feel satisfied that this is where you can end it. Now, there’s an implied future to all these films, and we sort of never say never at Pixar. But as storytellers, we’re satisfied with this as the closing of the chapter.”
Christina Hendricks is also new to the Toy Story family. She lends her voice to Gabby Gabby, a Chatty Cathy-inspired baby doll with a mobster mentality and dozens of dummy henchmen. At the press conference, she recalled her thoughts after she got the news that she landed the role:
“I thought you guys had done like weird background research on me. Because I actually have a ventriloquist doll in my house that I wanted my entire life. Every year I would ask my parents for this Charlie McCarthy ventriloquist doll and they were like, ‘You’re weird. We’re giving you a baby doll.'”
Producer Mike Nielsen reflected on how the team kept the memory of Don Rickles, voice of Mr. Potato Head, alive after his passing in 2017:
“We love Don. He’s been such a huge part of these films all the way back to the very beginning. And we had signed him on to be a part of the project before we lost him. And kind of at the request of his family… we wanted to see if we could craft a performance from all of the incredible sessions we’ve had with [him] through the years… Our editorial department did a great job creating his performance out of his own voice from past projects.”
Of course, Toy Story wouldn’t be Toy Story without Tim Allen, the voice of Buzz Lightyear himself! Tim cracked jokes throughout the entire press conference and even thanked Walt Disney World for putting his statue (of Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story Land) “over by the men’s room.”
He described the uncertainty of joining the original Toy Story team 25 years ago:
“It’s similar to when my life began with Home Improvement. I never thought about the future. I just thought about ‘Can I get through this? Can I finish this?’ Because I had no idea what the results of that would be. And the same with Toy Story.”
“I can’t describe except I’m honored and humbled to be part of this thing,” he added.
The second panel featured Annie Potts (voice of “Bo Peep”), Tom Hanks (voice of “Woody”), Tony Hale (voice of “Forky”), director Josh Cooley, and producers Mark Nielsen and Jonas Rivera.
Here’s a peek at what we learned from the second panel!
Arrested Development and Veep star, Tony Hale, makes his Toy Story debut as Forky, self-proclaimed trash and Bonnie’s new favorite toy. Tony described what it’s like joining the Toy Story family as such a unique character:
“It’s hard to even digest. Because this has been such an iconic franchise that I never thought I would be a part of… There was a simplicity to Forky that I just absolutely fell in love with. The fact that he’s made from pipe cleaners, and a spork, and little popsicle sticks. And he brings Bonnie so much joy.”
Tony also commented on other accomplishments of the film:
“We’re so grateful to be here and to be these voices. But we are such a small piece of the pie of what is involved in Toy Story. The amount of artistry and creatives and tremendous labor that has gone into this movie outside of us. I mean, the attention needs to be shining on that. Because they really have worked so hard. The movie is eye candy. It’s just such a visual masterpiece.”
Producer Mike Nielsen revealed that he is currently producing a series of shorts starring Forky called Forky Asks a Question. All ten episodes will be available on Disney+ in November!
It’s no question that Woody, voiced by Tom Hanks, is the backbone of the Toy Story franchise. When asked about what Woody means to him, Tom gushed, “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.”
He knew instantly that the original Toy Story film was something special:
“Upon seeing it, when it was all done, there was just no doubt that something had been created here that was much bigger or grander than I think anybody sort of anticipated. It was just special. And that doesn’t happen very much.”
“There has been this interesting thing about Toy Story. It exists sort of by audience demand by way of audience need,” he added.
Annie Potts was a bit more reserved than the others during the press conference, but when asked how she prepared for the role of Bo Peep, she explained with a smirk, “My wish was to bring all the experience of my long, colorful life to kick-ass Bo!”
I’m going to leave you with one of my favorite moments from the entire press conference. The question we’ve all been asking for 25 long years… What kind of haircut does Buzz Lightyear have underneath that purple balaclava?
According to Tim Allen, “He has a beautiful head of hair underneath there. It’s rather curly. And he’s got a man-bun.” Mystery solved.
Huge thank you to Disney for inviting us out to this awesome press junket so we could give you this special inside look!
Click here for our spoiler-free review of Toy Story 4.
Don’t miss the movie in theaters June 21, 2019!