In ‘Toy Story 4,’ the Animators Pulling the Strings Reveal Woody’s Inner Life


This summer, one of the most versatile performers working today returns to the screen. Over the past 24 years, he has been strapped to a rocket, dangled out of an airplane and rudely dismembered. He has proved himself a consummate comedian, a fearless action hero and a compelling leading man, all while eerily maintaining his youthful looks.

He’s Sheriff Woody, the floppy, knock-kneed, pull-string doll with the voice of Tom Hanks.

“Woody just shows up. He seems to just have a lot of facets to him, a lot of interesting angles and a lot of richness,” said Pete Docter, a central figure at Pixar since “Toy Story” (1995) and now the studio’s chief creative officer. “Not every character has that.”

Since “Toy Story” began, Woody, the diminutive protagonist, has delivered what are, by any measure, delightful and engaging performances. Behind them are Hanks’s brilliant voice work and the combined efforts of scores of animators — around a hundred on “Toy Story 4” alone.

These artists understand that excellent animation boils down to good acting.

“We are all introverted, almost closeted actors,” Becki Tower, a directing animator on the new film, said. “We are acting through our characters, through our puppeteering.”


Read the full story at the New York Times.
Related: Tom Hanks on the pleasures and perils of voicing Woody.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s