Just when you thought the journey was over, Pixar is back to break our hearts and show us we’ve still got a friend in our childhood toys. In the upcoming TOY STORY 4, Woody, Buzz Lightyear and the rest of the gang embark on a road trip with Bonnie and a new toy named Forky. The adventurous journey turns into an unexpected reunion as Woody’s slight detour leads him to his long-lost friend Bo Peep. As Woody and Bo discuss the old days, they soon start to realize that they’re worlds apart when it comes to what they want from life as a toy.
JoBlo was lucky enough to visit Pixar Studios in the San Francisco area ahead of TOY STORY 4’s June 21st release. Here’s 30 things we learned about the upcoming Disney film from our visit!
-The opening scene contains a big easter egg if you look closely at the car that drives away with Bo Peep in tow. The license plate reads RRF97. Somebody who worked on TOY STORY 2 accidentally deleted the entire movie from the render farm, and that was the command on the computer that they pressed that deleted the film. Luckily, Pixar was able to retrieve the film, but the joke still remains.
–Michael Keaton, a.k.a. “Ken” is not back for this film. He’s still at Sunnyside.
–Annie Potts loves the way Bo Peep is represented in the film.
-Director Josh Cooley describes the film as somewhere between INDIANA JONES and LADY AND THE TRAMP. Not necessarily a straightforward romantic comedy, but an adventure that happens to have romance in it.
-The creators were hoping to capture the same Pixar heart spirit with TOY STORY 4 that they had with the original TOY STORY.
-Forky is a six-year-olds creation, a spork that a little girl named Bonnie has turned into a toy, which means in this universe, that spork is going to come to life.
-Forky looks deceptively simple, but in fact, he’s made up of more material than the other characters. Pipe cleaner, glitter glue, google eyes, popsicle sticks, soft clay, wiki sticks, stickers, and crayon marks.
-When Bonnie, Bonnie’s family, Woody, Forky, Buzz and the rest of the gang go on a road trip, Forky decides he’s not a real toy and jumps out the window of the moving vehicle. Woody, feeling responsible for Bonnie’s happiness, jumps out after him, and the two become stranded on the road.
-During their journey back to Bonnie, Woody and Forky come upon an old antiques mall, and Woody comes face to face with his old flame — Bo Peep.
-While inside of the antiques mall, Woody accidentally runs into a new character named Gabby Gabby. Gabby Gabby is a 1957 pull-string talking toy built around the same time as Woody. She is the franchise’s first female villain.
-Once Gabby Gabby meets Woody and realizes they have the very same voice box, she decides her prayers have been answered. Although her voicebox is nearly ruined by now, Woody’s is working fine, which means she can steal his and replace her own. As a result, Woody becomes her prisoner, and when he escapes, he becomes her new obsession.
-Gabby Gabby’s henchmen are a group of dummies, led by Benson, who has the red bowtie.
-The dummies’ bodies were designed to move very awkwardly, like someone was supporting them from the inside. Clothing was a critical part of the silhouette, this was designed to be ill-fitting and helped add variation to the four dummies. Everything had to feel slightly off. The eyes and brows were designed to be very mechanical. With the dummies, Pixar decided that less was more in terms of movement.
-After director Josh Cooley decided to cast Christina Hendricks as Gabby Gabby, Hendricks told Cooley that while growing up, she never played with Barbie dolls — she preferred to play with ventriloquist dummies.
-Sets Technical Director Rosie Cole played a large part in the design of the antiques mall, as her family actually owned an antiques mall while she was growing up. Much of the nooks and crannies within the set are modeled after her own experiences.
-The antiques mall, by itself, took nearly 2 years to create.
-Pixar animators referred to the cabinet in which Gabby Gabby resides as the “Gabinet” during the making of the movie.
-While in the antiques mall, Woody and Forky pass by a record player at one point. This is an easter egg, as the record that is playing is actually “Remember Me” from Disney’s COCO.
-There’s another easter egg on the pinball machine — the tiki men are actually from the fish tank in FINDING NEMO.
-In technical terms, the antiques mall in the movie is about 8,000 square feet, with over 10,000 items for sale.
-The antiques mall in the film exists right next door to a carnival. According to director Josh Cooley, Alcatraz actually served as a big inspiration for how these two buidlings related to one another. Apparently, the prisoners in San Francisco were going crazy because they could hear people partying and laughing across the bay and it was like a thousand miles away from them. That’s what’s really emotional and interesting and made the TOY STORY 4 creators think it would be a good idea to do a toy version of that. The carnival is right outside this antique store. The kids are right there, having fun and trying to win toys, and the toys inside of the antiques mall are so close to them, and they’d do anything to have a kid, but they just can’t have it.
-Bo Peep has been a lost toy for years now, and she tries her best to open Woody’s eyes to that new experience despite the fact that it terrifies him.
-To Woody, the worst thing that could ever happen to a toy is becoming a lost toy. A toy without a kid.
-Although Bo Peep and Woody’s relationship plays a big role in the film, Bo very much has her own arc.
–Jordan Peele and Keegan Michael Key voice the plush carnival prize toys Ducky and Bunny. According to director Josh Cooley, the duo have been onboard the project since the very beginning, and they always recorded their voices together, in the same room. Their ability to bounce off of each other and improv is ridiculously impressive.
-The creators had a few reasons for staging so much of the film at a carnival — for one, they are always looking for areas where toys actually exist in the world to make it feel natural, and the carnival was a perfect setting in that sense. They also liked seeing how the lighting of the carnival can affect the mood. During the daytime, carnivals are kind of gross, but at night time, they’re stunningly beautiful.
-Bo Peep’s design was based on a multitude of strong female influences, including martial artist Chloe Bruce, wushu world champion Jade Xu, fire performer Linda Farkas, Amazon staff routine master Michelle C. Smith, and Australian ballroom dancer Sharna Burgess.
-It was important to Pixar that the new and improved Bo Peep be a mixture of classic and modern — feminine, but independent, reserved but comfortable being on the road, athletic and powerful, with a delicate touch.
-Director Josh Cooley always wanted Keanu Reeves to play the Canadian stunts expert Duke Caboom. Reeves loved the idea of getting into character so much, when the two were first discussing his involvement, Reeves actually got on top of the table in the atrium of Pixar and started posing and kicking and shouting, laying out the groundwork early on for how his toy would act onscreen with unrivaled enthusiasm.
-One of the best things about Forky is that he’s actually a toy you can make at home. Animator Claudio De Oliveira stresses the importance of growing up as a child within a working class family, and not being able to afford the toys from the movies he liked when he was a kid. Now, when kids go to see TOY STORY 4, they won’t need a big budget to buy their new favorite toy — they can build him in their kitchen with a tiny bit of supplies.
TOY STORY 4 rides into theaters on June 21st, 2019!