Pixar's films have a reputation for casting A-List talent to do voices for their memorable characters. Even their first film ever, Toy Story featured Tom Hanks, arguably one of the most famous actors in the world. Since then, they have featured a number of big stars in lead roles, including John Goodman, Ellen DeGeneres, Owen Wilson, and Amy Poehler.
Aside from their main characters, Pixar also isn't afraid to load up their supporting cast with famous voices. There are so many, in fact, that even the biggest Pixar fan might not have realized that some really big names have appeared in smaller roles. These are ten actors we all forget did voices in Pixar films.
10 R. Lee Ermey in Toy Story
The late R. Lee Ermey was the kind of actor who was born to play a drill sergeant. Though he had played a few roles prior to his breakout appearance in Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket, they all had him in military garb. This was probably due to the fact that before pursuing a career in acting, Ermey was, in fact, a sergeant in the army during the late sixties.
So it makes sense that when casting the perfect actor for a green plastic army man in Toy Story, the folks at Pixar looked no further than Ermey. Sarge, much like Ermey's other characters, was disciplined, straightforward, and a good soldier. His voice fit perfectly with the character, and this Sarge was far kinder than the hostile drill sergeant from Full Metal Jacket.
9 Eric Bana in Finding Nemo
Eric Bana has played plenty of memorable roles, from his turn as Bruce Banner in Ang Lee's Hulk to Mossad agent Avner Kaufman in Munich. His most recent role was playing devious con man John Meehan in the television adaptation of Dirty John. Bana gets so into his roles, that you could be forgiven for forgetting that he hails from Australia (unless you think of his rowdy Aussie husband character from Funny People).
It makes sense, then, that for a Pixar movie set in the coastal waters of Australia, Bana would be the perfect choice to play one of the ocean's inhabitants. In this case, it was the Hammerhead shark, Anchor, an associate of Bruce the great white, who tries (unsuccessfully) to keep his friend in line after he smells blood in the water.
8 Michael Keaton in Cars
Like many other actors in recent years, Michal Keaton has been enjoying a late-career renaissance. He has gone from mostly being remembered as the first Batman and Beetlejuice to having major parts in Oscar-winning films like Birdman and Spotlight. Keaton himself received a Best Actor nomination for Birdman.
However, before breaking back into roles in big Hollywood blockbusters, Keaton was getting steady voice-acting work in animated films, including Cars. Keaton played Chick Hicks, the cheating antagonist who would do anything to win. Pixar was so impressed by Keaton's voicework, that he was also cast to play Ken in Toy Story 3.
7 Flea in Inside Out
Flea has become most famous for being the bass player in Red Hot Chili Peppers, but on top of that, he has also had a decent amount of success as a bit player in major Hollywood films. He has had small roles in films like Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Back to the Future Part II.
Flea has also done a lot of voiceover work, particularly for the animated series The Wild Thornberrys on Nickelodeon. However, he also made an appearance in Pixar's Inside Out as a mind cop named Jake. This appearance was brief, but just long enough for there to be a sly Chinatown reference in a kids' movie.
6 John Krasinski in Monsters University
John Krasinski's career trajectory in Hollywood would be enviable by any standard. He went from appearing in small roles, to playing one of the leads in a successful sitcom, to starring in major Hollywood blockbusters and eventually directing them as well. Along the way, he took some time to do a voice in a Pixar film.
Krasinski provided the voice for Frank McCay, a legendary scarer working at Monsters Inc. when Mike Wazowski was just a kid. Frank was the one who inspired Mike to later attend MU. Krasinski's voice provided just the right amount of wholesomeness and kindness to this famous monster.
5 Craig Ferguson in Brave
For anyone old enough to remember it, Craig Ferguson was one of the funniest cast members on The Drew Carey Show, playing Drew's boss Mr. Wick. Eventually, he became the host of The Late Late Show, where his acerbic and singular wit contrasted perfectly with the standard late-night format.
On top of that, Ferguson has also done plenty of voiceover work in his time, including two Disney TV shows: Hercules and The Legend of Tarzan. Obviously, the people at Disney liked his work and cast him as a Scottish lord in Brave. It wasn't really a stretch for a Scottish actor to play a Scottish character, but Ferguson lent Lord MacIntosh his signature energy and delivery.
4 Idris Elba in Finding Dory
Idris Elba's career has taken him to many different places: he's played a detective and a drug lord, an Asgardian and a crooked soldier, a gunslinger and Nelson Mandela. Needless to say, Elba has enjoyed a diverse career that has allowed him to stretch every one of his considerable acting muscles.
On top of his appearances on the screen, he has also lent his voice to two different Disney films: Zootopia and Pixar's Finding Dory. In the latter, he played a sea lion named Fluke, who mostly just hangs out on a rock with his buddy Rudder (who is played By Elba's co-star from The Wire Dominic West!).
3 Will Arnett in Ratatouille
On top of those famous animated voiceover roles, Will Arnett also provided a voice in the Pixar film, Ratatouille. Arnett played Horst, the German sous-chef who had apparently been in jail before working in the kitchen. Like Heath Ledger's Joker, Horst continuously changed the story of how he ended up serving time, but anyone who has worked in a kitchen knows there are always at least a few ex-cons.
2 Isabella Rossellini in Incredibles 2
Isabella Rossellini is one of the most celebrated and talented actresses in Hollywood, having appeared in a number of great films such as Big Night, Death Becomes Her, and her breakout role in Blue Velvet. She has never shied away from interesting roles, and always lets her signature personality shine through.
Her most recent role, and one that might have gone under the radar for even the most fervent Rossellini fans, was her role as the ambassador in Incredibles 2. Rossellini lent her signature gravitas to the role, even though it was fairly small, showing her signature dedication to playing every part just right.
1 Kyle McLachlan in Inside Out
Yet another David Lynch veteran appeared in a Pixar film. Kyle Maclachlan may be best known for his role as Special Agent Dale Cooper in Lynch's TV series Twin Peaks, but he also appeared in the films Dune and Blue Velvet. He has also played more comedic roles, including the Captain on How I Met Your Mother and the Mayor on Portlandia.
MacLachlan's role in Inside Out found him playing basically every Dad ever. This character frequently spaces out thinking about sports and doesn't quite understand how to get through to his pre-teen daughter. MacLachlan does a great job pivoting from being a lame Dad to showing real emotion through just his voice.