Toy Story 4 is already being recognized as one of Pixar's best feature films to date, and while some though Toy Story 3 concluded the series, Toy Story 4 tops it and brings some amazing new characters along for its new adventure.
At the center of this is Forky, a different kind of toy, one that was created from trash by young Bonnie. Forky is nervous, naive, and confused about what he is and what his purpose is and find one's value is a key theme of Toy Story 4.
We had the opportunity to talk to Tony Hale about bringing this character to life, how he was cast, and we go deep into some of the deeper philosophical questions about toy life.
Before we began Tony spoke about coming up to Toronto for the Canadian premiere, near where I live, and the he immediately took notice of something I was wearing...
Tony Hale: Are those Pizza Planet socks?
Screen Rant's Rob Keyes: These are absolutely Toy Story socks, featuring our favorite aliens.
Tony Hale: Yes!
You're the only person to notice!
Tony Hale: Well done, well done!
Props to you. You're welcome to come to my country next week!
Tony Hale: I'm welcome!
First of all, Tony, it's a pleasure to meet you. I wanted to say congratulations. This movie is tremendous. What I keep telling everyone is that it has some of the funniest moments in the entire franchise and some of the most heartfelt moments, and Forky really centers around that so I want to go back to the beginning.
Tony Hale: Sure.
How were you first pitched the character of Forky and what was your reaction to reading the script?
Tony Hale: I think it's the same reaction as I have now in which I kind of resonate with Forky is that I'm overwhelmed, and I have no idea how I got here [laughs]. They brought me up to Pixar and they had taken clips of shows I've done, from Arrested Development and Veep, and they attached them to Forky - the animation. And so I saw a little clip. They talked about him having a very nervous energy which [laughs] is my forte, and how everything is new - he doesn't understand the rules of the universe and just freely asks a lot of questions. And I just love that kind of blank slate component of him that was really, really fun.
This story raises some interesting, what I call, philosophical questions...
Tony Hale: Sure.
... Like the meaning of life for toys. And also the creation of life because Bonnie creates Forky.
Tony Hale: Yes.
Deep question for you...
Tony Hale: I love it.
Can toys create toys? Could Woody have created Forky?
Tony Hale: Wooo could Woody have created Forky... Oh my gosh now we're getting into it. Umm... I think prob... I don't know. Maybe. Because I love that question - this is why. Someone was asking me recently about his creation and why did that happen and it's because Bonnie gave value to these things and then brought that to life so I don't know if another toy can create it. But, you know, Toy Story 5...[Laughs]
Tony Hale: Another toy can create it!
I have another question but the more I think about it, maybe it's a little dark, but
Tony Hale: No, I love it! Let's go there.
Where this movie goes we see different lifestyles of toys. We see lost toys, we see toys that are elder become antique, but given the trash-based origin story of Forky does he have a relatively short life expectancy - because we're not going to see him in an antique store.
Tony Hale: Sure, sure. Ummm... Well, maybe [Laughs]. Maybe a thrift store. I think, well, I guess because of the way it started - and I mentioned this earlier - but it's like he really just saw his one-way route as the trash. That's all he saw, and helping people eat chili. And then Woody comes in and says "you have a greater purpose. You have greater value." And I think with that it opened up this whole new route for him. And so obviously I think his expectancy is much longer but I love that whole component of whether somebody thinks that's their only route or they might see themselves that way, or somebody may have said that to them, they have so much more value than that.
My team and colleagues are certainly very excited about seeing Forky come back for the Disney+ series.
Tony Hale: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
You talked a little bit about that at the conference yesterday but what can fans expect from that and are we going to see some familiar faces?
Tony Hale: Yeah, so Forky sort of starts out with a question and other characters come in and help him explore these questions. And it's really, really fun because it's these questions that me as an adult - I of course am blanking right now on one of them - me as an adult I remember thinking should know the answer to this and I don't. I love that simplicity of just asking a question and that maybe other people would be embarrassed to ask.
For my last question - when Toy Story 4 hits theaters what are you most excited for fans to take from it?
Tony Hale: I think that element of - well, what all of Pixar's Toy Story franchise has is that they work together and live life together and they need each other. But also that whole value component. I think what was really special was Gabby's story and just the element of being seen one way but everybody has a story. Everybody has a story and we kind of put something on somebody but we don't know the story behind it.
Toy Story 4 synopsis: Woody (Tom Hanks) has always been confident about his place in the world, and that his priority is taking care of his kid, whether that’s Andy or Bonnie. So, when Bonnie’s beloved new craft-project-turned-toy, Forky (Tony Hale), declares himself as “trash” and not a toy, Woody with his long-lost friend Bo Peep (Annie Potts). After years of being on her own, Bo’s adventurous spirit and life on the road belie her delicate porcelain exterior. As Woody and Bo realize they’re worlds apart when it comes to life as a toy, they soon come to find that’s the least of their worries. Disney and Pixar’s Toy Story 4 is directed by Josh Cooley (“Riley’s First Date?”), and produced by Mark Nielsen (associate producer “Inside Out”) and Jonas Rivera (“Inside Out,” “Up”).
- Toy Story 4 (2019) release date: Jun 21, 2019