Toying with Toy Story's JOHN MORRIS
Interview with the voice of "Andy"...
With Toy Story 3 coming out on DVD and Blu-ray (read our review HERE), we had the opportunity to chat with John Morris, the voice of Andy in all three Toy Story films (actor Charlie Bright plays young Andy in the most recent film). If you were ever curious about how John got the part originally, you'll want to read on.
It's been awhile since we've heard your voice on screen. How hard did you make it to find you?
How much did it mean to you to be invited back to reprise your role?
Inadvertently I made it very hard. Lee Unkrich had to track down my phone number because it had been nine years. I've gone back to Pixar a few times to visit following Toy Story 2 but I was in High School, College, New York... and on my own path. When they found me I was so relieved because I have heard murmurs about the project and I wanted to be a part of it so badly.
Let's go back to the very beginning. How did you get cast for the first film? Can you walk us through that process?
It meant a tremendous amount to be asked back for Andy. Lee has talked about continuity and how much that means to him. Pixar is really focused on story; the story comes first and the character feeds into it. It just feels as whole as possible.
Kristen Schaal, the voice of "Trixie" joked in one of her interviews that she's immortal now. That is you times three! How does that make you feel?
Yes, I was seven years old. They had an open casting call at Pixar in Richmond (the original location of Pixar), and I was in San Francisco. An agent said that they were having auditions for this boy in the very first computer generated feature animated film. The instruction was to bring a toy but I couldn't pick one toy. I brought forty-five X-Men figures in a giant box. I was this little kid carrying this huge box, you know... and sort of dumped all the toys out and Pixar just burst out laughing. I launched into playing with Storm and Wolverine and Cyclops - you know, it was just like I was in my room. I think they saw a parallel to Andy in the way he creates his own world.
It's incredible. It's surreal. It's an honor. It's funny because these films take so long to make. I've been waiting for Toy Story 3 to come out for a very long time and I was under strict confidentiality with all of my friends. I think John Lasseter described when a Pixar film comes out he's like unwrapping a package that the world can experience. And so I definitely felt that way. It's amazing to be a part of the process and it's amazing to be part of a trilogy. I mean, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars... and now Toy Story! It's incredible.
Do you have any favorite toys now?
And that's your only action figure?
Yes, I still have a few of my childhood toys. I had this bear that I've had since I was very little. He's in the closet, still in good shape. My mom used to tell me that he looked over me. Also the Toy Story toys... I have an Andy doll made by Medicom that is amazing and very limited. I really treasure that.
So what is John Morris doing now professionally or creatively?
Exactly, from the first film so I love that. I got it on eBay. And also Disney has been amazing at sending me and my family toys and DVDs.
Would you consider doing more Pixar voice-work?
Mainly voice-over work and some theater. Many people have been asking if I want to move onscreen, and I do, but my passion lies in the live theater. I'm also writing a novel. I'm four years into it and I'm working on adapting it into a screenplay. I've always thought it as live-action but... maybe it could be a bit of a combination. I'd love to run it by John Lasseter or Lee Unkrich when it's done and get some feedback.
Toy Story 3 is now available on Blu-ray and DVD wherever fine home video is sold.
Words and Photography by David Yeh