I mentioned earlier this month about going on an amazing tour of Pixar Animated Studios where I got the skinny on the soon-to-be-released Toy Story 4. During that trip a plethora of new characters were revealed for this release including Tony Hale as Forky, Christina Hendricks as Gabby Gabby, Keanu Reeves as Duke Caboom, Ally Maki as Giggle McDimples, and Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele as Ducky and Bunny.
I kinda love all of these voices for different reasons, but was particularly intrigued by Gabby Gabby and Forky.
My fascination with Forky begins with the fact that of all the characters he is not a toy. At least that’s what he thinks…lol. Forky is pretty sure that he doesn’t belong in Bonnie’s room. Unfortunately, every time he tries to get away, someone yanks him back into an adventure. He literally is a spork constructed of pipe cleaner, wax, google eyes, popsicle sticks with a little glitter and cement.
So, it suffices to say that I was uber excited when we were given a close-up and personal tutorial with Pixar Animator Claudio De Oliveira.
Claudio shared that the main barometer for creating Forky was his daughter. Makes sense right? If you are creating content for children, the best audience and judge for it should ultimately be a child. He then screened an adorable video of his daughter squealing with glee over being able to make her own Forky with her Dad…priceless.
“The world of Toy Story is built upon the idea that everything in the world has a purpose,” says Cooley. “A toy’s purpose is to be there for its child. But what about toys that are made out of other objects? Forky is a toy that Bonnie made out of a disposable spork, so he’s facing a crisis.”
We loved the idea of Forky,” says producer Jonas Rivera. “He doesn’t understand the rules of the world, so he doesn’t play by the rules, which really makes the story feel fun and new. But it makes life hard for Woody who’s just trying to help Forky understand the importance of his kid.”
Filmmakers called on comedian Tony Hale to provide the voice of Forky. Says Cooley, “When we thought up this character, Tony was the first actor that came to mind and I’m thrilled he accepted. Tony’s performance as Forky is a comedy salad of confidence, confusion and empathy… served by hilarious spork.”
Gabby Gabby we meet when the toys hit the antiques mall, which is another world all unto itself. Remember the land of misfit toys in Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer? Well, the antiques mall would be its equivalent in Toy Story 4. It’s almost like purgatory for toys with defects.
Gabby Gabby is patterned after those squishy baby dolls of the 50’s. She has perfect pigtails, a pristine dress and eyes that shine like glass. Great detail was given into how the each specific strand of hair was perfectly placed in order to appear as though they had been sewn in just like the dolls from that era along with a voice box. Problem is Gabby’s voice box is faulty with static which is why she has found herself in the antiques mall.
One of the key locations in “Toy Story 4” is an antique store, Second Chance Antiques. Bo Peep spent years gathering dust at this store until she decided to move on. Later, Woody spots her lamp and goes inside to look for her. It’s also home to a host of toys, including Gabby Gabby, her henchmen dummies, Duke Caboom (Keanu Reeves) and more. The antiques mall detailing is short of miraculous, Exquisite attention was paid to each and every nook and cranny down to the frays in the carpet.
Production Designer Bob Pauley, shared that for a lot of their animated features, the team often travels for research taking them as far away to Venezuela and Paris to name a few. For Toy Story 4, the team simply took a tour of various local antique stores discovering a lot of charming collectibles like a stoplight, juke box, sometimes a big plastic Santa . “There are many lights and lamps illuminating all the items throughout the store—lights connected to lots and lots of extension cords and power strips. The front desks are always interesting, small notes, little curiosities and extra tags.” There’s also a cat or two that have the run of the place, so of course they incorporated one to help tell the story. Fortunately, at Pixar, there are numerous big ‘backlot’ of objects from all of their features, so lookout for some fun Easter eggs sprinkle throughout.
Take a look at this adorable trailer/tv spot featuring my boy Forky and remember Toy Story 4 advance tickets are available NOW.