Director Josh Cooley Talks About ‘Toy Story 4’

I hope everyone has had a happy holiday!  Although we’re still without the official Toy Story 4 “first look” images we’ve been hoping for, I do have an interview to share, with some comments from the film’s director, Josh Cooley.

For their 2019 Preview issue, which only recently hit newsstands, Total Film magazine spoke to Cooley about the upcoming sequel.  In the article, the director was asked how it was possible to follow up the success of Toy Story 3:

“That was the biggest question.  All of these films are Woody’s story.  I think of 3 as the end of Woody’s time with Andy.  So now he’s in this brand new room, this is the beginning of his time with Bonnie… That puts him in a situation that we’ve never seen before, and a lot of great stuff came out of that.”

He goes on to elaborate on the creation of the movie’s new character, Forky:

One day, we were sitting in the room and, as a joke, just mentioned, ‘What would happen if a kid made a toy in this universe?’  Toys have a job to do.  They’re for the kids.  So we were joking, ‘A spork’s job is to help you eat, and then to be disposed.  If that spork came to life, and now had a completely different purpose, what would that be like?'”

Cooley also mentioned the improv dialogue of Key and Peele, the comedic voices of additional new characters Ducky and Bunny:

“It’s really hard to not ruin takes with laughter.”

He did touch upon aspects of the story, though, and how it differs from what we’ve seen previously:

“This has been a tricky balance.  This is right in line with the other films, but it’s not repeating anything that we’ve done before.  It’s new, but it feels familiar, which is a very tough thing to do.”

“The majority has never been seen in a Toy Story film.  Having the toys go outside of the Tri-County Area [is new] – not just for us in the film but also for Woody.”

In closing, Total Film asked Cooley if we need to bring tissues:

“A lot of people grew up with these characters, they have a strong nostalgia for them, and they feel like family to them.  It might not be a bad idea…”

A vague answer, just as we’d expect from Pixar!  And really, who wants too many spoilers now, anyway?  But these few remarks do give us a little more insight into the film.  It is nice to have further confirmation that Toy Story 4 will explore new territory with the characters, and that it won’t be reprising the themes of the prior three films.  Personally, I’m glad to see the toys move on from Andy; it will be fun to witness other aspects of their lives now that they’re living with Bonnie.  It will also be exciting to see them visit new places, since the furthest they’ve been away from home was inside a motel in Toy Story of Terror.  I’d imagine this new journey is not one they’re making in a suitcase in a trunk, either – if they’re in an RV, as has been surmised, they should get to see a lot more of the world they’re traveling through.  Cooley also reminds us that these movies are always Woody’s story, first and foremost.  While there may be fun little side stories for the others – perhaps in the form of the vignettes Tim Allen mentioned – the main arc will be Woody’s, and possibly Bo’s in tandem with him.

As far as the bringing tissues, would we do anything less with a Pixar movie?  Stay tuned, and hopefully we’ll have some new details after the first of the year!

Image © Disney/Pixar. Many thanks to my friends karmabutterfly and heathinator (their Tumblr handles) for helping me track down this article from the UK!

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