Keegan-Michael Key Talks About His ‘Toy Story 4’ Role

Keegan-Michael Key has been making the rounds of talk show appearances lately, to promote his Netflix series Friends from College.  I’ve watched them all, hoping for any little details he might share about Toy Story 4.  Last night, however – on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah – was the first time the show’s host brought up his upcoming role in the sequel.

Key was announced as part of Toy Story 4‘s cast back in November, when he and his comedic partner, Jordan Peele (of Key and Peele) debuted as plush carnival toys Ducky and Bunny in the second teaser trailer.   At the time, director Josh Cooley said of the duo:

Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, who voice Ducky and Bunny, are two of the most brilliant minds I’ve ever seen.  Of course, they are effortlessly funny, which would be enough. But they are incredible actors that understand story. Their improvs weren’t just for comedy sake, they were story motivated which elevated Ducky and Bunny and the film to a level I never could have expected.

Their improv in the recording booth was something that Key actually touched upon in the interview, which can be watched in its entirety on Comedy Central’s website, with his Toy Story 4 remarks starting around the 28:00 mark.  Here’s what he had to say about his voice work:

You’re also in Toy Story 4.  You are living through my childhood dreams, this is what you’re doing.  That’s phenomenal.  Toy Story is one of the most successful franchises ever, and you’re going to play a character there as well.

Yeah, Jordan Peele and I are in it together as partners; we’re playing partners.  It’s great, right in the middle of the movie our two characters go into the sunken place [laughter], it gets real dark in Toy Story 4 [he’s joking here].  It was such a pleasure.  Doing voiceover in an animated film is the best thing.  Because you can do  – you can overact and chew up the scenery almost as much as you want, because you’ll never reach the heights of the cartoon characters.  You can give your all to try to match the character.  It’s really fantastic.  You know, in real life, you want to get a little bit subtler every now and again.  And Jordan and I had the opportunity to act against each other.  In those movies, very often, you’re by yourself, doing the lines.

But you guys were in the booth?

We were in the booth, looking at each other.  It’s so much fun.

There have been other instances of voice actors recording together for the Toy Story series – most recently, Tom Hanks and Annie Potts have shared the booth for scenes featuring Woody and Bo Peep.  And in this case, giving Key and Peele the opportunity to play off of each other will definitely enrich the film and its humor.

Having watched these interviews over the past week – and being familiar with some of Keegan-Michael Key’s work in the past – I’m really looking forward to see what he and Jordan Peele bring to Toy Story 4.  There’s still so much mystery surrounding the new characters, and I can’t wait to find out more about Ducky and Bunny in the coming months!

Logo and trailer image © Disney/Pixar.  Keegan-Michael Key image © Comedy Central and The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.