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Tom Hanks Reveals What It’s Really Like To Play Woody in ‘Toy Story’


Tom Hanks opens up on the difficulties of voice acting in the “Toy Story” franchise.

Disney’s “Toy Story” series is one of the highest-grossing animated series ever. Though the magic of Pixar’s animation and storytelling has led to much of the franchise’s success. In an interview with the “New York Times“, Hanks spoke about voicing the actor for could probably be the last time in “Toy Story 4” and how difficult the recording sessions were for the movie.

While “Toy Story” movies are under two hours long, Hanks has to record hours of material to create multiple options for the filmmakers. Hanks reveals, “There are times when my diaphragm is sore at the end of a four- or five-hour recording session, just because the challenge is to wring out every possible option for every piece of dialogue. It’s every incarnation of outrage and surprise and disappointment and heartache and panic and being plused and nonplused.”

Another difficult aspect of voice acting is that he has to act entirely by his voice and not use facial expressions and gestures like he does in live-action movies and TV shows. Hanks explains it was really difficult in “Toy Story 3” because of the emotional content, revealing:

It’s an imaginary stretch. To the point of exhaustion. Because you’re only using your voice, you can’t go off mic, you cannot use any of your physicality. You have to imagine that physicality. In a lot of ways that’s the antithesis of what you do as an actor.

I found a lot of times the only way I could do it would be closing my eyes. Not seeing the stage and the people there, and trying to work myself to a place. My last few sessions I had them set up the mic stand with my back to them. I don’t think I could’ve done the last few recording sessions the other way. If there was a scintilla of self-consciousness to any of those lines, it would have been unsatisfying.

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Tom Hanks
NEW YORK – JAN 9, 2018: Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson attend the National Board of Review Awards at Cipriani on January 9, 2018, in New York (JStone /

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Megan Diane
Megan Diane
Hi, I'm Megan Browne, the Head of Partnerships at Project Casting - a job board for the entertainment industry. As Head of Partnerships, I help businesses find the best talent for their influencer campaigns, photo shoots, and film productions. Creating these partnerships has enabled me to help businesses scale and reach their true potential. I'm excited to continue driving growth by connecting people with projects they're passionate about.

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