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Toy Story’s ‘Hyperreal’ Animation Drew Tom Hanks to Woody

Toy Story star Tom Hanks recalls how the Pixar film’s cutting-edge computer-generated imagery convinced him to sign on for the project.

Toy Story star Tom Hanks recently revealed that the 1995 Pixar classic’s ‘hyperreal’ animation is what drew him to the Woody role.

Hanks discussed why he agreed to voice Toy Story‘s cowboy doll protagonist in an interview with BBC Radio 1. “There were two things about it. One: it was like, ‘I’m not sure what this is,'” he said. “The computer-generated animation itself had a look that was hyperreal, you know? But then also the marriage of the outraged voice of mine inside this outraged body of a toy was — I mean, it was just undeniably great. So I was in from the get-go. They invited me over to sort of explain this odd unknown quantity of something that may or may not work. And I said, ‘Well, it looks fine to me. Let’s do it!’ And thus it began.”

Related: Tim Allen Wasn’t in Lightyear – but He Does Have a New ‘Tool Time’ Show

The Oscar-winning actor’s decision ultimately paid off, with Toy Story going on to enjoy overwhelming critical and commercial success. The animated film has since spawned three direct sequels and other tie-in media, including several TV shows, shorts and specials. Most recently, Pixar produced spinoff outing Lightyear about the Buzz Lightyear movie character who inspired the toy version in the original films. Hanks’ co-star Tim Allen wasn’t invited back to voice this incarnation of Buzz, a decision which confounded Hanks. “They didn’t let Tim Allen do it,” he said, following Lightyear‘s release. “I don’t understand that.”

Why Tim Allen Doesn’t Voice Buzz in Lightyear

Allen previously addressed the controversy surrounding the decision to replace him with Captain America star Chris Evans, pointing out the lack of any real connection between Lightyear and Toy Story and its sequels. He noted that a different creative team worked on the spinoff and admitted that when he first heard about the project, he assumed it was a live-action feature. Allen also added that, for him, Buzz isn’t really Buzz if he’s not partnered up with Woody the way he is in the core Toy Story franchise. “There’s really no ‘Toy Story Buzz’ without Woody,” he said. “[Lightyear] just doesn’t seem to have any connection to the toy.”

Related: If Lightyear Is Pixar’s Space Epic, Woody Is the Perfect Western

Despite the ongoing debate over Buzz being recast, Lightyear director Angus MacLane remains adamant that Allen wasn’t the right fit for the role on this occasion. “The tone [of Lightyear] is a lot different [to that of the Toy Story movies],” MacLane said in a recent interview. “Tim is hilarious, but this character wouldn’t work as well with him doing the Space Ranger voice. It would not be as emotional. It just changes the tone of the movie. We were going for more of a classic sci-fi film.”

All four Toy Story movies and the Lightyear spinoff are currently streaming on…

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