'Toy Story 3': Q&A with the voice of Andy, John Morris

toy-story-andyImage Credit: Disney/Pixar; Courtesy of John MorrisJohn Morris was seven when he was cast as the voice of Andy in Toy Story. He went to an open call for boys, who were each told to bring their one favorite toy. He brought his entire X-Men collection. “I remember my mom saying, ‘No, no, no, you have to choose one toy, and I was just like, ‘Unheard of!’ I brought 45 X-Men figures and dumped them all out on the floor,” he says. “I remember [the Pixar team] bursting out in laughter. I couldn’t choose just one. I had to bring them all. It was a part of a set. I think Pixar sort of got that. They were just like, ‘Yeah, he had to bring all of his toys.'”

Morris had to read for the role again when it came time for the first sequel (he was 13), and once more for Toy Story 3, which hits theaters today. Pixar needed to know if he could still capture Andy’s spirit and imagination. After speaking with Morris — now 25, and living in the San Francisco Bay Area where his dream is to bounce back-and-forth between theater (Berkeley Rep and A.C.T.) and voice work (Pixar and Lucasfilm) — it was clear that the 2007 graduate of UCLA’s Theater Arts program has managed to hold onto that little boy’s enthusiasm, not to mention his love of toys.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Did the first film change the way you looked at your toys as a child?
JOHN MORRIS:
Definitely. I remember when the first film came out, I would play, and then I would leave my toys, and I would close the door, and then I’d crack the door open just to peek really quickly to see if they were moving. [Laughs] Even before working on the film, I had done voices for my toys. When I started getting Toy Story toys, I would do the voices for them from the film.

Do you have a favorite souvenir from the franchise?
I have this Woody doll from the first film. He has a guitar, and you press a button, and he plays all these different songs. I remember underneath his boot, I wrote “Andy” with a Sharpie, like in the film. [Laughs] That’s something I’m gonna treasure for the rest of my life and show my kids. I have three boxes of Toy Story toys labeled, in a special place. A lot of the Toy Story and Toy Story 2 toys that I did receive as gifts or bought are still mint in the box. I think they’re gonna stay that way.

One of my favorite things on the Up DVD was the featurette showing co-director Pete Docter coaching the boy who voiced Russell. Did John Lasseter do anything special to get you in the moment?
Yes. Especially the parts with a lot of energy or laughter. I remember him sparking me saying, “And you’re even more excited!” and getting into it himself with laughter. He would start laughing, then I would start laughing, then he would start laughing. It was this great exchange. I hadn’t had a lot of acting training, I had had some. It was more about playing, imagining, and just having fun.

So is working with Pixar as awesome as we all think it is?
It is. First off, going to Pixar Studios in Emeryville to record is an amazing experience. There are toys everywhere, people are racing around on Razor scooters. Everyone just has a huge smile on their face. Everyone’s happy to be there. There are candy jars everywhere. That alone is just such a great experience. They are so warm, and welcoming, and generous. They’ve told me I’m part of the Pixar family. Something my mom and I have always talked about is that at the end of every Pixar film, there’s a section in the credits called production babies. It’s babies that have been born to Pixar employees during production of the film. I think that’s just such a Pixar touch. They recognize how important their families are and all the ways in which their family supports them as they’re making the film, and they make the films with their families in mind. They really have family and kids at the heart of their company.

Do you have a favorite memory?
One story that comes to mind: I was on a plane, it was between Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3, so I would say 2003 or 2004. There was this little girl sitting next to me with her parents, and she had little Woody and Buzz dolls in her lap. She was doing the voices, and playing with them, and laughing. It was just like a moment of pure joy for her — and watching her. I didn’t tell her or her parents that I was Andy. It didn’t feel fully necessary. Just to see the impact that Toy Story had on her life was really such a gift, an amazing moment of recognition. She was having a blast with these toys, they were obviously two of her favorites. Wow. It just sort of hit me.

I know Tim Allen and Tom Hanks have both talked about how hard it can be for a child to comprehend that they’re the voice of Buzz and Woody. It must be tough to hold back though. You want to share in that joy, but you also don’t want to burst the child’s bubble.
It gets a little lost in translation. “You were the voice? You were the toy?” That’s such a good point. You don’t want to get them confused. [Laughs]

Have they ever made an Andy doll?
You know, it’s interesting. They did make an Andy doll. I guess it was a very limited edition by a Japanese company, and I don’t have one. I would absolutely love one. [Laughs] They were on eBay for like a second and then they were gone. I’ve been looking around through the Toy Story 3 toys, and I’m sort of looking for an Andy toy. That would be great to have.

At least a special one-a-kind Andy just for you.
I agree. That would be awesome. They should get on that. [Laughs]

Read More: Owen Gleiberman reviews Toy Story 3
10 Pixar Classics: EW’s movie critics rank ‘em

Comments (85 total) Add your comment
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  • Madd

    That’s so awesome that they had the same actor play Andy. Most other animation companies probably would’ve replaced him with, say, Justin Bieber so they could make more money.
    I’m going to see Toy Story 3 today, and I am beyond excited. My friends and I are hoping we won’t be the only child-less adults in the theater.

    • adam

      i assure you, you won’t be. i know waaaay too many other 20-year-olds that want to see this. i grew up on this film, and it looks like a winner.

      • James

        and 30 year olds

      • Seqvere

        My wife and I are seeing it late, to enjoy as child-less a crowd as possible, actually…

      • Ana170

        I assure you, there’ll be some 40+ years olds in there (without kids) as well.

      • Johnification

        I’ll be childlessly enjoying a late-ish show, too! Saw Wall-E at like 10pm, all 20something adults, best Pixar audience ever!

      • texangal

        and 50 year olds!

      • DE

        I’m 51, and I’ll be the youngest of my friends to see “Toy Story 3″ in the next few weeks.

      • Jenn

        My own daughter is now 19, had both a Woody and a Buzz doll and we are going this weekend!

      • Vicki

        My friends and I (ages 17-18) just got back from a 6:30 showing in which half the audience was over 12 and w/o kids…the line for the next showing was made completely up of teens and twenty-somethings

    • Dewkitty

      My husband and I are 40+ with kids grown and on their own. Going to see Toy Story 3 was what he wanted for Father’s Day, so it’ll just be him and me there!

    • Meg

      My brother and I went to the midnight premiere (18 and 21 respectively). Everyone else there were high school-aged and older, and I even talked to one of the managers–he said that the most people buying Toy Story 3 tickets are high school/college-aged, not families. You won’t be alone.

    • Emerald

      This movie is timeless….its audience is anyone human. I am taking my 4 & 5 year old to a 9:40pm showing to try to avoid it being too crowded, but I think it will be packed even late.

    • Melanie

      Two kid-less disney freaks ages 28/29 will be seeing it tomorrow.

      • Chris

        Pixar not disney -it’s little to some, but huge to me! Pixar is the best company in the world to work for, hope you guys enjoyed the movie!

    • Devin

      saw the midnight showing. not one child. all college students and over (maybe due to the hour, but i’ve seen other ‘kids movies’ at midnight that are packed with elmentary school kids). but our theater was packed. it was an amazing experience.

    • Madd

      At the showing I went to, most of the crowd seemed to be in their mid-twenties like me.
      Anyone who saw it, wasn’t it AMAZING?! My friends and I were somehow crying of both laughter and sadness at the same time.

  • orville

    Thanks for this. These sorts of stories make me love and respect Pixar even more. The production babies credit is so wonderful–I’m going to have to look for it now. And I love that he wrote “Andy” on the boot of his very own Woody doll.

    • Heather P

      I noticed it after watching Finding Nemo. After re-watching all the other films, sure enough it has a list of 80 or so babies born to the crew. A very nice touch.

  • sarcastic0fantastic

    Toy Story 3 <3

  • Girl

    Omg. Haha. He looks like Andy (his hair at least) Andy was a total cutie in the third toy sotry (: The end was really D;

    • Rachel

      Haha I’m glad I’m not the only one who thought Andy was cute :)

      • Matt

        Same here. Glad I’m not alone.

  • kelsey

    This was so adorable. It’s so heartening that Pixar is using the same voice actor for Andy in all 3 movies. It just shows how committed they are, and how much they like him as a voice actor. He sounds very sweet!

  • Grace

    I grew up watching Toy Story and Andy is going to college the same year I am! I am so excited to see this movie!

  • Lorie

    Cool interview!

  • Larry

    This will probably be the 12th winner in a row for Pixar. How rare is that? It’s unheard of I think. Disney made a number of fine animated films in their prime but this is something completely different. Compare Pixar product to Dreamworks, put them back to back and you will see that Pixar scripts and story are as different from Shrek as old 1930’s popeye compared to the cheap 1950’s popeye cartoons made for TV. It’s Porterhouse steak verses day old tunafish.

    • Stevex

      Jeffrey Katzenberg (Dreamwork’s animation czar) WISHES he had half the creativity, imagination, and attention to detail that John Lassiter has. Thank God that Steve Jobs runs Disney and leaves Pixar alone to do what they want.

  • Alyssa

    Im 21 and me my mom and grandma are going with no kids. I was 6 when the first one came out. 10 when the second and now Im 21 for this one. I love Toy Story.

    • Tony

      Im 21 too. good times.

  • AshleyBrooke

    I think I just developed a crush on this guy. And I’m only 2 years older than him, and he’s making me as well as the previews, want to rush out to the theater and see it. Plus now I want to work at Pixar.

    • Ambee

      All of that, except I’m a year younger than John. Let’s go get ourselves new roles at Pizar, Ashley.

      • Ambee

        *Pixar

  • Kathy

    This article just made me happy. John Morris sounds like a delightful young man. I wish him the best in all he does. Thanks for brightening my day! : >

  • Taylor

    Wow, it took 4 years to make the first Toy Story? That’s a little surprising.

    • Ana170

      That’s average for an animated film although Dreamworks does seem to get there’s done faster.

      • Stevex

        Yes, and it shows in the final product.

    • NT

      It was the first animated movie…so it was alot more difficult then.

    • Benjamin

      Haha it took 4 years to complete Toy Story 3 as well… according to The Straits Times (a Singaporean newspaper).

      • Lynette

        haha a The Straits Times haha rofl funny

  • francis von bonerzhard

    this movie is going to destroy at the box office. buckle up for toy story 4: TOOOOOYYYSS IIIIIIIINNNN SSSSPPPPPAAAACCCCCCCCEEEE

  • Bethany

    I just love that he did the voice for all 3 movies. I love Disney, and I absolutely cannot wait to see Toy Story 3!

  • Beth

    What a great story, and a great actor, and a great group of filmmakers. I can’t wait to see this movie this weekend!

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