John Morris says he was literally walking between classes on the UCLA Campus, coming out of Macgowan Hall, the theater arts building, when his cell phone rang four years ago, and it was Pixar’s Kevin Reher, calling out of the blue. Reher told him his old gang was interested in getting him to re-up as Andy, the boy to whom Woody and Buzz and the rest of the “Toy Story” toys belong in the “Toy Story” movies, for “Toy Story 3.”
“They had to track me down,” recalls Morris, now 25. “It had been eight or nine years since ‘Toy Story 2,’ so when he said, ‘We’d love to have you come in and see where your voice is,’ I was amazed and thrilled. I found out that Andy is now 18 and about to go to college, and I felt pretty confident that I could play that, since I was just finishing college myself. When I came in, the directors explained that maintaining continuity as much as possible with the cast was important to them.”
Morris started the first “Toy Story” when he was seven, so “this has been going on the majority of my life,” he points out. He wound up going in for recording duties in Los Angeles, and later, in New York – where he moved for two years – and finally, back in San Francisco, his first and current home town, a quick drive to Pixar headquarters. Having graduated in 2007, he aims to continue doing voice work as well as theater and who-knows-what else. He comments, “With a lot of other trilogies, the movies have come out more back-to-back, every few years. But ‘Toy Story’ has had this incredibly epic timeline, and that’s made it even more special in a way, because kids have grown up with it in real time.” Starting with John Morris.
And by the way, no need to worry about whether “Toy Story 3” lives up to the first two. It is a great film, funny and clever and poignant, a movie to love. Parents, have your hankies ready.