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Toy Story

'Toy Story' stars say being animated is hard work

November 25, 1995
Web posted at: 9:30 p.m. EST

From Correspondent Dennis Michael

HOLLYWOOD, California (CNN) -- Even if "Toy Story" weren't a milestone in the art of computer animation, it still is a comedy with two of the biggest names in the business heading up the cast: Tom Hanks and Tim Allen. (501K QuickTime movie)

Hanks plays Woody, the cowboy doll; and Allen is the voice of space ranger Buzz Lightyear in "Toy Story." It was the first time either of the top-notch actors had tried working in animation. The two-time Oscar winner says it was one of the hardest jobs he's ever taken.

Tom Hanks

"Listen, I've made movies where I've carried guys through the jungle," says Hanks, "and I'm more tired now at the end of this day than at the end of those days."

-- Tom Hanks
(99K AIFF sound or 99K WAV sound)

Hanks goes on to describe what the physical demands of the role were, "Woody yells a lot (99K AIFF sound or 99K WAV sound), vocally there's a huge workout of your diaphragm and your vocal cords so much so, eventually I'd have to leave, I didn't have any voice left," he says, "but energetically wise too, it was like being up on the balls of my feet for four or five hours at a time, trying ... I'd be very tense because all this energy had to be communicated to the digital audio."

Allen found the work a little tense as well because in the film's early stages, he didn't visualize what the final film would look like.

Tim Allen

"Even when I first saw it I thought, 'I don't know if kids are gonna buy this, adults especially not, it's too high tech, it looks too much like a video game,'" Allen recalls. "..and they got the second generation, third generation, it started looking slicker and slicker and then they finally finished with a shot of the soldiers going 'one, two, three, let's go!' and they went down the rope, wow! What a view!" (187K AIFF sound or 187K WAV sound)


Hanks was also amazed at the quality of the computer- generated animation as the film took shape. "The shading and the light and its starting to look crisp and clean it looks surreal and real, it had a really neat 3-D quality to it without that fuzzy eyeball stuff."

The hardest part of the job, says Hanks, was trying to explain what he was doing to outsiders.

"They say 'well what does it look like?' and I say, 'well it's computer-generated and incredibly deep focus and it's sorta three dimensional and it not,'" he says. "It's seamless. There's no herky-jerkiness to it,' and they say 'is it like Gumby and Pokey? A claymation kinda thing?' No, no, it's not Gumby and Pokey at all, it's another thing that defies description."

You only hear Hanks and Allen in "Toy Story" but it's the seeing that leads to believing.

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