The actor is joining Tom Hanks, Tim Allen and Joan Cusack as one of the voice actors on the long-awaited animated sequel.
With his deep, honeyed voice, Keanu Reeves has always seemed like the perfect fit to voice a character in an animated movie.
And yet despite lending his dulcet baritone to video games for his Matrix series and for the Richard Linklater directed sci-fi thriller A Scanner Darkly, Reeves has never starred in a kids’ cartoon. Until now.
The actor will voice a top-secret new character in Toy Story 4, according to star Tim Allen, Deadline reports. Speaking to The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Allen revealed that Reeves has a “great part”.
“They really will surprise you with the toys they came up with,” Allen, who voices space cadet hero Buzz Lightyear, said. “Characters came back, new guys in it that are great. Keanu Reeves has got a great part.”
Allen added: “Actually, a little inside story [about Reeves]: Even he said – gentle, wonderful guy that he is – ‘This sounds too much like Buzz Lightyear’. And his character does have an edge to that. And the guy said, ‘So we calmed him down a little bit,’ and they reminded me his toy is only that big.”
That sounds just like Reeves, a man who is famously one of the nicest men in Hollywood.
Stories of his generosity are greatly, greatly unexaggerated: Reeves has done everything from giving £15,560 to a set builder in need on Christmas; picked up a woman whose car had broken down on the side of the road and drove her 50 miles out of his way; has been filmed standing up for women on public transport like a gentleman; buys lunch for all the crew on his film sets; and once, at the wrap party for his movie Daughter of God, he stood in line along with everyone else – in the pouring rain – to get into the venue. (That evening, he also located one of his colleague’s missing credit cards and returned it to them.)
Reeves is verily a prince among (Hollywood) men, and we can’t think of anyone better to join the cast of Toy Story 4. Though the plot of the movie is still heavily shrouded in secrecy, we know that it involves Bonnie adding a new toy called Forky to the playroom, and all the gang – Woody, Buzz, Mr and Mrs Potato Head, Jessie – going on a road trip adventure to “show Woody how big the world can be for a toy”. Written by Stephany Folsom, the film will be directed by Josh Coley (Riley’s First Date?), produced by Jonas Rivera (Inside Out, Up) and Mark Nielsen (Inside Out).
What we do know about the movie, is that it is guaranteed to make you cry. Every instalment of the Toy Story franchise has upped the ante when it comes to emotional material. But if you thought Toy Story 3 had a heartbreaking ending, wait till you see Toy Story 4, its stars say.
“Yes, I gotta resist getting emotional,” Allen told The Talk recently. “I don’t want to give it away, but this is an incredibly great story. It is so emotional, it’s so funny, it’s so big, the idea they’ve come up with, I’m startled. I couldn’t even get through the last scene.
“I would love to be a Washington leaker. I just can’t do it. I can’t give any more away. They’ve got great characters but a couple of scenes toward the end were really hard to get through.”
Hanks, for his part, had to record his final scenes with his back to the producers in the animation booth.
“The way you record Toy Story, you’re in a room with the team that has created it. When I went in for my last day of recording, I wanted to have my back to them, because usually you’re facing him so you can look right up and you can talk about it. But I didn’t want to see them and I wanted to pretend they couldn’t see me.”
He added: “When I realised what they were going for, I realised, ‘Oh, this is a moment in history.’”
After all we’ve been through this year, we’re more than ready to cry at a cartoon. Give us Keanu Reeves in Toy Story 4, and give it to us now!
Toy Story 4 will be in cinemas in the UK on 21 June 2019.
Images: Getty, Pixar