While struggling through kindergarten orientation, Bonnie takes a collection of odds and ends and creates a spork-based character that quickly becomes her favorite toy. This is the origin of Forky, the Tony Hale-voiced character in Pixar’s Toy Story 4.
What’s it like to join the 24-year old Toy Story franchise? “It’s overwhelming,” according to Hale. “Which helps because Forky is very overwhelmed.” That’s not to say that Hale didn’t feel at home taking on the character when he first met with the filmmakers. “[They] described him as he’s kind of nervous. I was like check! He asked a lot of questions. Check! And he’s kind of gullible to a fault. It’s like bingo!”
“I just love that he sees everything as new, and mainly I love that he’s a character that his home place is trash,” says Hale. “Then Woody comes along and shares that he has a greater purpose. I think just in life, anybody who might see themselves that way, they have worth. They have purpose. That’s just a beautiful message that Toy Story is giving us.”
Forky quickly became a fan favorite after his first appearance in the teaser trailer, something that doesn’t often happen with a brand new character in a franchise film. “I mean it when I say that I’m still kind of waking up to this,” says Hale. He also appreciates just how special Forky is. “There was a simplicity to Forky that I just absolutely fell in love with. [I love] the fact that he’s made from pipe cleaners and a spork and little popsicle sticks, and he brings Bonnie so much joy.”
Hale refuses to take the credit for bringing Forky to life. “We are such a small piece of the pie of what is involved in Toy Story. The amount of artistry and creativity and tremendous labor that has gone into this movie outside of us? The attention needs to be shining on that because they really have worked so hard. The movie is eye candy. It’s just such a visual masterpiece.”
If Forky wins you over, Toy Story 4 won’t be your only chance to see him. Producer Mark Nielsen is working with Hale on a ten episode series that will launch on Disney’s streaming service, Disney+. “He asks a lot of questions,” says Hale. “Questions that maybe people are embarrassed to ask.”
You can meet Forky for yourself when Toy Story enters theaters on June 21, 2019.
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