Pixar studios thought they had turned the page of Toy Story by completing the trilogy in 2010. As sometimes happens to children who do not want to grow up, they took the old toys out of the closet to give them a new life with a fourth and final episode .
Woody the cowboy, Buzz Lighty the space adventurer, and their friends who made Pixar’s fame almost stayed under a thick layer of dust. But some of the animators at the studio could not help wondering: “What’s next for Woody? Josh Cooley, director of the fourth installment, told AFP during a visit to Pixar’s California headquarters in Emeryville, just off San Francisco.
Nine years later, Toy Story 4 takes up the story where the third episode left off: Andy, the little boy whom Woody was the favorite for years, becomes an adult and bequeaths all his toys to a little girl, Bonnie .
The answer to the famous question was: “Woody finds himself in a different room, with another child, different toys, and so on. It’s something he has never experienced, and we felt it was the beginning of a new story worthy of Toy Story, “said Josh Cooley.
Thus was born the last film of a series started in 1995 by Pixar, a studio on which very few bet at the time, well before it was bought by the giant Disney in 2006 with billions of dollars.
Even if it was a film whose heroes were toys, the big manufacturers like Mattel or Hasbro had refused that their products, like the famous Barbie dolls or GI Joe, appear in the cartoon.
The saga, however, went from success to success, and his fourth episode, end of June on the screens, should not be an exception.
“Pixar built on Toy Story, ” and Woody, Buzz Lightyear and Rex “are Pixar’s Mickey, Donald, and Goofy,” says Cooley.
“I felt tremendous pressure, I could not sleep, but on the other hand it was an honor, because I really like these characters, this universe and this story,” says the director.
Bret Parker, who is in charge of animating Woody and Buzz, also says she has been under this “pressure”. “You work with famous people,” she laughs, “everyone knows their personality, their way of moving. “
“Strong, innovative and daring”
Toy Story creator John Lasseter will not have had the opportunity to say goodbye to his famous characters. Embroiled in multiple accusations of sexual harassment, whoever made Pixar a world-famous brand had to leave last year as Creative Director of Disney Animation.
“But there is still DNA and the love of the toys and the characters he has breathed into,” says Toy Story 4 producer Jonas Rivera. The universe has still evolved since 2010. “Pixar’s second and third generations of filmmakers have taken up the torch and have made it a bit appropriate,” he says.
We do not change a team that wins and the little Bergère takes the service in a key role, this time in a much more feminist version. The porcelain doll in love with Woody has no children, but does not care. And when she is scrapped after being chipped, she seizes the freedom arm-in-body to drive an electric car and handle her shepherd’s stick with an agility worthy of Mulan.
Becki Tower, who worked on the animation of this character, is delighted to have been able to give it this modern twist. But if she now appears as a “strong, innovative and daring” woman, it’s not a reaction to the #metoo movement or going public, she says.
“We’re in a time when it’s a hot topic, but that’s not why we did it. We just wanted to tell a great story, “says Becki Tower.