By Jose Jara
The toys hit the road in “Toy Story 4” alongside friends—new and old—foes and, of course, Forky. Filmmakers welcomed Christina Hendricks, Keanu Reeves and Ally Maki to the toy box today, revealing the three new characters they help bring to life.
Among the new faces is GABBY GABBY, an adorable, talking pull-string doll from the 1950s. But unfortunately for her, a manufacturing defect in her pull-string voice box has left her sounding anything but adorable. She has spent more than 60 years forgotten in the depths of a jam-packed antique store—her only companions are a band of voiceless ventriloquist dummies. Gabby Gabby knows someone will want her if only she can find a working voice box to repair hers.
Gabby Gabby is voiced by Christina Hendricks. “It became obvious right away that Christina was the perfect actress to play Gabby Gabby,” says director Josh Cooley. “She has the ability to sound inviting and friendly, then subtly become cold and terrifying in just a few words. It still gives me chills when I see Gabby’s introduction in the film. Also, Christina told me that she preferred playing with ventriloquist dummies over dolls as a kid. That’s when I knew it was meant to be.”
DUKE CABOOM is a 1970s toy based on Canada’s greatest stuntman. Riding his powerful Caboom stunt-cycle, Duke is always prepared to show off his stunt poses with confidence and swagger. However, Woody learns quickly that Duke has an Achilles heel: He has never been able to do the awesome stunts advertised in his own toy commercial. For years, Duke has been sitting in an antique store, constantly reliving the failures of his tragic past.
Duke Caboom is voiced by another great Canadian, Keanu Reeves. “The first time Josh [Cooley] and I talked with Keanu about the role, Keanu became Duke Caboom,” says producer Jonas Rivera. “Keanu was asking great questions that dug deep to find the soul of the character. At one point he stood up on the table in the middle of Pixar’s atrium and struck poses while proclaiming victory. It was so funny. It’s all in the movie and it’s all Keanu.”
GIGGLE MCDIMPLES is a miniature plastic doll from the 1980s Giggle McDimples toy line. Giggle is Bo Peep’s best friend. Small enough to perch on Bo’s shoulder, Giggle is Bo’s confidant, supporter and advisor. “Giggle is Bo’s Jiminy Cricket—we’re able to get insight on Bo through their relationship together,” says Cooley. “Giggle is definitely the smallest toy in the Toy Story universe. She’s been stepped on, vacuumed up, and probably put up a kid’s nose in her time.”
Ally Maki voices the tiny character. “Giggle McDimples literally pops on the screen because of Ally’s personality and infectious energy,” says Cooley. “Nobody can laugh like Ally Maki.”
BENSON is a classic, antique ventriloquist dummy, and Gabby Gabby’s right hand. He leads a small group of ventriloquist dummies that serve as Gabby’s henchmen. With no person to give them a voice, these silent toys patrol the antique store with a looming quietness that is inherently unsettling.
“The dummies are, by far, some of the creepiest characters we’ve ever created,” says producer Mark Nielsen. “Our animators really leaned into the truth in materials for how our ventriloquist dummies move. Dummies’ bodies are soft with no structure, so our dummies’ arms just dangle and their legs bend backwards. Throw in their fixed expressions with their wide eyes and big hinged jaws and they’re nightmare material—in the best way possible.”
LEADING THE WAY — In Disney•Pixar’s “Toy Story 4,” Bonnie’s beloved new craft-project-turned-toy, Forky, declares himself trash and not a toy, so Woody takes it upon himself to show Forky why he should embrace being a toy. Featuring Tom Hanks as the voice of Woody, and Tony Hale as the voice of Forky, “Toy Story 4” opens in U.S. theaters on June 21, 2019.