Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Some fun facts from the Pixar 'Toy' box

Some fun facts from the Pixar 'Toy' box
Susan Wloszczyna, USA TODAY

1. Tinny, the one-man-band character from the Oscar-winning Pixar short Tin Toy, was supposed to be a star of 1995's Toy Story. But he was deemed too antiquated. A military action figure was suggested before filmmakers settled on a space toy.

2. Early on, new-fangled spaceman Buzz Lightyear was known as Lunar Larry. His first name pays tribute to Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin.

3. Old-fashioned cowpoke Woody began life as a ventriloquist dummy, but his hinged jaw was deemed too "creepy." John Lasseter, director of the first and second Toy Story films, instead turned him into a pull-string doll inspired by his own talking Casper the Friendly Ghost stuffed doll.

4. Woody's name honors Western actor Woody Strode.

5. In the original Toy Story, Woody's personality was abrasive and sarcastic. After a test screening went badly, he was reworked into the flawed yet dedicated leader that he is today.

6. Lasseter always wanted Tom Hanks to speak for Woody, explaining that the actor "has the ability to take emotions and make them appealing, even if the character, like the one in A League of Their Own, is down-and-out and despicable."

7.Billy Crystal was the first choice to be Buzz, but he turned the offer down — a decision he later regretted. He did play the one-eyed Mike Wazowski in 2001's Monsters, Inc.

8. Buzz started off as a Dudley Do-Right superhero given to grand gestures. But when Tim Allen joined the voice cast, the spaceman sounded more like his Tool Time guy from Home Improvement. "Tim came up with the idea of playing him like a blue-collar cop," says Lee Unkrich, director of Toy Story 3, who has worked on all the films.

9. Originally, Barbie was supposed to rescue Woody and Buzz from Sid, the vicious kid next door. But Mattel refused to grant permission for her use, only to let her appear in the sequels. Instead, Woody saved the day.

10. Toy Story was the first foray into animated voice work for Hanks and Allen.

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