Tom Hanks is officially the nicest man in showbiz, we are happy to confirm.
The Toy Story 4 star has shared what he says to Woody when they cross paths on the red carpet, and it’s absolutely adorable.
Having starred in four Toy Story films since 1995, the 62-year-old actor often encounters his animated counterpart at premieres and press launches, and he always takes the time to pose for photos with Woody, sharing a few words of encouragement with the Disney cast member inside the suit.
“There’s somebody in there [inside the costume],” reveals Hanks to Yahoo Movies UK.
“And I say ‘good to meet you man, listen - glad to have you here. If the roles were reversed, I’d be working just as hard as you do.’ They’re artists in their own right.
“They’re in showbusiness man, so I throw down my respect for them.”
Despite being Woody Pride for over two decades, Hanks says he still has difficulty convincing kids he’s the man behind the voice.
“The odd thing that happens is, you’ll be in an elevator with a child and their parents, and their parents say ‘Oh my god, oh it’s Woody!’ And they look down at their 6-year-old and say ‘this is Woody!’” shares Hanks.
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“And I’m just a guy with a backpack, and I dress like this. I’m not like Woody at all. But I try to get them to close their eyes and imagine Woody, then say something like ‘There’s a snake in my boot!’ or ‘C’mon guys, we’ve got to get back to Andy’s room!’ And it does the trick.”
He also recently revealed that Pixar relied on him to be the gatekeeper for Woody’s action and dialogue in Toy Story 4.
“Josh [Cooley - director], Jonas [Rivera - producer], and Mark [Nielsen - producer] and the other writers are there and I go ‘You know, guys, I’m not sure if this is really Woody-esque enough.’”
“And they go ‘We know! And we want you in order to fill it in.’ And I think ‘well, thank you for having that confidence in me.’”
Disney cast members have been part and parcel of the Disney magic ever since Disneyland opened in 1955. Walt Disney himself came up with the theatrical term “cast member” as a catch-all term for Disney Parks and Disney Store employees who work directly with the public. Duties can range from working on tills, security, tending to rides, or playing characters for meet and greets.
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They reportedly go through a rigorous training programme that involves learning about Disney heritage and tradition, as well park and store orientation, and the official “spiel” for each role. They’re also expected to be super-positive and as nice as possible, to both the young and young at heart.
Toy Story 4 is in cinemas from 21 June. Watch a trailer below.