Voice actor says he is ‘Toy Story’s’ Andy

  • By Yvonne Villarreal Los Angeles Times
  • Friday, July 23, 2010 10:11am
  • Life

LOS ANGELES — His own toy story began 18 years ago. John Morris was a little boy, just 7 years old, when he became part of Hollywood history.

He wasn’t even paying attention, he was too busy playing with some X-Men action figures to notice that he had won the voice role of Andy, the earnest and imaginative youngster at the center of Pixar’s “Toy Story.”

“It was an open casting call for boys,” Morris, now 25, recalled. “I knew I was there for a job. But, I mean, at that moment, it was just about me and my toys. I was playing and was in my own world. I think that’s what got me the part. I was Andy.”

“Toy Story 3” has pulled in $459 million worldwide since its June 18 release and $1.31 billion as a franchise.

More than that, the newest edition has earned some of the strongest reviews of any major studio release this year. No one marvels at that more than Morris.

“Usually, people grow out of things, they move on,” Morris said. “It’s just amazing how many people still find the magic in these films. The stories are amazing. The characters … they’re like family. They hold a special place in your heart.”

Directed by Lee Unkrich and starring the familiar voices of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Don Rickles, Wallace Shawn and the rest of the playroom gang, “Toy Story 3” centers on Andy on the eve of his big move to college. As he packs up for the future, he must deal with a bit of the past: Should he pack away his beloved toys in the attic or just send them to the curb?

“It’s a moment where childhood meets adulthood,” Morris said. “Hanging on becomes harder and harder and you sort of have to let some things go. It’s something everyone can relate to.”

Morris was faced with the same decision with his own playthings just before starting college at UCLA in 2003. He said that, for him, a My Buddy doll was his most prized childhood pal but that there were plenty of others in the emotional toy box.

“Some of them I gave to my little sister,” Morris said. “Some of them I saved in the attic to give to my future kids. The rest I sort of displayed on a shelf. You don’t realize how hard it is to let some of them go until you’re faced with it. You kind of just want to play with them one last time.”

The toys-coming-to-life fantasy of the Disney/Pixar franchise holds a special power over young audiences and the boy who gave voice to Andy was no different after the first film opened in 1995.

“After the movie came out, I remember I would set my toys up,” Morris said. “I’d leave them a certain way on my bed, and I’d crack the door open to see if anything was happening, if they were moving or something. I was always hoping to catch them in the act.”

When it came time to voice the last scene in this newest installment, Morris said it was almost like saying goodbye to childhood.

“It was such an emotional scene,” Morris said. “It’s like suddenly you’re an adult and you have to say goodbye to being a kid and all that childlike wonder. And it was emotional on a whole other level for me because this character has been my life. There was so much depth in that scene for me. I mean, we grew up together, he and I.”

Talk to us

More in Life

Most of the rooms boast views of Lake Stevens and the Cascade Range. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Victorian home puzzle inspired this Lake Stevens mansion

The 10,490-square-foot Mansion Inn is a massive secret that’s perfect for a mini getaway.

Caption: The years come and go, but some birthdays warrant extra reflection. (Jennifer Bardsley)
Milestone birthdays make parents ask: where did the time go?

From cake frosting in their hair to the car keys in their hands, it all goes by so fast.

Frankfurt's Romerberg Square looks old, but the half-timbered buildings were rebuilt in 1983, four decades after bombs destroyed the originals during World War II.
Rick Steves’ Europe: Experience modern Germany in Frankfurt

For years, Frankfurt was a city to avoid, but today, its no-nonsense energy makes it worth a look.

Budget charges $250 for calibrating a camera. Is that legit?

Budget sends Tony Parise a $250 bill for recalibrating a camera on the windshield of his rental car. But he says nothing happened to it. Does he still have to pay?

2023 Honda Pilot AWD TrailSport SUV (Honda)
2023 Honda Pilot AWD TrailSport SUV

If you are the adventurer type, the 2023 Honda Pilot AWD TrailSport SUV is right up your alley.

This midcentury Windsor style chair features the crest and colors of Harvard University. It sold for $438, more than twice its estimate, at a Bonhams Skinner auction.
This chair brings together two icons of colonial America

This Harvard University Windsor chair is just one of many variations on so-called stick furniture.

Home & Garden Briefly: Arboretum to host ‘poetry in the trees’ exhibit

Arboretum to host ‘poetry in the trees’ exhibit In honor of National… Continue reading

Bold graphics on the 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R body side are optional. (Ford)
2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R is a big sandbox toy for grownups

The Raptor, previous king of capability, is now the ‘regular’ Raptor, dethroned by this new arrival.

Steve Klein moves some of his glasswork into place as fellow guest curator Meg Holgate watches during installation of A Precarious Edge at Schack Art Center on Sunday, March 19, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Exhibits shine light on natural beauty on the edge of loss

Artists worried about climate change work ‘for future generations’

Most Read