Carl Weathers previews TOY STORY OF TERROR!
Carl Weathers brings his recognizable voice to TOY STORY’s first television special: TOY STORY OF TERROR. When Woody, Buzz, and the gang stop at a motel, one of them goes missing and the rest must figure out what is going on before they suffer the same fate. I spent some time chatting with Carl recently, talking about how he got involved and why this is a TV special that kids and adults can all enjoy. Check it out!
Talking about TOY STORY that has been around for over a decade now – it’s crazy and exciting to see that great material is still being produced with these toys that we love. I wondered if you could talk about your involvement in TOY STORY OF TERROR, and what we’ll see?
I was approached through my agent about being involved in TOY STORY OF TERROR, and I, first of all, was flattered because it’s Pixar. Any actor knows and recognizes that the quality of the work and the fun in the work of Pixar is just outstanding. Then I was told that they were interested in doing this character of Combat Carl, and I thought, “oh wait a minute, this sounds like more fun than I could have imagined,” and then I was told “we also want to do this character called Combat Carl, Jr,” and it was explained to me what Combat Carl, Jr., was, and I just has to laugh. I was so funny right off the bat. When I got the material, it was like, oh are you kidding me? This is brilliant, and funny, and to be a part of TOY STORY and to work with the people at Pixar – it was like, come on!! It was a full house [laughs], okay? It was a full house. I was just ecstatic about being a part of it, and to get into the studio, and have such fun with the material, it just went on and on, and finally to get a chance to see it all put together, and to hear the great storytelling through the mouths of the characters, and see the great characterizations, and at the end of it, want to see more? I really wanted it to be longer. I knew it was going to be a half hour, but it was a really a brilliantly funny, enjoyable, sca-a-a-ry half hour! I’m really encouraged by this. You want to go through a career and do things that people like, and I’ve been fortunate enough to do a few things that I’ve seen and I’ve said “I really like that.” To see this and say “I liked this,” – I like to think I have good taste, and in this case, I hope other people do, too. It’s very funny, very entertaining, very charming, and just a great piece of storytelling.
What do the toys get themselves into this time?
It’s interesting to me in this particular case – if anyone has ever seen a horror movie, and if you could juxtapose that with your toys, and see your toys get into a true horror story, all of the twists and turns of a horror story, but at the end of it, not only if you can throw yourself back to childhood and look at it with the lights turned off, it will be real fun, chilling. Just before Halloween, to find yourself dressed as one of the characters would be fantastic! In the course of the story, all of the characters are in jeopardy because something weird is happening at the old motel, and finally we find out that these are really tough toys and how they can get out of a jam if they work together! I love that!
Putting together a show like this – what goes into shooting, how long is the process?
As an actor, because I’m so brilliant, I didn’t really have to spend a lot of time [laughs]. I’m so brilliant, I only had four days to do this [laughs]. I can only imagine because I direct live action – it takes a lot to put a show together. But when you think of animation and how many people are involved – the artists, the technicians, the director, the producers, and to schedule the actors in the studio. There’s a tremendous amount of man hours that go into this. I was involved last year – I did part of the work last year, I did part of the work this year – some at Disney in Los Angeles, and then of course at the campus up in Berkley. Clearly, those who are running the machine really know what they’re doing. When you look at it, it looks like it’s happening right in front of you and that’s the brilliance of TOY STORY OF TERROR.
Looking back at your career, everything you’ve gotten to do – is there a favorite medium or genre you’re drawn to?
I’ll tell you – great material. That’s really it. It doesn’t matter the venue, the genre, it doesn’t matter. If there’s great storytelling, and the collaborative spirit and talented people to work with, then it’s exciting. Then it’s a joy. It all begins with story. As long as I’ve been around, you know that – you finally get down to understanding if it’s not on the page, forget it. It’s going to be an uphill climb, and you’re going to get to something that’s pretty barren [laughs]. In this particular case, just reading the story was wonderful, and having a sense of this character gave me an idea of the possibilities here, and of course the TOY STORY franchise is what it is. To mess that up, I think you have to really go crazy.
I love that TOY STORY spans so many generations at this point – can be watched by adults and kids.
Absolutely! That’s a testament to me, to not only great storytelling, but really inventive minds. The Disney/Pixar brand is just one where it’s always been that way, really. It’s geared toward family. To get people that have the talent to be able to reach the adult and the child, which means they can reach the child in all of us, and we can sit together and watch this, and have fun, and talk about it, and be those characters, after the show is over and/or watch it over and over and over and enjoy it [laughs]. There’s a real genius in that.
TOY STORY OF TERROR! airs on ABC at 8/7c tonight – don’t miss it!