Keanu Reeves might be the internet’s favorite 2019 icon, but the actor’s star power didn’t guarantee his casting in “Toy Story 4,” as the film’s producers recently told the Hollywood Reporter.
Despite being on a roll with recent hits in “John Wick 3” and “Always Be My Maybe,” Reeves was but one of many Canadian actors asked to read for a “Toy Story 4” voice role. The actor who was to be offered the part for “Canadian daredevil” action figure Duke Caboom was selected from blind audio recordings. As it turned out, Reeves was the easy pick.
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Despite its animated production, Reeves took the role extremely seriously, and trekked to Pixar’s Emeryville headquarters to better understand the inner workings of Caboom’s identity.
As producer Mark Nielsen recalled, “He was like, ‘What is this guy about? What is he afraid of?’ He really wanted to dig deep into this character.”
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By lunch, as Reeves, Nielsen, producer Jonas Rivera and director Josh Cooley continued discussing the action figure, Reeves had an idea for a hallmark of the toy’s character: a propensity for incessantly striking poses.
“He climbed on a table and was striking poses in the middle of the atrium,” said Nielsen, “and we thought, that is Duke Caboom!”
The role may not have been as extreme a stretch for Reeves as for other actors. Caboom and Reeves share some key similarities in that they’re both motorcycle-loving action stars from Canada. It just so happens that only one of them is made of plastic.