Gary Rydstrom Takes a Hawaiian Vacation
GR: Well, Angus MacLane, who is the supervising animator, is one of the great Pixar animators and knows Toy Story inside and out, so it was fun to watch him work with his animation crew. He really knows how Woody and Buzz move, especially Buzz. He's a very Buzz-centric animator. So each toy does have its own way of moving. Ken was the most fun and Angus was instrumental in coming up with his cool but stiff movement. There's a shot where Ken has run and jump up to the window and watch Bonnie and her mom drive off. It was a thrill to see how far we could push it. The other thrill was we had this idea of having Buzz do a fire dance with a glow-stick. And the animator studied fire dancing for a very long time to get every nuance. It's a short gag but an animated tour de force.
BD: Plus you get to do more with Bonnie's toys.
GR: I love Pricklepants and Timothy Dalton and something tickled us about having Prickle Pants in various costumes because as a thespian you'd figure he'd dress up and be Olivier. Eric Benson, who's one of our story artists, did a drawing of Pricklepants wearing a coconut bra but using a peanut. It was perfect. I think it would make a great toy to have Prickle Pants in a peanut coconut bra. I like that image. And he also plays the humuhumunukunukuapuaa (Hawaiian State fish), so he's fun to play with. Buttercup makes a good partner for Ham but is too cool to dress up.
BD: You've obviously done sound for the Toy Story movies. What was it like to wrap yourself around all of it?
GR: It was great to work with all the actors because I'd never met Don Rickles or Wally Shawn or Tom Hanks. And it's fun that they come in and know their characters so well. I especially remember Estelle Harris, who does Mrs. Potato Head, having a deep, deep love for her character. In fact, I remember having her yell at Mr. Potato Head and she resisted because she explained she loved him too much to be cruel that way. It's nice to see such ownership of a character and she provided a backstory about how she was alone for a long time and Mr. Potato Head came into her life and her mother thought she'd never get married. But she got Mr. Potato and he's the love of her life. It was very touching.
GR: She really takes charge, but we had fun dressing him up. He looks pretty slick in all his Hawaiian outfits, but we went overboard with all of this other outfits. The diving outfit and his adventure outfit are really a bit too much. And he has more costume changes than Cher.
BD: What was most fulfilling and surprising for you?
GR: It was really fulfilling to work with Tom Hanks and Tim Allen and see first-hand what they bring to a role, especially Hanks, who we had to record quickly. For me, Rickles is really a hero and we had to sneak away twice to get some more Rickles times because we had more lines for him to record. What was surprising was that we wanted to make it a gag short, but we also wanted to give it a little story so in a way it's a condensed romantic comedy. I was surprised we could wedge that part of the story in.
Bill Desowitz is senior editor of AWN & VFXWorld.