Keanu Reeves’ mystery role in Disney-Pixar’s Toy Story 4 sees the John Wick star portray a pint-sized hero toy, according to new details published by Observer.
Reeves is reportedly playing Duke Kaboom, who “hails from a place where discontinued toys are sent.” Porcelein shepherdess Bo Peep (Annie Potts), the one time girlfriend of sheriff cowboy doll Woody (Tom Hanks) before she fell victim to a yard sale, turns to Duke for help after her sheep have been taken from her.
In November, longtime Buzz Lightyear star Tim Allen let slip on The Tonight Show Reeves was voicing a new character he described as being only a few inches tall.
“They really will surprise you with the toys they came up with. Characters came back, new guys in it that are great. Keanu Reeves has got a great part,” Allen said.
“Actually, a little inside story: Even [Reeves] said — gentle, wonderful guy that he is — ‘This sounds too much like Buzz Lightyear.’ And his character does have an edge to that. And the guy said, ‘So we calmed him down a little bit,’ and they reminded me his toy is only that big.”
“I got a call which was really cool out the blue from the lovely people at Pixar and the creators of this number, this edition, or continuation of the story,” Reeves told Collider in December, forgoing details surrounding his character. “They pitched the character to me and then we spoke and they allowed me to kind of riff on it.”
Returning alongside Buzz and Woody are yodeling cowgirl Jessie (Joan Cusack) and anxiety-ridden dinosaur toy Rex (Wallace Shawn), joined by series newcomers Ducky (Keegan-Michael Key), Bunny (Jordan Peele) and makeshift toy Forky (Tony Hale).
Reported plot details that surfaced last week suggested the gang will embark on “one last trip” together while the neurotic Forky, who doesn’t believe he’s a plaything, gives Toy Story 4 the viewpoint of “an existential crisis through the eyes of a toy.”
Potts, who had to sit out 2010’s Toy Story 3, previously remarked she has a “big part” when telling Radio Times the film underwent significant rewrites.
“Most of [my work] is with Tom. I’ve never done any animation before where you got to work with the other actors,” Potts said. “[Normally it’s] just a single voice at a time. But because of the nature of what we’re doing, we’ve been having Tom and me together. That’s fun! That is really fun!”
When the project was first developed under then-director and Pixar CCO John Lasseter, Toy Story 4 was described in 2015 as a love story between Woody and Bo inspired in part by Lasseter’s own history with wife Nancy.
Lasseter later exited Pixar following “missteps” with other employees, after the project saw the departure of screenwriters Rashida Jones and Will McCormack (Celeste and Jesse Forever) in light of creative differences.
Lasseter conceived the story with Pixar Brain Trust members Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo), Pete Docter (Monsters, Inc.) and Lee Unkrich (Coco). First-time feature helmer and longtime Pixar employee Josh Cooley directs.
Observer adds the film will feature new original song “Lonesome Cowboy,” written by Academy Award winner Randy Newman. Newman created and performed original music for multiple Pixar productions, including the Toy Story trilogy, A Bug’s Life, Monsters, Inc. and Monsters University, and Cars and Cars 3.
Toy Story 4 opens June 21.