Toy Story of Terror Star Carl Weathers: I Still Haven't Done "The One" Project That Hits It Out of the Park For Me

Today sees the home video release of Disney and Pixar's Toy Story of Terror, which will air as [...]

Today sees the home video release of Disney and Pixar's Toy Story of Terror, which will air as part of Disney's Halloween programming in October.

The story, which lampoons horror movie tropes, includes the introduction of "Combat Carl," a G.I. Joe-inspired toy voiced by veteran action star Carl Weathers, as well as Combat Carl, Jr. -- his 1/3-scale counterpart.

Weathers joined to talk about his love for Pixar, the over-the-top characters he's been playing for decades now and the challenges of finding a role that's different from the last ten you've already done.

So I've always wondered: What quote do you get more on the streets: "Ain't gonna be no rematch" or "get a stew going?" know, that always depends on the age of the person doing the quote...but they both come up an awful lot.

It could be a lot worse. No one could care about anything I've done. As movies go, I'm a very fortunate guy.

Obviously there are times when an animated TV special wouldn't be so attractive. Why's this one a no-brainer?

Not only is it a wonderful cast but Pixar has done such great animation, such great work and the Toy Story franchise has been delivered with such charm and great storytelling that how could you want to miss that? It's impossible.

Do you think this particular role was written just for you?

It certainly would seem that way. The talented people at Pixar were so generous in so many ways that I think they probably were looking for Carl Weathers and I'm happy that they found him.

You think the early release will hurt it come Halloween?

You've got a company that has just done so well and has such a consistent history of delivering great product and the stories themselves and the storytelling has always been so good and it's been so well-thought-out and executed that I guess they have to have faith that they know what they're doing. History has proven that they do. So how can anyone question them? Certainly when it comes to animation with Pixar, the success there has been proven.

Also I think it's really such a wonderful story and the animation is so beautiful and the characters are so endearing that I can't see how it could fail, either. I think it could become those things that goes on and on.

When you get approached with something new, do you think to yourself, I want another Rocky, another Action Jackson, something where you can find it on TV all the time? I think of the Michael Caine/Gene Hackman theory from PCU.

It's wonderful as an actor and as an artist to turn on the television and see your work there literally 24/7. That says a lot about the quality of the work and the popularity of the projects I've been involve din and how well received they've been and that's fantastic. 

I never feel like I've really done the one, though, that hits it out of the park for me. I'm still tryign to create and find that one piece that I can say, "Oh, man, now I feel really great about this thing as maybe the pinnacle of the kind of work I want to be remembered for."

Is there a favorite kind of wink-and-a-nod moment you had in this movie? There are a bunch of buried Easter eggs.

I guess there were a lot of those in there. Just the fact that Combat Carl speaks in the third person is one of those kind of iconic, silly, odd, endearing qualities that a character would have. How many times in movies do you ever hear characters speak in the third person? It's almost non-existent. That, to me, could be a wink and a nod to how many characters I've played that are over the top, whether it be Apollo Creed or Dylan in Predator or Action Jackson or any of those characters. You can even look to Happy Gilmore or Arrested Development and see how over the top these characters are. So I think the creation of Combat Carl and Combat Carl, Jr., the creators were over the top too and hit it out of the park for me?

For Combat Carl, Jr., did you do a different voice or was the whole thing just computers?

No, they ran it through some sort of filter. I thought I was going to be doing a really different voice. I just tried to make the inflection maybe a little different on Combat Carl, Jr. but it's really just the brilliance of Pixar.

They really are one talented, beautiful group of people and when you tour that campus you can see how eclectic that group really is in terms of personality and what they all bring to the table and how well-run that shop is.

You've done a lot of things that are really enduring -- is there anything you'd like to revisit? I mean, there's a new Predator, new Arrested Development, a new movie about Apollo's grandson.

It all comes down to seeing it on the page and how's it's integrated in the story. In my mind's eye, I could create something of course but unless it's my creation then I don't know what it is until I see it.

So there's not any one thing that stands out and says, "Oh, my God, yes, sure, I want to go back and do that again," everything depends on story and how it's integrated into the entire piece.

You've played all of these very extreme alpha male type characters. As an artist, is it a challenge to seek out a script where you're doing more than just punching stuff?

Absolutely. Those are really, really, really a challenge to find, though, because we are in an industry where, in honesty, creativity ultimately is about box office or ratings. What people tend to want to do is to recreate something that has already been a success in this business because it's an expensive business and what people are constantly trying to do is to make sure they get a return on their money.

So taking chances on doing things that are different is not the norm, really. To find that material that isn't something that you've done already is really a challenge for me and I think it is for most actors because producers and directors very often are doing their damnedest to hedge their best, so it's, "Let's cast you things that we've seen you do before because that's what audiences are going to want to see you do." So finding that new material is tough.

Is it easier or harder as you get older and more separated from the idea of being an action hero?

For me personally it's not harder or easier. I just think in finding the material that number one, you're given the opportunity and number two, that sparks to you -- that's the challenge. And to find good material period is just a challenge.

To find things that resonate for you is a real challenge and quite honestly, much of the work that I've done, when people see it they're surprised that you can do that. It's only because they've only seen you in a particular light and their imaginations don't take them beyond that.

What do you think about joining a franchise like Toy Story when it's a moving train and you're not one of the originals? Does that make it easier or harder to make the character memorable and integrate him into the mythology?

It's easy for me to come up with an answer for that, but I think the proof is in the finished product, you know? When you look at Combat Carl and Combat Carl, Jr., I think you feel just as comfortable with them as you do with any of the other characters and can see them being as integral to the franchise as any of the other characters. To me, the success is in that. If that character fits in there as well or better than some of the other character and you can see that character or those characters having their own series, then success has been achieved.