Bo Peep is a robust independent toy that has proven her independence. In this Annie Potts Toy Story 4 Interview, she sits down to share with us what it was like to be offered the role 25 years ago, and who Bo Peep has evolved to be.
Annie Potts Interview
How did it feel not working off a script?
So it was like going on a scavenger hunt and Easter Egg hunt, but with a guide, you know. It was like, well, and next. So you see, it was a revelation each time I came back in. And not really until about 6 months ago I think did I, I started to understand how big the role was because the piecemeal fashion in which we had built it.
And you know, sometimes there would be 6 months lag time before I came back again. Sometimes I would forget. I’ve been working on this for over 4 years, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I saw it. And I was sort of knocked out when I saw what they had created of (Bo Peep). There was a whole team of people who were called Team Bo, and they were in touch of defining everything about her.
How she might move, how she would move her eyes, what she would think. I mean, everything about these (films) are so carefully considered. That’s why they’re masterpieces. But that kind of care and consideration, it would be nice to take full credit for who she is, but I’m so thrilled to just have been her voice. It’s pretty nice.
Going off of that, as she is the strong independent woman, is that the message you’re hoping the audience walks away with?
I have the privilege of presenting those qualities that are so admirable and inspiring and everything. Bo’s been knocked around quite a bit and, just kept on going and in a cheerful, inventive way. I mean, this girl drives a Skunk Mobile. No one is going to screw with her. She’s figured out a way to make it happen. I mean, she’s, so yes, I think it’s fantastic for young women and young boys to see this.
It’s like yes, this is what a woman is, and to young girls, this is what a woman can be, and is. I’m just thrilled to voice those qualities. It is such a privilege when you’re giving positive messages to, especially children.
How did you feel about getting the call to come back? Did you even have to think about it?
Oh God No. Oh No, when Pixar calls, you say yes. And I would illustrate that point. Years ago, when the first one came to me, my agent just called me and said you know, Annie, they want to do a voice in the first every completely computer-animated feature-length film. And I was like, “I don’t even understand what you just said, and I am busy.” I had a Toddler, I had a teenager. I was doing a series. I was like, “Nah.” “Well, they’ve sent you a disc, you know, just take a look at it. There are some shorts that they’ve done.”
I was like (snoring). OK. So I totally forgot about it. They called me back a couple of weeks later, and they said, “did you look at it?” And I was like what? “They told me they’d love to have an answer from you.” I was like I’ll get to it and forgot about it again.
Meanwhile, they sent me another disc, so I have like boxes piling up on my kitchen counter. And I came home one afternoon. My youngest son had opened one of the boxes. I came in the door, and he was on me like white on rice.
He said, “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, you got to come.” He popped the disc, and of course, he’d been watching them all day. And I watched like one and a half of them and went, “Oh, I’m so sorry, Mommy’s got to go make a call.”
So I called him, I said, “Oh I hope the offer still is there because I would very much like to be a part of anything these people have to do,” although I mean, it certainly was different looking.
Even 25 years ago, our brains were just getting used to what computer images could look like and then this just blew it all to smithereens, the idea, how beautiful it could be. And of course, as they go on and get more and more and more sophisticated.
How early in the process did you get to look at that new look and what did you think of it?
Oh pretty early on actually. I thought it was great. She’d had some limitations before being a lamp. Once they got her off the base, all bets were off. But as Director Josh (Cooley) was saying, they did all these tests. Seeing what porcelain looked like when it broke. And filming that and then trying to recreate that with their computer magic and everything. I was very pleased. She’s very sassy, ripped off her skirt, uses it as a cape. Even though this isn’t a superhero movie, her superpowers are her heart and her courage. And I think that’s the greatest superpowers of all.
Going off of that, I love that you said to Josh, thank you for putting a crown on my head. I know you said it’s vital for this character to be. I’m curious, how will it make you feel as Annie Potts seeing this new crop of girls walking around with this Go Peep costume on, well not even a costume, it’s like a superhero power.
At the earlier screening, there was a little girl there who had on a Bo Peep outfit, and I hadn’t seen one except on the thing that I have of Bo who walks around the park. But of course, it’s thrilling. I can hardly wait until Halloween and see all the little girls because she is, I think she’s very relatable. She’s feminine but nobody’s fool. And I think little girls are empowered by that and I think the world is moving that way. Bo gives it a friendly shove in that direction.
What was the first session that you recorded for this film, and how did it feel to be back playing Bo after that first recording session?
It felt great. They’re the most wonderful people to work for. They are as smart and kind and inventive as their films would suggest that they are. So it’s always lovely, it’s about the best working environment you can imagine. Their excitement about coming back and of course, for Josh, wearing the mantle of carrying that forward, I know he was terrified, and as I became more aware of the size and possibilities of Bo’s role in this, about 2 months ago, I was like Oh, I had no idea.
Oh, it’s too much. And then all the way on the drive to the studio to screen the film, I was convinced that just prepare yourself. You’re gonna be the first actor that completely screwed up a Pixar Movie. Just accept it now before you go in, that could be you. So I sort of watched through my fingers like ah. But I’m pretty sure I didn’t screw it up. I think they’re too good to have let that happen. But it’s a big responsibility.
What do you think about Bo Peep’s friendship with Giggle? What do you think that that relationship did for the both of you?
Oh, what all our best friends do to us. You know, the one you tell your troubles to, the one. I mean, it’s a metaphor for your Bestie who’s always right there to hear the best and the worst of what’s going on with you. She’s adorable too, this Ally Maki who’s playing that. She’s about that big too.
TOY STORY 4 is not in theatres everywhere!