How powerful can a book be?
A book can be the most powerful tool in the cosmos. A book can change lives. A book can be deadly. A book can lead others to make the world a better place. A book can start wars. Don’t take books lightly; weigh them with criticism and experience. Read the good ones. Use the lousy ones to level the bedposts.
Has your Hollywood life helped you to become a better student of the world?
Absolutely. I have always said that I might not have had the most formal education, but movies have helped me to study and to learn about history, politics and the arts. I will be forever grateful for that…I feel very fortunate because I get to study history while I am working. It’s almost better than just sitting in front of a book and having to study it. I do like to do that as well, but when you are learning it the way we do by visiting a lot of historical places, it’s even more fun.
Do your movies make people smarter?
I like the fact that [historical] movies make people smarter…we don’t see that too much in Hollywood these days.
Which role do you identify with the most?
That’s a tough question. It’s almost as if you are asking me which kid is my favorite. I remember Turner & Hooch the most because one thing after another went wrong. Try to make an emotional connection with a dog!
Forrest Gump is my favorite. I ﬁnd him very inspirational. Why do you think it’s had such an impact on people? He lived at the speed of common sense. I think we’d all love to do that, but Forrest did it every day of his life.
What was it like to know that Toy Story 4 was the last Toy Story, the last time Sheriff Woody would be voiced by you?
It was a lot more emotional than I really thought. You know, when we recorded the last session, the whole creative team was there. It was a historic moment for all of us, and it was a very emotional one, as well.
Do you enjoy doing voiceovers?
I loved to be the voice of Sheriff Woody. He grew so much, and has become a lot deeper and profound than I thought he would ever be. He will always be a part of me now.
What advice do you give young actors?
Act at every opportunity. Be the person in the duck costume if that’s the only role open.
Editor’s Note: This Q&A was conducted by Suzy Maloy of The Interview People. Suzy writes for several magazines and web sites. Recent interview subjects include Chris Hemsworth, George Clooney, Robert Redford, Don Henley and Goldie Hawn.