Tony Hale has survived. He’s survived seven seasons of ‘Veep’ as Gary, the tireless, selfless, cringe-inducing body man to Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s vicious Selina Meyer. (The role brought Hale two Emmys.) Before that, he survived ‘Arrested Development’ as the equally hapless Buster Bluth. Now, as all great actors must, Hale is playing a fork in a Pixar movie. He called us from Los Angeles to discuss.
How was Forky pitched to you?
‘He was pitched as nervous, so, you know – check. [Laughs] He was pitched as gullible to a fault – again, check. If I’m being honest, just the fact that they asked me was a little strange. Initially, I thought: Someone’s going to wake up to the fact that they’ve made a big mistake. Surely they meant Tony Danza?’
Who is Forky?
‘He’s Pixar’s first homemade character. It’s literally a spork, a pipe cleaner, some clay, and some broken Popsicle sticks. He comes from the trash, but then, through this whole journey he has with Woody, he’s taught that he has a greater purpose than that.’
Tony Hale, the voice of Forky, the new star of ‘Toy Story 4’.
Are you expecting people to start making their own Forkys?
‘That would be amazing. This is getting meta, but anybody who thinks of themselves as trash, they should know that they’re so much more than that. They have so much more purpose, so much more beauty.’
How did you get into Forky’s nervy, existential mindset?
‘Sadly, for most of my characters, it doesn’t take me long [to get into that headspace]. I don’t know what that says about me. I will say this: I’m the kind of guy that walks around and says, “Why am I here? What’s going on? You realise we’re spinning on a planet, right?” I appreciate that Forky asks a lot of questions.’
Was it fun going from ‘Veep’ to a Pixar movie?
‘It definitely was a contrast. By the way, I loved doing “Veep”, and we’re all such close friends. But I think we were close off-set because, in character, we were so abused. The purity of “Toy Story 4” was nice, because “Veep” was such a cesspool. The insults alone: I was called “a bitchy mime”. I was called “Cow Eyes”.’
Do you look at forks differently now?`
‘I have a whole new relationship with forks – forks and spoons. Forky is the best of both worlds.’
‘Toy Story 4’ opens Fri 21. Read our review here.