Quite a few actors have undergone rigorous exercise, training, and have been injured or gone home sore and ready for a nice long break after a taxing time on the set of one movie or another. Tom Hanks is no stranger to this since he’s had to cut a lot of weight a couple of times at least for the roles he played in Philadelphia and Castaway. But it might interest and surprise a lot of people to learn that these weren’t the hardest roles he had to take on in his career. Believe it or not, playing the part of Woody in Toy Story was more physically taxing than any other role he’s played. If your jaw just dropped you’re not the only one since upon reading it I had to read it again to fully understand it. But upon learning why it was the most taxing it does make a lot of sense considering how Hanks explained it. The issue is that Woody is a very expressive character and despite having some moments when he’s not stressing out about something, he’s a character that isn’t at rest all that often.
It’s also important to understand that when an actor is voicing a role for an animated character they can’t necessarily take the microphone with them or even move from their spot since it’s easy to think that the editing process might be a pain in the backside if such a thing was done. But that means that the actor is standing there, reading lines, and having to get emotional from time without being able to act out the moment in as expressive a manner as possible. For Hanks, this was tough since he had to experience a full range of emotions without being able to expound as he might have wanted to, which turned out to be a problem since he had to go through every emotion while holding himself back at the same time.
His diaphragm was what really began to ache from having to act out his part but remain tensed and reserved, which after several hours could make anyone sore since if one knows what it feels like to be pent-up in any way then they should be able to understand. There are plenty of other voice actors out there that might not suffer like this, but there are some that simply need to move to express themselves, and having to stay put just doesn’t work that well. But to think that Tom was actually ready to be done before he even started sometimes makes one think the sessions really were a pain for him at times and that he might have jumped on the chance to be able to run around with a microphone in hand while reading his lines. The misconceptions that many people have when it comes to voice acting are numerous without a doubt since a lot of people probably think that actors come in, read their lines, and then leave or hang around and chitchat with whoever’s there for a while before leaving. There might be times when it is like that, but according to Hanks’ story, there are moments when voice actors probably just want to go home and relax.
Just like regular acting, voice-acting can differ as well from person to person since some folks might be able to take the pressure of standing still to read their lines while still giving all the emotion and feeling they need, while others can’t. There’s nothing for it really since everyone is going to react differently to different parts of the job and to be fair, Hanks is a very expressive actor that needs to move around sometimes in order to inject the right amount of emotion and feeling into his characters, and Woody is definitely a character that requires a lot of emotional range, which Hanks has. The upside is that he managed to get through it each time and it’s a big hope that Toy Story will either remain over and done with or at the very least be rebooted at some point with new voice actors. Yeah, you can imagine that people would lose their minds over something like that.
Throughout all the movies he’s done, all the characters he’s played, and everything that each role has put him through, it’s bringing an animated character to life that has taxed him the most. Some might want to laugh and think that he’s joking, but it doesn’t sound like it, and more to the point, having to use your voice in such an expressive way while remaining in place can be a little tough on the body. It’s easier to move, talk, express yourself, and therefore allow the body to expand in ways that it needs rather than stay in one spot, try it if you don’t believe it. You might be surprised.