Tom Hanks Recruits Tom Holland as Scene Partner for 'Toy Story 4'-Inspired Acting Exercise
Appearing as a guest on The Graham Norton Show on Thursday, Tom Hanks demonstrated an acting repetition exercise and recruited young actor Tom Holland to be his scene partner. As they engaged in line readings, Hanks mimicked the role of a director and asked Holland to perform the dialogue differently.
First up, Hanks tensed his neck and shoulders while describing the way he voices Woody in Toy Story 4. "Woody is clenched all the time. There's something he's gotta explain: 'Come on guys, this way, that way!'" The actor then explained how the postproduction team would show him an animatic of Woody climbing up a bunch of stairs and ask him to perform the "grunts," usually at the end of a long work day. Hanks voiced these grunts for host Norton, again tensing his body as he interpreted the character.
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Hanks then pointed out an observation he encountered from playing Woody. "I think they are gleeful at making you wring every possible meaning from a line." He compared this process to the repetitions that young actors are required to learn, throwing a look to Holland, the young actor beside him. "Repetitions, where you have a simple cue and a very simple line."
He then went into a demonstration: "The cue is: 'Would you like some coffee?' And the line you have to say is, 'Coffee? You think I want more coffee? Boy do I need more coffee.'" Recruiting Holland to perform with him in the exercise, Hanks instructed him: "You're going to say [the answer line] in every conceivable way you can." While Hanks intended for Holland's dialogue to vary each time, he emphasized that his own reading of the cue line would remain the same.
On the first try, Holland answered with the reply line in a fairly standard way. "Would you try it with a little more something to it? This is a big important scene," Hanks told Holland. The young actor stepped up to the challenge, moving closer to the edge of his seat.
Several readings down the line, Holland was saying the line as though the scene was tragic and urgent. "That was good by the way," Hanks said to him. "You know how this works."
Later in the show, Norton asked Holland what his plan is for keeping his feet on the ground amid his big career. He replied, "My dad has this very annoying phrase, if I ever do anything dick-ish, he'd go, 'God, you're such a movie star man.' And it drives me up the wall. But now I just go, 'Yeah, I am,'" the Spider-Man star joked.
Watch the full clip of the acting repetition scene below.
by Jackie Strause
by Rania Aniftos, Billboard