People Who Worked On ‘Toy Story 4’ Hinted At Bonnie’s Dad Being Latino
Toy Story 4, the long-awaited fourth film of the Toy Story franchise, hit theaters this June and we were reunited with favorites like Woody and Buzz Lightyear. We also became acquainted with a few new faces, while coming to the realization that an animated movie can still make us ugly cry.
Between meeting Forky, Gabby Gabby, Ducky and Bunny, and Duke Caboom (hey, Keanu!), Toy Story 4 introduced us to a plethora of new characters. We even met Bo Peep again, whom you might remember has been MIA for a bit. And she comes back in this fourth installment as a whole new badass Bo Peep!
There was one character in particular who stood out among the rest: Bonnie’s dad.
If you recall, Bonnie is the toddler in Toy Story 3 who Andy gives away all his toys to, including his beloved Woody, before he heads off to college.
With his dark hair and caramel-like complexion, Bonnie’s dad clearly looked ethnically ambiguous. We wondered what he could be and thus it raised the question, could Bonnie’s dad be Latino? He reminded us of some of our dads, tios, primos, and friends. Even when we first saw Bonnie Anderson in Toy Story 3, we knew there was something different about her. She also had ambiguous features and didn’t quite look like the standard white character we were so used to seeing in Toy Story‘s past — or many cartoon films for that matter. But at that time, we had only seen her mom.
Bonnie’s dad is actually voiced by Mexican-American actor Jay Hernandez — who revealed in several interviews discussing Toy Story 4 that he has always been a fan of the franchise and dreamed of one day voicing a character for a Disney-Pixar movie — so if we needed any clues this one is certainly it. While on the red carpet of the Toy Story 4 world premiere, Hernandez revealed that the film’s creative team even began adding touches to Bonnie’s dad that were true to him. “I went to the session wearing Converse Chuck Taylors… certain kinds of shoes, and they added that to my character, which wasn’t originally there,” the Magnum P.I. actor said. “So I thought it was sort of an homage to me, it was cool.”
In a recent interview with Remezcla, Pixar producer Jonas Rivera, who also happens to be Mexican-American, noted that our assumptions about Bonnie’s dad possibly being Latino could indeed be right.
“We never named him; he’s just Bonnie’s Dad. But in my mind, and since I know him well I feel I can speak for Albert [Lozano], the character is a reflection of our families. Albert’s dad is Mexican American like my dad is. That’s how we see dads,” Rivera said. He noted that growing up in a home with a Mexican father and mother of English Canadian descent also inspired the design of Bonnie’s parents. “We thought Bonnie’s dad would be closer to that model of a family. I know a lot of families that way in California,” he explained.
“When we made Toy Story 3, all my family thought she was based on my sister Raquel because she looked liked her when she was really little, and now in [Toy Story 4], Bonnie sort of looks like my niece Carly.”
The question then remains, was the casting of Jay Hernandez to voice the character of Bonnie’s dad therefore intentional?
Maybe not quite, but Rivera explained that Jay just embodied what they were searching for in Bonnie’s dad perfectly.
“As a parent of three, the character is easy to relate to. He is the dad that’s always a little behind everything, and Jay was able to bring that in a truthful way,” Rivera told Remezcla. “To be totally honest with you, it wasn’t like, ‘Let’s find a Latino actor;’ it was more like, ‘Let’s find the right guy,’ but when I saw who it was with [director] Josh Cooley and [producer] Mark Nielsen, that was a bonus for me. I thought it’d be great if we could also have more diversity.”
He continued, “We make animated films about toys, monsters, and superheroes, but really we want them to be relatable to everybody and one of the ways you do that is if your films are diverse, not only the characters in the films but the people making them.”
Fans are loving the diversity the movie is bringing to the Toy Story universe.
The film did relatively well on having more diversity in its lineup of actors, adding the voices of those like Hernandez, Jordan Peele, Keegan-Michael Key, and Ally Maki. Toy Story 4 also showcased a lesbian couple dropping off and picking up their daughter from daycare. And the lost little girl we see at the carnival, who Gabby Gabby tries to console and ultimately winds up being able to claim as her own kid, is Black.
Toy Story 4 picks up right where Toy Story 3 left off, but not before momentarily taking us back in time to tell fans what happened to Bo Peep and her sheep. The Disney-Pixar picture dives deeper into Bonnie’s world as she heads off for Kindergarten orientation and shows us once again just how far Woody will go for his kid. Woody, Forky, Buzz and the rest of the gang wind up on an epic adventure after Bonnie’s dad declares they’re going on an end-of-summer road trip.
The family’s road trip places Woody on an unexpected journey through an antique store, with little Forky (who becomes almost like Woody’s child) in tow. And even Bonnie’s dad runs into some serious bumps along the way to their destination. Oh, and if you were still doubting that he could be Latino, just wait to see his reactions to a lot of the challenges he faces.
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