While promoting Always Be My Maybe, star and writer Ali Wong painted an enlightening portrait of her initial meeting with Keanu Reeves, who has a memorable cameo in the comedy. The John Wick 3 actor was very involved in those discussions and even improvised some of his own material before and during filming. When it comes to an animated film like Toy Story 4, however, you might assume that such involvement and improvision wouldn’t be possible. You’d be wrong.
In a new interview with /Film, director Josh Cooley and producers Mark Nielsen and Jonas Rivera opened up about their first meeting with Reeves, and it sounds almost exactly like Wong’s story. So much so, in fact, that the 54-year-old actor’s impromptu table poses inspired them all to adapt the character — Duke Caboom — to be more like Reeves himself. As Cooley explained it:
We pitched him the movie and we were talking about the character, and he’d say, like, [does Keanu impression] ‘What does he sound like?’ He’d ask these really deep questions, too: ‘Is he made at Rejean, is he mad at the world?’ Deep questions that I wasn’t really prepared for. I just thought, ‘Oh, it’s a side character. It’s a gag.’ But we were really getting into it, to the point where — no joke — he’s a toy that poses, so he’s [making vocal pose sound effects] in our atrium, doing that, and he stood up on table and started doing poses and people were like, ‘Is that Keanu Reeves?’ When he started doing that, I’m crying with laughter, and I thought, ‘That’s Duke Caboom.’ I credit him not just doing the voice, but the character.
If that wasn’t enough, Reeves — an avid motorcyclist who owns his own motorcycle company — also “got really into even the design of the Caboom bike.” When they suggested redesigning the toy bike to look more like one of his, however, Reeves balked at the idea:
Rivera: We’d say, ‘What if we designed it like one of yours?’ and he’d be like, ‘No, no, it’s the Caboom cycle.’
Cooley: He’s like, ‘Don’t touch the Caboom cycle.’
You can see Duke Caboom Keanu Reeves make the stunt motorcycle jumps of his career when Toy Story 4 hits theaters tomorrow.