Looks Like Keanu Reeves Is Responsible For How Great Toy Story 4's Duke Caboom Is

Keanu reeves as Duke Caboom on a motorcycle with Tom Hanks' Woody in Toy Story 4
(Image credit: (Pixar))

Thanks to a recent string of scene-stealing performances from Keanu Reeves, the actor has become 2019’s icon and obsession. Some will say the Keanuaissance is a happy accident of coinciding releases. They’d be dead wrong, and the proof can be found in the making of Toy Story 4.

For Woody’s latest (and last?) adventure, he has the help of Canada’s greatest stuntman: Duke Caboom. Keanu Reeves voiced the hilarious scene-stealer, who also has a tragic backstory he’s working through in the film. The animated film’s director Josh Cooley recently attributed the John Wick actor to Duke’s depth instantly.

Keanu Reeves wanted to know Duke’s motivations and fears, and Josh Cooley hadn’t thought of the character past a few jokes. Here’s what the Toy Story 4 director said:

He hadn’t said yes to the role yet, either, so it was kind of a test. It really did force us to dig deeper into this character that we thought was more of a gag. It became a well-rounded, real character because of that.

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There’s a good reason Keanu Reeves is having a big moment right now. He pushes for the development of his roles, and Duke Caboom was no exception. Along with delivering funny lines such as “Yes I Can-ada!” and stopping to pose midway through his conversations, his character is also troubled by letting down his kid when he couldn’t do the stunt shown in the commercials.

Josh Cooley continued discussing with USA Today about Keanu Reeves' collaboration with these words:

He would ask these really deep character questions, and you couldn’t ignore them.

Josh Cooley also revealed to CinemaBlend how surprised he was to find out how “naturally funny” Keanu Reeves was on and off camera. One Toy Story producer, Jonas Rivera, said it was clear the actor didn’t come on board just to do a "funny cartoon voice." He wanted to dig deep.

Similar attention to character was recently described by Always Be My Maybe stars/writers Ali Wong and Randall Park. They weren’t only surprised Keanu Reeves said yes to their Netflix rom-com at all, but that he improvised so much of the great jokes while playing a heightened version of himself.

He came up with funny tidbits such as saying his vision is perfect, while wearing fake glasses for a role and fighting with the air. He also gave Randall Park the idea for his end credit song titled “I Punched Keanu Reeves” to double as a love song for Ali Wong’s Sasha.

You have to admire how passionate Keanu Reeves is about his work, and it’s certainly paid off in how many exciting projects he’s involved in. Marvel Chief Kevin Feige also said he’s talked with Reeves about joining multiple Marvel films in the past and is currently trying to find the right fit for the actor in the universe.

Check out Keanu Reeves as Duke Caboom in the critically-acclaimed Toy Story 4, in theaters now!

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.