Is Tom Hanks’ Brother the Voice of Woody in ‘Toy Story’ Products?

As is bound to happen given shared familial genes, siblings often look and sound alike.

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Claim

Tom Hanks' brother, Jim Hanks, does voice acting as the character "Woody" for some "Toy Story" products, such as video games and talking action figures.

Origin

On March 10, 2021, a TikTok video that supposedly rang the alarm on a popular misconception about actor Tom Hanks’ role in the marketing of the Pixar-Disney franchise “Toy Story” spread fast on the social media platform.

Under the above-displayed caption (“Toy Story woody isn’t actually voiced by Tom Hanks!”), the TikTok video showed an interview with Hanks, who is the known voice actor of the “Woody” character in the “Toy Story” movie franchise, and BBC’s Graham Norton at an unidentified time. 

In the interview shown in the TikTok video, Norton pulled the string of a talking Woody toy — triggering prerecorded audio of catch phrases from the animated film series — and then had the following exchange with Hanks:

Norton: Is that you?

Hanks: No, it’s my brother Jim. [laughs]

Norton: Is it really? That’s so weird. Because we were on the Internet and somebody said that, but we [said], ‘Oh, that just sounds like a load of rubbish.’

Hanks: No, that’s my brother Jim. They have so many —

Action figure: There’s a snake in my boot!

Hanks: There’s a snake in my boot. There are so many computer games […] and video things and Jim — he works on those all year long. They said, ‘You don’t want to do this.’ I said, ‘Get my brother Jim. He’ll do it.’ So that’s my brother Jim.

Norton: That’s amazing. That’s incredible. I genuinely thought that was an urban myth.

Hanks: No, it’s true. Absolutely true.

The above-transcribed interview was real.

We obtained the official recording of the Norton-Hanks interview, which occurred in summer 2011, via BBC’s YouTube channel, and cross-referenced its audio and visual footage with what’s shown in the TikTok video.

Indeed, the TikTok video captured an authentic scene in which Hanks, 64, told Norton that his younger brother Jim Hanks did voice acting as Woody for some “Toy Story” products, including video games and toys.

For further evidence of Jim Hanks’ role in the franchise, we turned to the online database of information related to films and entertainment, IMDb.

According to the site, Jim Hanks, 59, has done a variety of film and production work, including voice acting as Woody in Toy Story 3: The Video Game and “Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins,” the movie. Other projects in which he played the character include, according to IMDb:

  • 1996: Disney’s Animated Storybook: Toy Story (video game)
  • 1996: Toy Story (video game)
  • 1996: Toy Story Activity Center (video game)
  • 1996: “Tiny Toy Stories” (video)
  • 1996: “Toy Story Treats” (short TV series)
  • 1999: Toy Story 2 (video game)
  • 2000: Disney’s Activity Center: Toy Story 2 (video game)
  • 2001: Toy Story Racer (video game)
  • 2003: Extreme Skate Adventure (video game)
  • 2008: “Toy Story Midway Mania!” (Disney World attraction)
  • 2011: Kinect Disneyland Adventures (video game)
  • 2012: Kinect Rush: A Disney-Pixar Adventure  (video game)
  • 2013: Disney Infinity (video game)
  • 2014: Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes (video game)
  • 2015: Disney Infinity 3.0 (video game)
  • 2016: Disney Magic Kingdoms (video game)
  • 2018: LEGO The Incredibles (video game)
  • 2019: Kingdom Hearts III (video game)
  • 2020: “Lamp Life” (short video)

But here’s what’s central to the question Norton raised in his interview, according to IMDb:

“[Jim Hanks] provided the voice for the tie-in ‘Woody’ action figures from ‘Toy Story‘ (1995), voiced in the movie by older brother Tom Hanks. He regularly substitutes for his brother by recording Woody’s voice for ‘Toy Story’ merchandise, video games, audio storybooks, Disney theme park ride narrations, etc.”

In sum, considering that proof, as well as the 2011 interview in which Tom Hanks said his brother Jim indeed does voice acting as Woody for some projects, we rate this claim “True.”