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TOY STORY 2

JOAN CUSACK (Jessie) gives an endearing and entertaining vocal performance as this mercurial cowgirl who sometimes gets the blues. When it comes to playing and having fun, this spunky cowgirl has been a little gun-shy ever since her former owner, Emily, outgrew her and gave her away. Now that Woody has arrived to complete Al's toy collection, Jessie is determined never to go back in her box again.

"I was really honored and excited to be doing a voice for 'Toy Story 2,'" says the actress. "The first film was so fascinating. I compare it to the experience of seeing the first color film or talking picture. Computer animation is a whole other world. Having a little boy of my own, it was neat to think of his reaction when he realizes that his mom is an animated character.

"Jessie's dream is to be back with Emily," explains Cusack. "She's really a very complex character with a lot of emotion. It's so moving. And the song by Sarah McLachlan is so beautiful. To hear my voice coming out of this doll was fascinating and a bit weird at the same time. You have to be very focused when you're doing the voice and let your imagination run wild. John really had an amazing ability to be in this other world and at the same time articulating it and caring about the characters. It was just so dimensional. He would hear so many things that I wasn't even aware I was saying or doing. I would sort of do a dance with him to focus on what made it exactly right. He heard everything."

Lasseter notes, "Joan did an amazing job. I think it's one of the best vocal performances of a cartoon character in history. Jessie is kind of a cross between Annie Oakley and Ellie Mae Clampett from the 'Beverly Hillbillies.' She just loves life. She also wears her emotions on her sleeve. She has very high mountains and very deep valleys. She's excited and then she's mad and sad and depressed pretty quickly. Joan really managed to make Jessie very lovable and endearing."

Cusack has received two Academy Award¨ nominations, one for her comic portrayal of a Staten Island secretary in "Working Girl" with Harrison Ford and Melanie Griffith, and one for her role as Kevin Kline's jilted bride in the critically acclaimed "In & Out." Among her other roles are the femme fatale in "Addams Family Values," "Grosse Pointe Blank," "Nine Months," "The Cabinet of Dr. Ramirez" (directed by Peter Sellers), "Corrina, Corrina," "Toys," "Men Don't Leave," "Broadcast News, "Say Anything," "Married to the Mob" and "Sixteen Candles," among others. She made her screen debut in Tony Bill's "My Bodyguard" at age 15.

Cusack studied acting at the Piven Theatre Workshop in Evanston, Illinois where she grew up. While at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, she appeared with The Ark, an improv group. She graduated with a degree in English.

Her theatre work includes the premiere of "Cymbeline" at the Joseph Papp Public Theatre in New York. She was Helena in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, and was directed by Joanne Akalitis in "'Tis Pity She's a Whore." She was a regular on "Saturday Night Live" during the show's 1985-86 season, and appeared with Anne Bancroft in the BBC production of Paddy Chayefsky's "The Mother."

The actress lives in Chicago with her husband and her son. She is currently developing a t

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