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
"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
Cusack has received two Academy AwardÂ¨ 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
The actress lives in Chicago with her husband and her son. She is currently
developing a t
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