Tom Hanks is often regarded as one of the nicest guys in Hollywood, and by all accounts that reputation is certainly well-earned. Perhaps that's why he's been so beloved by audiences for over 30 years. Whether it's his work in Big, Forrest Gump, Sully or all his other big movies, movie-goers feel a special connection to whatever character Tom Hanks is playing. When he takes on a role, the character becomes instantly likable, and he makes it look effortless.
And then there's Tom's performance as the incredibly delightful David S. Pumpkins. If portrayed by another actor, the character may have seemed too odd to make an impression on viewers. But in the hands of Tom Hanks, it became a classic.
In fact, Tom Hanks doesn't even need to be seen in order for him to connect with audiences. He can make that bond by just using his voice alone. Of course, the biggest example of this is his voice work as Woody in the Toy Story movies.
The Toy Story franchise has been so popular that Woody exists in more than just the movies alone. He also appears in Toy Story video games, commercials, and is also sold as an actual (talking) doll. All that voice work must keep Tom pretty busy, right?
The topic of Tom Hanks' voice work as Woody came up on a 2011 episode of The Graham Norton Show. And during the appearance, Hanks went into detail on a fact many Toy Story fans may not have been aware of. Here's what happened.
In the clip, Graham pulls back the string of a talking Woody doll, and it says, "Haha, boy am I glad to see you!" Graham then asks, point, blank, "Is that you?" Tom responds by confirming, "No, it's my brother Jim!"
This, in fact, is a picture of Jim Hanks, younger brother of Tom. You'll probably notice that the hair is quite different from his brother, but if you look at the faces, you can see the family resemblance. And apparently, their voices have a resemblance as well.
In the interview, Graham said he had seen on the internet that Tom's brother Jim provided the voice of the Woody doll. However, Graham didn't believe it, saying, "That sounds like a lot of old rubbish." But Tom confirmed that it is true, and explained how it happened.
"There are so many computer games and video things, and Jim just works on those all year long," Tom said. In regards to doing all that extra voice work, Disney told him, "You don't want to do this," Tom explained. "No, get my brother Jim, he'll do it, so that's my brother Jim."
If you look at Jim Hanks' IMDB page, you'll see that Tom wasn't lying. Jim Hanks has voiced Woody in all the Toy Story video games, in the TV shorts Toy Story Treats, and everything else. In short, if it's a Toy Story movie, it's Tom Hanks, and if not, it's Jim.
Jim At Work
As it turns out, bringing in Jim to voice Woody was a great move. Here's a clip of Jim in the recording studio, and he shows how he's able to exactly duplicate the voice of his brother. Give it a watch, and you won't believe your ears.
We should also point out that Jim Hanks' career consists of more than just voicing Woody. He's also had a career as a busy actor, with regular voice work on Robot Chicken, and roles in shows including Dexter and Sabrina The Teenage Witch. He also appeared on Scrubs as Dr. Turner, who teamed up with character Hooch in a nod to one of his brother Tom's earlier films.
Besides all of that, Jim Hanks also voiced Geoffrey the giraffe for Toys R Us, and he and his family once appeared on Family Feud in 1988. But we're guessing that, in real life, there's no feuding going on between Tom Hanks and his voice doppelgänger brother Jim.
"I've traveled with Tom and stuff like that," Jim said, "and I see the crap that he goes through (dealing with fans). But he's incredibly gracious about it. I mean, it's mind blowing." So it sounds like Jim is perfectly happy being more anonymous than famous.
In his interview with Graham Norton, Tom also talked about the process of recording voice over for movies, which often involves saying the same line different ways, with as many as 40 takes. He said, "You do it 'til your diaphragm is busted, your throat is raw, (and) you've spit all over the copy. To see more of Tom's interview with Graham Norton, watch the video above.