Tony Hale Explains Why 'Toy Story's Forky Is the 'Polar Opposite' of 'Harley Quinn's Doctor Psycho (Exclusive)

Tony Hale is better known for his side-splitting roles in front of the camera in Arrested Development and Veep, but he has also voiced several animated characters during his career. Last year, he joined the Toy Story franchise as Forky in Pixar's Toy Story 4 and reprised the role in Disney+ Emmy-nominated series Forky Asks a Question. He also voices a character who he says is the "polar opposite" — the villainous, foul-mouthed and short-tempered Doctor Psycho in the DC Universe/HBO Max series Harley Quinn.

It's hard to believe the two characters are voiced by the same actor, a testament to Hale's skill as a voice actor. Hale came to Harley Quinn having already known one of the show's writers, Dean Laurie, through Arrested Development. Doctor Psycho "was incredibly cynical and negative and says some pretty dark things," Hale said the character in an interview with PopCulture.com. "So he was totally polar opposite" of Forky, a character who thought he was meant to be a piece of trash until Woody helped him understand he is a toy.

Forky "was a very wide-eyed" character who "had a lot of questions," which made him the perfect character to center a series of shorts on important subjects children might not understand yet. Forky Asks a Question was an underrated series, with episodes showing up at the same time as The Mandalorian's first season was released. The show still managed to get an Emmy nomination for the very special "What Is Love?" episode, which featured the voices of Carol Burnett, Mel Brooks, Betty White, and the late Carl Reiner. The fact that "What Is Love?" was singled out for an Emmy nomination "means a lot" to Hale, especially in light of Reiner's death. He never met Reiner in person, but he "grew up" watching the "comedy legends" whose voices were heard in the short.

While Disney will certainly find more uses for Forky in the future, the third season of Harley Quinn is still up in the air. Hale said it was "really, really, really fun" to play Doctor Psycho in the show's first two seasons, opposite Kaley Cuoco as Harley. "I will say sometimes it's harsh, but I love being able to show more of a behind-the-scenes look at these characters because you kind of see the idealized version of Harley Quinn or Wonder Woman or whatnot" in movies, Hale noted, agreeing that it shows a side of characters they "shouldn't" put on the big screen.

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One aspect of voice work Hale has found cathartic is it shows how his personal battle with asthma has not affected his career. The condition made him insecure about his voice for many years because his "breath support was not strong. He felt anxiety when it came to his voice, so he is "thankful that it did not affect my career."

Toy Story 4 and Forky Asks a Question are both available on Disney+. Harley Quinn debuted on DC Universe but is also available to stream on HBO Max. Hale also voices the lead character in the Netflix children's show Archibald's Next Big Thing, which is based on the books he co-wrote with Tony Biaggne and Victor Huckabee.