Madeleine McGraw brings imagination, creativity and personality to Bonnie of Toy Story 4


As Toy Story 4 hits movie theaters, Madeleine McGraw, the voice of Bonnie, shared some of her thoughts on the movie, favorite toys, and Disney memories.

A child’s imagination is filled with wonder, joy and unlimited possibilities. Madeleine McGraw is a young actress who balances just being a kid with her impressive movie and television career. In the role of Bonnie, she found a way to bring her emotions, creativity and imagination to the character.

The Toy Story movies have touched many people’s hearts. While the storylines evolve as the children grow up, a universal truth holds true. Playtime captures people’s unlimited imagination and creates memories that last far beyond the moments of play.

In Toy Story 4, the beloved gang of Andy’s toys hits the road with Bonnie and her family. Joining the group is a new toy, Forky. This special new toy was created by Bonnie.

As seen in this preview clip from Pixar, Woody and the gang will do anything to keep Forky safe.

While the toys are the focal point of any Toy Story movie, the real kids, in this case Bonnie, tie the story back to the real world. Everyone can relate to the moment of exhilaration playing with a toy for the first time or the sense of pride when you create something straight out of your own imagination.

In Toy Story 4, Bonnie brings everyone back to that moment of childhood fun. Who didn’t make a special “friend” or art item in school? That sense of pride, accomplishment, and wonder of bringing something to life stays with us. That creation is more than plastic, pipe cleaners, and glue. It is part of the childhood experience.

Recently, I had the opportunity to chat with Madeleine McGraw, who voices Bonnie in Toy Story 4. The experienced young actress has starred in numerous projects from Marvel’s Ant Man and the Wasp to appearing on the series Outcast. She has a distinguished career even though she is just 10 years old.

In a way, the character Bonnie has grown up with Maddy. Toy Story 4 was recorded over a period of several years. Maddy is an expert at keeping secrets, since no one knew till earlier this year that she was the voice of Bonnie.

Maddy said that she learned a lot through this role. Her director, Josh Cooley, was impressed with her talent. Even though she was just recording her voice, she would use all types of hand movements and expressions to get those moments just right.

During the story, Bonnie is seen crying. It is the first time a character cries with the toys. Maddy said that her director was really nice about the emotional parts of the movie. Those sad moments even got him emotional.

Specifically, I asked Maddy how she was able to cry and get so emotional. She mentioned that she would think about different things and the emotions would come. It shows her acting talent that she was able to evoke such true emotional connections.

Since Bonnie got upset about losing Forky, I asked Maddy about her favorite childhood toy and if she ever lost it. She said that her favorite toy growing up was her blankie. While she couldn’t say blankie (she called it dane-ke-knee), that beloved item held a special place in her world. She never wanted to lose her special blanket.

As she got older, her imagination grew and her toys became a little more creative. With her sister, Maddy mentioned how they would use their imagination and create silverware out of aluminum foil. Based on this revelation, it sounded like she could totally relate to Bonnie and Forky.

What captured my attention most during my conversation with her is that she is just a regular kid, from playing soccer with friends to playing with her Marvel LEGO. In a way, her sense of imagination is what drives her play choices. It is clear that she can relate to Bonnie and her strong connection to the creative toy world.

Toy Story movies have captivated audiences because they bring the toys to life. Who hasn’t wondered how a particular toy magically appeared on the other end of the room? Maddy wonders the same things herself. She said that her siblings and she would be done playing wonder how things moved around. Maybe those toys are real in more ways that people realize.

Even as she grows older, Maddy continues to imagine and play. While she would love to be part of Barbie’s dream house, her new favorite part of playtime is fashion related. She and her sister love thinking about fashion and clothes.

Madeleine McGraw. Photographer: JSquared Photography.

As a fan of Project Runway, she loves to dream about what Barbie would wear or maybe even what she could wear to a red carpet event. Since Maddy is an expert at keeping secrets, she wouldn’t reveal the special outfit that she planned for the Toy Story 4 premiere.

Still, playtime isn’t just limited in Madeleine’s world. Just like Bonnie, her family enjoys fun trips together, including visits to Disneyland. Right now, Maddy loves the Guardians of the Galaxy ride. Also, she said that her whole family enjoys experiencing Toy Story Mania. While her brother might get some high scores on that ride, the family fun and lasting memories are quite clear from the excitement in her voice.

After talking to Maddy, it is clear that her vivacious personality will come through the character of Bonnie in Toy Story 4. From her sense of imagination to her willingness to express herself, she will make everyone remember those childhood moments of playing with beloved toys.

Toy Story 4 opens in theaters on June 21.

I would like to thank Madeleine McGraw for taking the time to chat with me and I wish her well in her future endeavors.

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Could Forky and the rest of the Toy Story 4 toys inspire some inventive play in your world? Imagination, play and creativity have no age limits.