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Jodi Benson Breathes Life Into Barbie (Again) for "Toy Story 3"

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Jodi Benson Breathes Life Into Barbie (Again) for "Toy Story 3"

Pixar

Barbie and her groovy sidekick Malibu Ken steal the show in "Toy Story 3," but this ain't Barbie's first speaking rodeo.

Voice actor Jodi Benson, best known for her vocal embodiment of the little mermaid  Ariel in all of her various forms, has spoken as Barbie in "Toy Story 2" and even projects dating back to the 1980s.

Benson tells PopcornBiz that she was "the original voice" and first recruited to do the voice for the iconic plastic doll in 1988 for a claymation work-out video.

"I did the very first Barbie voice," Benson says proudly.

She took a big Barbie break until director John Lasseter recruited her for a bit part in "Toy Story 2." Tour Guide Barbie had a scene-stealing role in the 1999 sequel.

So when Pixar called again for "Toy Story 3," Benson was pretty sure it was going to be another small, but memorable, part.

"I thought it was another cameo," she recalls. "I was like what kind of Barbie is it? Tour Guide Barbie? They said, no it's just Barbie and she actually has a part."

"It's Barbie and she meets Ken. And I thought, 'my God, that's great.' "

While Barbie might look like a ditz, Benson wanted to make sure her personality had depth.

"My feeling was to make her smart and loyal and passionate," says Benson."I wanted to make real. Not plastic. She has this external look. Which is not me and I don't think Barbie sees herself this way."

Indeed, Barbie -- while no Buzz Lightyear  -- is one of the stand-up heroes of the movie.

Ironically, Benson found out after she did her voice work that the Pixar creators placed the iconic doll right back into the 1980s. "Barbie wears the same workout gear that my original Barbie wore in the 80s," says Benson. "That was the same outfit I wore, with the legwarmers."

So groovy.

Related Topics Jodi Benson, Barbie, "Toy Story 3"
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