From Beetlejuice to Batman to Ken, the Barbie dude

Michael Keaton, best remembered for his lead role in Tim Burton’s two Batman films, has reportedly joined the voice cast of Disney/Pixar’s forthcoming Toy Story 3, directed by Lee Unkrich (co-director of Toy Story 2). Keaton will the voice Ken, aka the Barbie dude, and I guess he’ll logically be a love interest for the Barbie character voiced by Disney regular Jodi Benson. Now I’ve seen both Toy Story films and for the life of me I can’t remember Barbie being in it…but I guess that’s not the issue is it?

Disney had already started work on the picture by itself back in 2004, based on a script by Jim Herzfeld (Meet The Parents). The movie would have centered on Andy’s toys traveling to Taiwan in order to rescue Buzz Lightyear, who’s facing destruction following a massive recall of the toy’s product line. The premise sounds like it could have been interesting, but also very (too?) similar to Toy Story 2, with a simple, cheap role reversal.

After the Disney/Pixar merger in 2006, that version of the movie was cancelled and Pixar took control over production. Now written by Andrew Stanton (Wall-E) and Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine), the film will chronicle the lives of everyone’s favorite animated toys, now staying at a day-care center as their former owner Andy has gone to college and is “too old for toys”.

The original voice cast returns for the film, which is slated for release in 3D in the US on June 18th 2010, following re-releases of the first two movies in 3D.

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