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Photo via Pixar

Who plays Anxiety in ‘Inside Out 2?’

We’re all familiar that nagging inner voice that loves to amp up our “worst case scenario” meter. The one convincing you that you’ll be late to that appointment, say the wrong thing, or completely embarrass yourself. Well, in Pixar’s Inside Out 2, that frantic inner monologue gets animated as the new Emotion Anxiety, brought to jittery life by Maya Hawke.

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The 24-year-old actress, best known for her role as Robin on Stranger Things, lent her neurotic vocal talents to the highly-anticipated Inside Out sequel. Anxiety serves as the main source of chaos in teenage Riley’s mind, forcibly taking over HQ alongside some other new Emotion pals like Envy, Embarrassment, and Ennui.

Who’s the voice behind Anxiety in Inside Out?

According to Hawke, giving voice to Anxiety was as easy as letting her own insecure inner chatter run free.

“The little voice in my head that tells me to worry…I just tapped into that and let it come out instead of keeping it in my brain,” she explained.

Maya Hawke

Those frantic mannerisms and gestures Anxiety makes on screen? Straight from Hawke’s real-life thought processes. Not that the actress suffers from crippling anxiety herself.

“I don’t have debilitating, medical-grade anxiety,” Hawke clarified. “I do have that character within me that frets and worries though, so I let her free and gave her full rein in this role, which was really cool.”

Maya Hawke

Disney lucked out by casting the generational talent, who was immediately drawn to Anxiety’s frazzled design during the audition process. Actually, some of Hawke’s improvised tics even made it into the final animation. Her passion for the world of Inside Out 2 is clear: “I could not be more grateful or proud to be part of this movie alongside this insanely talented cast.”

Photo via Youtube/Pixar

And who are those other new emotions giving the OG gang a run for their money? In addition to Anxiety’s inner chaos agent, there’s:

  • Envy (Ayo Edebiri): A green-tinted schemer who makes Riley feel jealous, especially of her hockey idol Val.
  • Embarrassment (Paul Walter Hauser): The awkward wallflower who hides in his hoodie, sharing an unlikely bond with Sadness.
  • Ennui (Adèle Exarchopoulos): Literally just boredom personified, chilling in the background on her phone and making Riley zone out.
  • Nostalgia (June Squibb): An elderly woman reminiscing over Riley’s warmest childhood memories.

While Joy originally ran things in Riley’s brain, it’s Anxiety who emerges as the new ruler demanding constant control and over-preparation for any possible scenario. Though her intentions are somewhat pure (she just wants to craft a “better” version of Riley), her overbearing nature sets up an inner mind battle that viewers will be able to relate to.

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Melissa Brown
Freelance Writer at We Got This Covered (WGTC) | 2 Years in the Industry Putting my linguistics degree to good use, I chronicle the debaucherous world of reality TV, championing the uncultured masses. I also like dabbling in weird facts, indie movies, and the odd political commentary. I'm here to inform and entertain. Fun Fact: In my spare time, I like to pine for my rapidly fading youth by watching 80s and 90s reruns while baking cookies. 🩷