Tag: Lightyears

Taika Waititi on why Lightyear’s LGBT love story is essential after UAE ban

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Taika Waititi has opened up on the importance of Lightyear’s LGBT love story after the film was banned in the United Arab Emirates.

The Thor: Ragnarok director lends his voice to the new Toy Story spin-off film, focused on Chris Evans’ Buzz Lightyear.

The movie features a sweet romance between Uzo Aduba’s Alisha Hawthorne and another character in a series of scenes that has led to Lightyear becoming the latest movie to be banned in the UAE.

Speaking to Metro.co.uk at the Lightyear red carpet, Taika said of the same-sex love story: ‘I think it’s so awesome.

‘It would be wonderful to one day get to a place where it doesn’t have to be a talking point. The idea that, to go and watch a movie and that’s your big problem? That’s crazy!

‘You never hear people going, “Oh, did you see that movie where that man and that woman kissed?!” If we can just let that go, love is love, if we can normalise it, then we’re moving towards a good space.

‘And when studios make these tiny little steps towards that, just like having a same-sex relationship, it’s just steps towards normalising it and I think you can’t ask for more than that.’

Taika and Chris had a blast at the Lightyear premiere in London (Picture: Getty Images Europe)
He voices the new version of Buzz (Picture: Invision/AP)
Taika opened up about the same-sex love story (Picture: James Veysey/REX/Shutterstock)

While the UAE’s Media Regulatory Office did not give a specific reason for its decision, it stated vaguely on Monday that the Disney and Pixar film was banned for its ‘violation of the country’s media content standards’.

The country criminalises consensual same-sex sexual activity between adults.


Lightyear follows Buzz’s adventures as a marooned Space Ranger (Picture: PIXAR)
Fans are set to see a whole new side to him (Picture: Pixar)
Uzo Aduba’s character Hawthorne is featured in a sweet same-sex love story (Picture: Getty Images for Turner)

Taking to Twitter, the UAE’s Media Regulatory Office posted an image of Buzz Lightyear in the new film, crossed out with a red line.

This action was taken despite the country declaring it would stop censoring cinematic releases and would introduce a 21-plus age rating for films it classifies for older audiences just six months ago.

Keke Palmer also has an important role in the film (Picture: Karwai Tang)
(L-R) Taika Waititi, Tim Peake, Keke Palmer and Chris Evans at the UK premiere of Lightyear (Picture: Karwai Tang/WireImage)

The same-sex scene was reportedly originally cut from the film by Disney.

It was reinstated following the uproar surrounding a statement from Pixar employees claiming that Disney had been censoring ‘overtly gay affection’ and the company’s CEO Bob Chapek’s handling of Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill.

Last year, Pixar’s Onward, a 2020 American computer-animated urban fantasy adventure film, was also reportedly banned by several Middle Eastern countries because of a reference to lesbian parents.

Lightyear follows Buzz on his adventures as a marooned Space Ranger, in the movie a young Andy could have watched before the events of the Toy Story films.

Lightyear is released in the UK on June 17.

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Taika Waititi on why Toy Story spin-off Lightyear’s same-sex love story is essential after UAE ban

Chris Evans on Lightyear’s Same-Sex Kiss and Trying to Sound Like Tim Allen

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Chris Evans has been called for duty in Disney-Pixar’s new Toy Story spin-off, Lightyear. The animated movie tells the origin story of the hero who inspired the Buzz Lightyear toy, voiced by Tim Allen in the four Toy Story films. Mastering the voice of Buzz, and delivering his most famous line—“to infinity and beyond”—was an “intimidating” task for Evans.

“I used Tim Allen as a guideline. He did such a good job, and I’d be a fool not to acknowledge the work he did,” said Evans at the film’s world premiere in Hollywood on Wednesday. “But I couldn’t just do a shameless impression. I had to somehow create my own understanding of the character, and try to make some fresh tracks in the snow while paying homage to the great work that he did. Eventually I felt comfortable enough to make my own interpretation, and part of that was lowering the tone of my voice. I basically have to lower the register of my voice in everything that I do.”

The change in actors was a deliberate move, meant to set a contrast between Buzz from the Toy Story franchise and Buzz from Lightyear. “Tim’s version of Buzz is a little goofier and is a little dumber, and so he is the comic relief. In this film, Buzz is the action hero. He’s serious and ambitious and funny, but not in a goofy way that would undercut the drama,” said director Angus MacLane. “Chris Evans has the gravitas and that movie-star quality that our character needed to separate him and the movie from Tim’s version of the toy in Toy Story.”

Lightyear, in theaters June 17, begins with a title card telling us that in 1995, little boy Andy got a toy Buzz: “It was from his favorite movie. This is that movie.” The new film focuses on Buzz and his crew trying to make it back to Earth after getting marooned on a hostile planet while battling foreign creatures and foes, including Buzz’s archenemy Zurg (voiced by James Brolin).

The film also features the first-ever same-sex kiss in a Pixar movie, between Buzz’s longtime commander and best friend, Space Ranger Alisha Hawthorne (voiced by Uzo Aduba), and her wife. The historical moment happens during an emotional montage where the audience sees glimpses of Alisha and her partner starting a family together, and at one point greeting each other with a kiss on the lips.

“It’s incredible, and a real hats off to Disney and Pixar for having that kiss be a part of this story,” said Aduba. “The kiss is a greeting and a gesture of love that is tender. It does establish who they are as people, but it is not the singular identifier for who either of them are. Seeing a loving gay couple in a meaningful way is important for everybody.”

The kiss was initially cut from the movie, but reinstated after LGBTQ+ employees at Pixar spoke out last March in an open letter claiming that Disney corporate executives had actively censored “overtly gay affection” in its films. Reports previously revealed that Disney, Pixar’s parent company, had donated $190,000 in support of Florida Republicans, weeks before Disney started to condemn the state’s Parental Rights in Education bill, which forbids discussions of sexual orientation for students in kindergarten through third grade.

“It’s great that it’s back in the film,” said Evans, who has an openly gay brother. “I think it’s a shame that it’s such a story. It should be more normalized, but I’m glad we are making those steps.”

Producer Galyn Susman said the gay couple in Lightyear was never meant to make headlines. “It’s important to show all of the wonderful people that are around us and represent everybody, including same-sex couples, in our film,” said Susman, who has been a part of Pixar since 1990. “Representation is huge for us, and we want to make connections with as many people as possible. Alisha and her wife have a relationship that lasts an entire lifetime. We don’t have enough movies that show relationships that last an entire life, and that’s aspirational.”


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