Out of this World Global Press Conference for Disney & PIXAR’S “LIGHTYEAR” Thursday 16 June, 2022

Buzz Lightyear is such a hero—in fact, he’s the kind of big-screen phenomenon that inspired a successful line of toys. That’s what filmmakers pictured when creating the character for Pixar Animation Studios’ 1995 feature film “Toy Story.” That story placed Buzz Lightyear—the toy in this case—center stage as the brand-new, highly sought-after toy that gives vintage pull-string Sheriff Woody a run for his money as Andy’s favorite toy.

Fast forward 21 years, and director Angus MacLane found himself asking: What movie inspired Andy to beg for a fancy action figure with lasers, karate chop action and aerodynamic space wings? “‘Lightyear’ is the movie that Andy, his friends and probably most of the rest of the world saw,” says director Angus MacLane. “I wanted to make something that felt true to those fun, big-budget popcorn films.”

ALISHA? – In Disney and Pixar’s “Lightyear,” Buzz (voice of Chris Evans) returns to the planet he’s been marooned on for decades after a monumental test flight. But things have changed while he was away. When he runs into Izzy Hawthorne (voice of Keke Palmer), he mistakes her for her grandmother Alisha—Buzz’s best friend and commander. Peter Sohn lends his voice to Buzz’s dutiful robot companion, Sox. Directed by Angus MacLane (co-director “Finding Dory”) and produced by Galyn Susman (“Toy Story That Time Forgot”), the sci-fi action-adventure opens in U.S. theaters on June 17, 2022. © 2022 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

I got an opportunity to attend a Virtual global press conference for Pixar’s LIGHTYEAR and interviewed the voiceover cast. A sci-fi action adventure and the definitive origin story of Buzz Lightyear, “Lightyear” follows the legendary Space Ranger on an intergalactic adventure. “I did a lot of research, breaking down the nature of genre thrillers,” says MacLane. “I knew Buzz would have to face a big problem, and I liked the sci-fi element of time dilation. There’s a rich history of character-out- of-time heroics: Captain America, Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, to name a few.

Participants:

Chris Evans “Buzz Lightyear”

Keke Palmer “Izzy Hawthorne”

Dale Soules “Darby Steel”

Taika Waititi “Maurice ‘Mo’ Morrison”

James Brolin “Zurg”

Peter Sohn “SOX”

Galyn Susman – Producer

Angus MacLane – Director/Screenwriter

Michael Giacchino – Composer

LightYear CAST INTERVIEW

MacLane on IMAX:  “Yeah, the origin of it was, I knew that this film needed to be a theatrical experience and as part of the theatrical experience…animation oftentimes is seen as like a kid’s table, like less than.  IMAX is a format that celebrates the cinematic experience.  By doing a film in IMAX, you’re kind of signifying this is a movie that’s big, and by doing it from the beginning in IMAX, you’re really saying this is something we believe in, the company believes in, IMAX believes in to give you a premium format experience.  So once I had that idea, I pitched it to the president of Pixar, Jim Morrison, and he was like, ‘yeah, absolutely.’  Like, he totally got the value of investing and making this, from the beginning, an IMAX film.”

TO INFINITY… — Disney and Pixar’s “Lightyear” is an all-new, original feature film that presents the definitive origin story of Buzz Lightyear (voice of Chris Evans)—the hero who inspired the toy—introducing the legendary Space Ranger who would win generations of fans. Prepare to blast off for a thrilling adventure that will take you “To infinity… and beyond.” Directed by Angus MacLane (co-director “Finding Dory”) and produced by Galyn Susman (“Toy Story That Time Forgot”), the sci-fi action-adventure releases on June 17, 2022. © 2021 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Evans on his prior relationship with Buzz:  “I mean, I loved Buzz Lightyear, I loved Toy Story…when Toy Story came out, it kinda kicked the doors down in terms of a new approach to the medium.  So I was thrilled and excited to know that there was more to come, and so to that extent, I loved all the characters in Toy Story deeply.”

Evans on what other Disney characters he would like to portray:  “If there were another character to play…I don’t think I could pull it off, but I was always a really big fan of Robin Hood, the old animated Disney movie Robin Hood.  I just thought Robin Hood was so cool, you know?  I think of all the animated characters in the Disney library, Robin Hood stands alone.  I think he’s just smooth and charming and capable and, you know, I don’t have that cool British accent, but I’d love to give it a crack.”

MacLane on coming up with the idea for Lightyear:  “Well, the idea came to me as I’ve always wanted to tell or know about the backstory of the Space Rangers and Star Command and Buzz Lightyear, what the movie is from that.  I also wanted to make something that was fun to make after doing Dory, which was fun, but it was really
challenging when you have a protagonist that’s always forgetting about what they want.
So what I decided to do was just think, well, wait a minute, why don’t we just make that movie like a cool sci-fi movie?  And I pitched it just like that:  ‘What was the movie that Andy saw that made them want a Buzz Lightyear figure?  Why don’t we just make that movie, just make something awesome and simple like that, with all of the nerdy, geeky, sci-fi goodness that we want to see in the movie?’  That was really the initial pitch.  From there, that was the simple idea that we sold within the studio.”

TEAMING UP – Disney and Pixar’s “Lightyear” is a sci-fi action adventure and the definitive origin story of Buzz Lightyear (voice of Chris Evans), the hero who inspired the toy. The all-new story follows the legendary Space Ranger on an intergalactic adventure alongside a group of ambitious recruits (voices of Keke Palmer, Taika Waititi and Dale Soules), and their robot companion Sox (voice of Peter Sohn). Also joining the cast are Uzo Aduba, James Brolin, Mary McDonald-Lewis, Efren Ramirez and Isiah Whitlock Jr. Directed by Angus MacLane (co-director “Finding Dory”) and produced by Galyn Susman (“Toy Story That Time Forgot”), “Lightyear” releases June 17, 2022. © 2022 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Palmer on finding connections with Izzy:  “Her love for her grandmother Alicia and the legacy that she wants to uphold. She wants to make her family proud and that’s something that I think we all can relate to.  The fact that she’s not afraid to pivot–I really admired that about her, and I feel like she displays so many great leadership qualities…she knows how to push her friends forward and she knows how to see something in somebody so they can carry out their duty.  She empowers others and I just love the character.”

Soules on Darby’s past:  “I think her past is very mysterious and we wanna keep it that way.  We do know that she was incarcerated and that while everyone else is voluntary in the Junior Zap Patrol, she isn’t exactly voluntary.  She’s there in the hope that she will reduce her parole if she does well.

“So that’s the part you know.  The part you don’t know that I found out that I really loved was that I was treated with such respect by Buzz Lightyear, Captain Lightyear, and that really informed the heart of her.  Because as gruff and tough…as she looks, she does respond to being treated with respect and he does that and it works like a charm.  In a lot of ways, I suppose she is like me:  She’s no-nonsense, she’s rough…I think those are the two things I would say.  And very loyal to those who do treat her with respect.”

Waititi on commonalities he found with Mo:  “Well Mo, I feel, is very similar to how I was in the early days:  A little aimless and trying to focus on something…I was interested in a thousand different things and I wanted to do everything all at once, but I never really finished my projects.  That was something I learned how to do later on.  So it was easy to tap into that because, you know, I feel like I’m someone who works a lot, but also wrestles with this part of me who doesn’t wanna work at all ever again.  So, those are the two sides of me that are always in constant conflict.  I think we’ve all got that side of ourselves where we’d rather just retire now, but we can’t because we’re contractually obliged to finish all these damn projects.”

HERO’S BEST FRIEND — Disney and Pixar’s “Lightyear” is an all-new, original feature film that presents the definitive origin story of Buzz Lightyear (voice of Chris Evans)—the hero who inspired the toy—following the legendary Space Ranger on an intergalactic adventure. But Buzz can’t do it alone—he shares space with a dutiful robot companion cat called Sox (voice of Peter Sohn). A hidden grab bag of gizmos in a cute kitty package, Sox is Buzz’s go-to friend and sidekick. Directed by Angus MacLane (co-director “Finding Dory”) and produced by Galyn Susman (“Toy Story That Time Forgot”), the sci-fi action-adventure releases on June 17, 2022. © 2022 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

MacLane on SOX:  “I always imagined, what’s the short film of him waiting for Buzz to come home?  It’s just him, like, checking his watch.  Well, Sox was named by Matt Aldrich, who was the first writer on the film who left the project amicably to work on his own stuff.  But…it was something he and I developed early on as an antithesis to all the things going on in the film.  He was very low-tech.  He was very clunky.  Where Buzz was going to look very sleek and was going to move very believably, this would be like a cat that was fooling no one.  Like it looks like a cat, but the limited robotic movement…as an animator, you think about Ken in Toy Story 3 or you think about Wall-E in Wall-E.  These are characters that don’t move that much, but every time they move, there’s an appeal to them.  There’s a clarity and a simplicity.  There’s no place in motion to hide.  So Sox represents because this is a movie kind of made in the ’80s of the kind of clunky animatronic fascination that was sweeping the nation then, when it was like, we’ll have anthropomorphized animals that are completely clunky.

“You know, Disneyland had a lot of these, and I realized it was never clear to me if they thought kids were supposed to think they were alive?  But they have their own kind of goofy charm for their limitation and that’s what Sox was–a completely limited cat-flocked character, that was good-natured and was always there for Buzz.

MAKING SPACE – In Disney and Pixar’s “Lightyear,” Buzz Lightyear (voice of Chris Evans) and Alisha Hawthorne (voice of Uzo Aduba)—his long-time commander, fellow Space Ranger and trusted friend—are marooned on a hostile planet. Directed by Angus MacLane (co-director “Finding Dory”) and produced by Galyn Susman (“Toy Story That Time Forgot”), the sci-fi action-adventure opens in U.S. theaters on June 17, 2022. © 2022 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Susman on Alisha Hawthorne and her wife:  “Yeah, it was very important.  That whole relationship is about showing Buzz, what he doesn’t have.  We really just wanted to show a loving, meaningful relationship and having a kiss as part of that.  And we were really, really happy that we could do that.

MacLane:  “Yeah, certainly a representation was something we were excited about, but more than anything, it’s a reflection of the reality of the world that we live in.  We feel like science fiction was always my entree into a more diverse society, starting with Star Trek which, at the time, was very diverse for a show of its era.

“So it’s in that spirit that we take from Star Trek of trying to find the most diversity we can in our cast.”

TO INFINITY — Disney and Pixar’s “Lightyear” is an all-new, original feature film that presents the definitive origin story of Buzz Lightyear (voice of Chris Evans)—the hero who inspired the toy—introducing the legendary Space Ranger and his dutiful robot companion, Sox (voice of Peter Sohn). Directed by Angus MacLane (co-director “Finding Dory”) and produced by Galyn Susman (“Toy Story That Time Forgot”), the sci-fi action-adventure opens in U.S. theaters on June 17, 2022. © 2022 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Evans on which of his catchphrases is his favorite:  “Oh, man.  That’s impossible, you know, ’cause obviously ‘To Infinity and Beyond‘ is something I knew well before ‘Avengers Assemble.’ It was dear to me in much earlier chapters of my life.

“But, you know, as proud as I am to play this role and as honored as I am to be a part of this universe now, that line belongs to someone else.  It almost kinda felt like I was wearing someone else’s clothes or something, you know?  So you do your best to honor it and put your own spin on it, but let’s be honest, that’s Tim Allen’s line.  So personally, at least ‘Avengers Assemble,’ I was the first one in the pool for that one.”

LIGHTYEAR is available in theaters June 17th

 

About the Blogger - Kiwi the Beauty


Kiwi is the free spirited blogger and content creator of KiwiTheBeauty.com. As a digital influencer, she produces creative inspiration around beauty, lifestyle, media and travel leisure. Her life mantra is to make manifesting fun! When she’s not blogging, she is eating trendy hipster food, carrying crystals, making it rain at her local farmer's market and binge brunching. Follow her on her blog and social media at kiwithebeauty.com + @kiwithebeauty


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