Chris Evans & Taika Waititi Were Stoked About How The Queer Character Played Out In Lightyear

Marvel duo Chris Evans and Taika Waititi star alongside each other in the Toy Story prequel LIGHTYEAR and it’s (to infinity and) BEYOND.

LIGHTYEAR is a prequel flick that explains Buzz Lightyear’s (Evans) origin story. Meanwhile Taika plays Mo, Buzz’s Kiwi colleague.

Ahead of the film’s release, I chatted to both Chris and Taika about their leap from Marvel to Disney (which wasn’t too much of a leap at all) and the groundbreaking content of the new flick.

Guys, this was such an amazing film! It was fun and cheeky and soulful – basically everything you want in a Disney movie. I especially loved how one of the lead characters is queer and it’s done in an organic, non-tokenistic way, which is so rare to see! Were you guys happy to see this?

Chris: Yeah, absolutely! That’s one of the things that films do well, they absorb the times and have it reflect outwardly. That’s what people want out of movies. I think it’s Julianne Moore who said: “The audience doesn’t come to see you, they come to see themselves.” And I think with the world we’re living in now, that’s the right move, to have those types of representations find a home on-screen.

Taika: It’s nice to hopefully slowly get to a place, like you said, where it’s not tokenistic and you don’t even have to think about it. It doesn’t even have to be a talking point because that’s the world we want to get to, where we can actually focus on even more intense things that are happening and not have to worry about this. I’m very happy with how it played out!

Taika, I bloody love that your character is a Kiwi! Was the character written that way or was that your choice?

Taika: As a proud New Zealander, I’m proud of my accent. And as a lazy actor, it’s the only accent I can do. I actually get relieved when people say I can use my own accent because I’m more natural and I’m better at ad-libbing and stuff. When I’m doing another accent, I tend to think too much while I’m doing it. [The director] just said, “Do your own accent…” I don’t think I even had a choice!

You guys obviously had a lot of material to draw from when prepping for the role what with the four Toy Story flicks. Did you channel the OG movies?

Chris: Tim Allen was amazing as Buzz Lightyear and luckily there is some connective tissue between that role and this role. In the Toy Story world this toy is supposed to be what that toy was based off so I wanted to make sure that my character had some echo of what Tim Allen did. So it was a good blueprint, a good road map to kind of follow along but you still have to make some of your own choices and those are just interpretations that I made on my own.

We know and love you both for your contributions to the MCU. I feel like there are definitely some parallels between this film and superhero movies. Whataya reckon?

Chris: They’re both slightly fantastical. They’re obviously not grounded in reality. You have larger than life heroes, but in most storytelling, we make our heroes somehow bigger than us, whether that’s through flying or animation or just character traits that are just our own experiences amplified.

Taika: With animation and CGI it allows you to let your imagination run wild as a storyteller. Anything you can think up, you can create. I’ve often seen the Marvel world as the modern version of the olden day heroes, the Greek myths and stuff that everyone used to set examples of how to live. That’s what we’re doing again with these heroes.

Chris Evans as Captain America in Avengers: Age of Ultron. (Credit: Marvel)

You’ve started to foray into acting a lot more and I absolutely love that for you, Taika. What made you decide to sign up for this film?

Taika: The main reason why I chose to do this is because Chris was doing it.

[Chris Evans laughs hysterically]

Taika: That’s not even a joke!

Fair call! And finally: Chris, I know this will be hard, but take your pick: Captain America or Buzz Lightyear?

Chris: That’s tough because playing Cap, I’ve not only done it for 10 years but I’ve made some amazing friends and had some wonderful life experiences and the role is very dear to my heart. It’s hard to say which one I would choose. That’s almost impossible. Cap is very personal to me, but I’m probably more akin to this Buzz character as opposed to Cap’s choices. I think regret and trying to redo your mistakes as opposed to living in the past [is very relatable]. But I’ll tell you what, maybe if I play Buzz for 10 years, you can ask me that question again and I’ll have a better answer!

Disney and Pixar’s LIGHTYEAR is in cinemas June 16.

Matty Galea is the Senior Entertainment Editor at PEDESTRIAN.TV, as well as our resident astrologer who pens our weekly horoscope series, ‘Your Horos Are Here’. He also Tweets about pop culture and astrology and posts spicy content on Instagram.