It’s the definitive story behind Buzz Lightyear, the hero who inspired the beloved Toy Story character, and its set to win the hearts of Moviegoers this Summer. Disney and Pixar‘s LIGHTYEAR features the voice of Chris Evans and we were so thrilled to sit down in a Virtual Press Junket for the Film.
Participating at the Junket, which our Justin Waldman had the pleasure of attending, were:
Galyn Susman – Producer
Angus MacLane – Writer/Director
Michael Giacchino – Composer
Chris Evans – Buzz Lightyear
Keke Palmer – Izzy Hawthorne
Dale Soules – Darby Steel
Taika Waititi- Mo Morrison
James Brolin – Emperor Zurg
Peter Sohn – Sox
Angus MacLane who co-directed Finding Dory, talks about developing and pitching the idea of this Film.
MacLane: “The idea came to me because I always wanted to know about the backstory of the Space Rangers, Star Command and Buzz Lightyear – what the Movie is for 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 everything about what they want. So I thought, why don’t we make a cool Sci-Fi Movie? That’s the way I pitched it. What’s the Movie that Andy (the boy in Toy Story) saw that made him want a Buzz Lightyear figure? Why don’t we just make something awesome, that’s simple like that? Just make that geeky Buzz Lightyear movie and just make an adventure of that? That was the simple idea we sold to the Studio.”.
Michael Giacchino oversaw the Film’s Score and talks about his childhood and what Disney films meant to him growing-up.
Giacchino: “These are the movies I grew-up on. I pretty much was raised on them. One of the things I used to do was sneak a small tape recorder into the theatre so that I could – when I was a kid – record the Movie Audio so that I could have the audience response – all of that on it – and I would listen to it. There was no internet when I was growing up. That was the only way for me to experience that Movie again out of the theatre, was to listen to it. I would record them and at home every night I would play them under my pillow because I loved to listen how the Sound works in these movies. And how Music worked with Sound Effects and Dialogue and all of that. It’s ingrained in my head in a massive way. If someone asked me at 12-years-old, ‘Hey! You get to make your own one of these things. What do you want to do with it?’. I’m like, ‘Great! I would do THIS!’. That’s what I love so much about working with Angus. Often we’d get sidelined into these crazy conversations about a Movie from a certain era or a Character Actor from certain era. We have so much love for what came before and what introduced us to everything we’re now playing with today.”.
StarChris Evans is asked about how he brought something new to a character we all love and adore so much already in Buzz Lightyear.
Evans: “I loved getting to explore a Character we all know so well and in a slightly more nuanced interpretation. The Buzz we all know is a toy and as a toy there are certain ways they go about the world without the weight that we carry. A toy knows its purpose, a toy doesn’t have to worry about disease or the choices that we have to make.”.
Evans also talks about his relationship with Buzz Lightyear before being cast in this Film, plus he reveals which other Disney Character he would love to play.
Evans: “I love Buzz Lightyear and Toy Story. When Toy Story came out, it kicked the doors down in terms of a new approach to the Medium, so I was thrilled and excited to know there was more to come. I love all the characters in Toy Story deeply. If there were another character to play, I don’t think I could pull it off. But I am a big an of Robin Hood, the old animated Disney Film. I just thought Robin Hood was so cool. When I think of all the Animated Characters in the Disney library, Robin Hood stands alone. He’s smooth, charming and capable, and I don’t have that cool British accent, but I’d love a crack!”.
Keke Palmer tells us about connecting to her Character, Izzy Hawthorne, discovering who she was and what she cared about most.
Palmer: “Her love for her grandmother Alisha, and the legacy she wants to uphold. She wants to make her family proud and I think that’s something we can all relate to. And the fact that she’s not afraid to pivot. I really admire that about her. I feel she displays so many great leadership qualities because sometimes she gets overshadowed. She knows how to push her friends forward, and she knows how to see something in somebody so that they can carry out their duties. She empowers others and I love the character.”.
Taika Waititi stars as Mo Morisson, who is more understated than some of the other characters he’s played in his career. He has made Marvel films as we all know, but he talks about how he approaches Pixar films differently.
Waititi: “I think with Pixar especially, it’s the relentless pursuit of a perfect Story. I go back to them time and time again not just for entertainment or to feel something emotional, but I got back to study how they structure their Films and the Economy of Storytelling, the way that they write their Scripts. And knowingly, they just get it right every time. So I’m not afraid to rip-off those practices that they use, because it’s inspiring as a Filmmaker to see these guys make these perfect films every time.”.
Screen LegendJames Brolin talks about that resonated most with him with the Film.
Brolin: “I walked in, didn’t know who I am or what my lines were, so that was a tough one. I saw an unfinished, unpolished version of the Film without Music, and actually realized then that my Character was much more complex than that I had imagined. Even at this point I’m not supposed to tell you everything that Zurg is. Certainly multiple personalities and a Con Man. And could I say even a Shrink and an Alter-Ego? There’s so many things to learn from this Movie. There’s a lot of messages about how we approach things and how we solve our problems, and how we avoid them.”.
Peter Sohn talks about Sox the Cat‘s scene-stealing performance hereand if he foresees a Spinoff.
Sohn: “I don’t want any of that burden! What are you talking about? The curse of that burden. I love Sox and I’ve been real lucky hanging-out with all of you right now, doing this process has been awesome.”.
Dale Soules talks about her thoughts on a potential Spinoff for Darby Steel.
Soules: “I’d like to see more Darby and Sox and their own adventure. I love Sox, though you don’t see that part of her very much. There’s an expression on the face of the animated Darby when Buzz thanks her and says ‘Nice job, elderly convict’. There’s a look on her face that says what I’d like to see more of. It’s not sentimental, mushy but it’s more like, ‘Okay, I gotcha. I hear you.’. I’d like to see more of that attitude in the Series.”.
Disney and Pixar’s LIGHTYEAR arrives in theatres June 17, 2022.