By Javier Romualdo
Los Angeles, Jun 16 (EFE).- The usual thing is for the best-loved animated film characters to end up being transformed into toys, but for actor Chris Evans – who provides the voice for astronaut Buzz Lightyear in the Pixar “Toy Story” film series, the opposite thing is now happening.
“It’s a character that, you have to acknowledge, a lot of people have an idea of already, you know, they have a connection to the character … they have an idea of how they feel about it, and so you have to honor that while trying to find a way to put your own interpretation on it,” the actor told EFE about “Lightyear,” which makes its debut on Friday as the latest film from the studio that turned out “Cars,” “Luca” and “The Incredibles.”
The idea behind the current film arose in 2016 when the studio was preparing “Toy Story 4” and Pixar employees began asking themselves about the origin of the toys that more than 25 years ago revolutionized the animated film industry with the first movie in the series.
The most enigmatic character was the inseparable friend of Sheriff Woody – Buzz Lightyear – an intrepid action figure obsessed with space adventures and science fiction who was inspired by a real astronaut about whom practically nothing was known.
Now, 27 years after the character made his screen debut, filmgoers will learn the story of the original Lightyear, a budding space pilot who after going on his first mission becomes a “Space Ranger,” admired by all.
In its English-language version, Lightyear’s voice is provided by Evans, the iconic actor who has starred as Captain America in almost a dozen Marvel films.
When “Toy Story” hit the big screen in 1995, Evans said, he was in high school and “loved” the movie, adding “It was such a turning point for animated films. It was the first time that such a movie had been made, and it did so well, and it just kind of kicked the door down for this new style of filmmaking.”
Then, Evans was 14 and, like many youngsters, he has seen the stars of that film survive the test of time as the original fan base has grown older.
“The beauty of this movie is that … Pixar … set out to make a movie that does feel slightly more mature, for a more adult audience,” said Evans, who turned 41 this week.
With “Lightyear,” Pixar has launched itself into science fiction with a story geared to all segments of the public, from kids up to “infinity and beyond,” as the star said.
Although at the start of the film everything seems normal, soon viewers will discover that the astronaut has traveled into the future without knowing it. His flight through space was supposed to last only minutes but Lightyear breaks the space-time barrier and arrives on another planet more than decades later.
Film director Angus MacLane said that he was inspired by the sci-fi films of the ’70s and ’80s to provide an appropriate tone to the adventure.
He said he felt “enormous pressure” to make a film that would be emotional and convincing, adding that in “Toy Story” the Lightyear character was a comic sidekick, a parody of a spaceman, but he didn’t want this film to be just a parody.
So, Evans acknowledged that he had to forget all his “preconceived ideas” about the original character, for whom actor Tim Allen provided the voice, to create a much more serious, diligent character as well as being ready to resolve moral problems.
Pixar’s “intention was to create a movie that would not only be fun for young people, but (was) something that adults could enjoy just as much,” he said.
And this was confirmed by the director, who said that at the studio they always make films for themselves and the audience has understood that.