In 1995 “Toy Story” revolutionized the world of animation. Pixar’s first film followed a group of living toys who played dead when among humans. Woody, a fabric sheriff, was the favorite doll of Andy, the boy of the house. But one day Andy’s mother gives him a Buzz Lightyear, a space ranger who immediately becomes his new favorite toy.
But who is Buzz Lightyear and why were dolls made of this character? 27 years later we will know the answer, the true story of Buzz, in the new Pixar film “Lightyear” which will be released on June 17.
the director of the film, Angus McLane, saw “Star Wars” in 1979 and it changed his life. Since then he only wanted to play with Star Wars figures. Similarly, in “Toy Story,” Andy watches a life-changing movie that makes him ask for his favorite toy: Buzz Lightyear. “Lightyear” is that movie that Andy had seen.
We were able to speak with MacLane and the producer galyn suman about “Lightyear”.
Question: The character has been here since “Toy Story”, but the story of Buzz Lightyear hasn’t been told until now. How did the idea come about?
Angus McLane: When I started at the studio in 1987, the character I was most excited to work on was Buzz Lightyear. And I did a lot of work on Buzzlightyear on the second movie. That was my focus as an animator. And I was always interested in the universe that Buzz came from and I think he had never been successful. So when we started thinking about what to do after Dori, I realized that I wanted to make a movie like the ones I watched when I was a kid: sci-fi and action movies. So I thought we had to combine those ideas by making a Buzz Lightyear action movie and keep it very simple: the Buzz Lightyear movie.
Q.: Here you worked with one of the most charismatic characters in Pixar history. It is a huge responsibility. Were they worried about it?
galyn suman: Yes and no. When you embark on a project like this, with everything that has been worked on this character in previous films, you start with a lot of confidence. It is not the first time that the character has been handled. The interesting thing for us is that yes, it is Buzz, but it is not the Buzz toy. We are creating a new universe here. It’s more about creating a fun, engaging universe that people want to be in the way they want to be in Toy Story. Not because they are the same universe, they are different. But it has to be…
Q.: So is it a Toy Story movie or not?
Angus: It’s not a Toy Story movie.
Q.: What was the main concern when you started developing this film? They especially didn’t want…
Galyn: Letting down the fans. It’s interesting, because if you take 10 different fans and ask them where Buzz came from, they’re going to give you 10 radically different stories. It was obvious that the film that everyone has in mind could not be made. So we had to make a movie so great that when people see it they’re like, “OK, it wasn’t what I was expecting, I would have done something else. But I’m glad they made it because this movie is so much fun.” Make it so good that it doesn’t disappoint.
Q.: They didn’t make the movie just for Buzz fans…
Galyn: We made the film for ourselves. You work a thousand years on a film of this type, so we make a film that we want to see. Turns out we’re Buzz fans too, but you don’t have to be. If someone sees this movie without having seen any Toy Story before, they can have a great time and enjoy it.
Q.: Animation has changed a lot in the decades since we met Buzz. Now you can do many more things, but even if he is a different character -because he is not the toy Buzz-, you don’t want to make it so different either…
Angus: Buzz’s styling is different from the toy, but there are things in the animation that make him feel like Buzz. Sometimes it’s little details, like his eyebrows, the length of his upper lip, the way he looks left and right, how he moves… there’s a certain “flavor” of what makes Buzz Buzz. And although the toy has a different physiognomy than the human character, there were things that definitely made him look different from Buzz. That is, although the model looks different from Toy Story, it has a “feeling” to Buzz and the movement is very similar.
Q.: What is going to be the biggest surprise for the fans in this movie?
Angus: The cat speaks; that’s pretty amazing. I dont know…
Q.: What did you like most about working on this film?
Galyn: Watching the team work together even though everyone was at home, holding kids, pets running around… There was so much distraction, but everyone was so engaged and collaborating with each other. I thought it was not possible when they sent us home two years ago. It’s really amazing.
Angus: You start to see ideas come true and you can see the movie before anyone else. As a director I have been able to witness so many artistic and technical triumphs… I wanted to make sure everyone knew about those triumphs, trying to make it easy to communicate over Zoom, because there was so much amazing stuff going on. And then when we were able to see the movie together and with an audience, because we were so separated by covid that it was very nice to be able to enjoy it together.
· Chris Evans voices Buzz in “Lightyear”