Buzz Lightyear will not air in all countries around the world, due to a kiss between two female characters. We met the director and the producer to talk about it with them.
Disney must deal with the censorship applied in several Muslim countries. Released this Wednesday June 22 on our screens, the spin-off of Toy Story will not be broadcast worldwide. The cause: a kiss exchanged between two female characters on the screen. For the first time in its history, Pixar addresses homosexuality, through the narration of Buzz Lightning. Although very brief, the sequence has nevertheless been retconned in several countries.
Already controversial, while Disney had considered cutting the scene during editing, the sequence eventually found its way into the film. For Galyn Susman, producer, it is already a victory.
“Fortunately, it is not up to us to deal with the consequences. We make our films the best we can, we tell the story to be the best it can be. We want to make the best film possible. Disney is handling the broadcast. I’m sorry that not everyone can have access to the film. I’m glad I don’t have to compromise the film to gain access to those territories.”
A film experience
While Disney seems to be betting mainly on its platform for animated films, Buzz Lightning is a small exception at the time of its theatrical release. A true condensed version of action and science fiction, the new film from Pixar studios has been designed for the big screen, and cannot do without this exploitation.
The saga Toy Story was Pixar’s finest hour for more than two decades. First film from the studios, released in 1995, John Lasseter’s feature film quickly established itself as a reference in animated cinema. He participated in forging the reputation of the studios, which have since become a staple of youth productions. Toy Story was thus entitled to several sequels, including the last part released in 2019 on our screens.
3 years after this reunion, Pixar is back with a slightly different production. This time, it’s not a toy story that unfolds before the eyes of the spectators, but a real adventure mixing science fiction and thriller. At least that’s how Angus MacLane describes the different inspirations that fueled his story.
“Visually, my inspirations were SF cinema from 1977 to 1987 probably, but on the storytelling side it was really thrillers. Hitchcock and the 70s conspiracy movies. All of these genres infused my story.”
However, this mixture of genres was not obvious at the beginning. Pixar has always been keen to tell about humanity, in its flaws and its strengths, the narration of Buzz Lightning did not sacrifice this aspect for the benefit of the big show.
“I think it was a lot of trial and error, because we had to find things that resonated with the story. We tried to create action that’s driven by the characters, we did a lot of back and forth. When you make a movie, you try to work around the issues, you try to test the characters, test the comedy and the action to find out if those genres eventually emerge when you mix them together. It’s really by developing all of this that you find out if it works.
For Galyn Susman, the idea was really to create a fun adventure from start to finish. The narration had to tell something, but not at the expense of the playfulness of the film. “We wanted to do something really fun, that was priority number 1.”
In its desire to make the adventure as fun and engaging as possible, Buzz Lightning was shown in cinemas across the globe. For the producer and the director, it could not have been otherwise.
“We always make our films for the cinema. From our perspective, the films that weren’t able to access it owe that to covid. I think we were reluctant to release these films in theaters because we didn’t want families to fear the disease in theaters. We didn’t want them to think they had to be insecure to watch these movies. We’ve finally gotten to a point where we hope people feel safe enough to come back to the movies. It is definitely a film designed for the cinema, first for the common experience, but also for the immersion offered by the rooms.
To discover Buzz Lightning, it’s in the cinema that it happens. The film was released on our screens this Wednesday June 22. In the voice cast, we will find François Civil and Lyna Khoudri in the skin of Buzz Lightyear and Izzy. Both give the reply to Chantal Ladesou, Tomer Sisley and Michael Gregorio.