Chris Evans talks about homophobic criticism for a lesbian kiss in the movie 'Lightyear': "Those people are idiots"

Buzz Lightyear may go to infinity and beyond, but he won’t go to the United Arab Emirates. The federation of Muslim states has censored Lightyearthe prequel to the famous character who inspired the toy from toy story. The decision has been supported by 13 other countries in the Middle East and Asia and is due to the appearance in the footage of a kiss between two women. Actor Chris Evans, who lends his voice to the main character in the film, has spoken about the controversy that the kiss has caused, also in ultra-conservative sectors of Western countries. “The truth is that these people are idiots”, he has sentenced in an interview with Reuters Television. “Human history is a story of constant social awakening. Of awakening and growth, and that is what makes us good”, added the interpreter of Captain America41 years old.

Lightyear opens this Friday in theaters (almost) around the world. It is the first Pixar film to do so since Onwards (2020), since Soul, Luca Y NET were launched directly on the platform of streaming Disney+. Despite the high expectations and quite positive reviews, the production is grabbing headlines for a kiss between two women and the reactions it has generated.

The film tells the origin story of Buzz Lightyear, the hero who inspired the toy, who is accompanied on this mission by Commander Alisha Hawthorne (voiced by Uzo Aduba, from Orange is the new Black). Alisha’s character has a woman and at one point in the film she greets her with a kiss. The second that the scene lasts has finished eclipsing the other 6,300 of the tape, long before its premiere.

Originally, the moment had been cut and left in the editing room, but the debate on a controversial homophobic law in Florida ended up bringing the censorship episode to light, causing the directors to back down and include the kiss. In a public letter, LGTBIQ workers at Pixar claimed that executives at the parent company had requested cuts of “nearly every moment of gay displays of affection” from its latest films. “At Pixar we have seen beautiful stories, full of diverse characters, come back from Disney reduced to crumbs of what they once were. Nearly every moment of openly gay affection is cut at Disney’s behest.”

The characters of Buzz Lightyear, who is voiced by Chris Evans, and Alisha Hawthorne, played by Uzo Aduba.
The characters of Buzz Lightyear, who is voiced by Chris Evans, and Alisha Hawthorne, played by Uzo Aduba.Pixar (AP)

The severed plots were reduced to winks that served as tools of marketing. It happened with the flesh and blood version of Beauty and the Beast (2017). The director assured before the premiere that there was “a gay moment” in the film that was later limited to a dance between two men. In Han Solo (2018) both the director and the actor who plays Lando Calrissian assured that he was pansexual, but such a statement was not reflected in the film. In Onward it was sold with great fanfare that there would be an LGTBIQ character. And it was half fulfilled: a high school dropped at one point in the footage that he had a girlfriend, something that could be easily circumvented with dubbing. The strategy was to satisfy the LGTBIQ public with veiled references that would avoid censorship in Eastern markets. The technique has been extended to many major Hollywood productions and has been denounced and pointed out in recent years as a marketing strategy rather than a defense of civil rights.

That whole strategy seems to have collapsed with Lightyear. A local political context and the denunciation of a group of workers have helped. But also the determination of its director Angus MacLane, and the will of its actor, Chris Evans, capable of getting wet in a promotional interview and not talking about the LGTBIQ community to sell tickets, but to claim their rights.

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