Pixar’s latest, Lightyear, is now in theaters. Despite a mixed reaction, the cast certainly isn’t one of the lesser aspects of the film. With an ensemble that includes Chris Evans, Keke Palmer, Taika Waititi, and more, Lightyear boasts a Star Command crew of talented artists.
At the official Lightyear press junket, the cast got to speak on how they approached their characters and what appealed to them. Chris Evans was enthusiastic about getting to play a familiar yet new version of our titular hero, saying he was excited to “explore a character that we all know so well in a slightly more nuanced interpretation. The Buzz that we all know is obviously a toy.” Evans continued, talking about the bigger ramifications that this version might have to deal with, saying, “As a toy, there are certain ways that they can move through the world without the weight that we may carry. A toy knows its purpose. A toy doesn’t have to worry about disease. The impacts of the choices that we make as people are a little bit more consequential and it’s fun to put Buzz against that backdrop.”
As Izzy Hawthorne, Keke Palmer appreciated the strong sense of family and friendship. On what she personally connected with, Palmer noted: “Her love for her grandmother Alisha and the legacy that she wants to uphold. She wants to make her family proud and that’s something that I think we all can relate to. And the fact that she’s not afraid to pivot. I really admired that about her and that character. And I feel like she displays so many great leadership qualities that sometimes we overshadow, you know, she knows how to push her friends forward and she knows how to see
something in somebody so they can carry out their duty. She empowers others and it just, I love the character.”
Taika Waititi plays Mo Morrison, a pretty chill, laid-back dude who gets wrapped up into more than he signed up for. Waititi spoke about what he loves (and maybe envies) about Pixar and how he often revisits and studies their library of films, saying: “I think it’s, especially with Pixar actually, it’s the relentless pursuit of a perfect story. And yeah, you can see that time and time again with their movies. And I always go back to their movies, not only just for entertainment or to feel something emotional, but I go back to study how they structure their films and just the economy of storytelling, the way that they write their scripts. You know, annoyingly they just get it right every time. So I’m not afraid to rip off those practices that they use ’cause it’s inspiring to see, as a filmmaker to see these guys make these perfect films all the time.”
Pixar’s own Peter Sohn voices Sox, Buzz’s cute robot cat companion. Sohn is no stranger to voice work at Pixar (he previously voiced Emile in Ratatouille) and Sox is sure to steal the hearts of many a moviegoer. On balancing playing a robot and a loveable, funny cat, Sohn stated: “That was all Angus [MacLane] and the team, you know, they’re really fun to work with. I’ve known Angus for a long time and we nerd out a lot on our favorite sci-fi movies. So it was really easy to go from like, a militant sort of like ‘yes, captain’, like ‘warp one’, you know, ‘lightspeed’… And then go into a friendly buddy. Sohn approached Sox as having more of a dog’s personality, saying: “It’s so funny when we’re talking about Sox, like he’s a cat but he’s so loyal like a dog. And I’m a dog guy. And I can totally jump into the idea of like ‘whatever you want, Buzz’, like ‘I’ll bring you your snacks’, ‘I’ll fetch your newspapers’. It was really fun in the room, but that was really made with Angus and those guys, for sure.”