Chris Evans has revealed he is pleased that Disney has restored a gay kiss in Pixar’s new movie Lightyear but admitted his frustration that it even has to be discussed.
The actor, 41, who voices title character Buzz Lightyear, said he thinks it is ‘wonderful’ that the franchise decided to include the kiss in the animation movie.
Lightyear made headlines over the decision to cut the gay kiss before Disney put it back in after a furious backlash from staff, with Disney placing itself in opposition to Florida’s Parental Rights In Education Bill, dubbed the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill.
‘It’s wonderful’: Chris Evans has revealed that he is pleased that Disney has restored a gay kiss in Pixar’s new movie Lightyear but admitted his frustration that it has to be discussed
The kiss happens between Buzz Lightyear’s friend Alisha Hawthorne (Uzo Aduba) and another female character within the first 30 minutes of the film.
Hawthorne reportedly meets her love interest after she and Buzz land on a strange planet and later alludes to her getting married to her. She says, ‘it’s funny, I wouldn’t have met her if we hadn’t been stranded,’ according to USA Today.
Speaking about the decision to restore the smooch, Chris admitted he is ‘frustrated’ it even needs to be discussed as he shared his hope that it becomes ‘the norm’ on screens.
‘It’s nice, and it’s wonderful, it makes me happy. It’s tough to not be a little frustrated that it even has to be a topic of discussion,’ he told Variety.
Representation: The actor, 41, who voices title character Buzz Lightyear, said he thinks it is ‘wonderful’ that the franchise decided to include the kiss in the animation movie
‘The goal is that we can get to a point where it is the norm, and that this doesn’t have to be some uncharted waters, that eventually this is just the way it is.’
After the gay kiss was restored in Lightyear, the United Arab Emirates has banned the movie from cinemas.
Malaysia is also set to outlaw the animated blockbuster and other Muslim-majority nations could follow suit in response to the same-sex scene.
The UAE, like many other countries in the wider Middle East, is a Muslim-led nation that criminalises same-sex relationships.
The Emirates, home to Abu Dhabi and Dubai, announced through its Media Regulatory Office of the country’s Ministry of Youth and Culture that the film would not be opening in the country.
Smooch: The kiss happens between Buzz Lightyear’s friend Alisha Hawthorne (Uzo Aduba) and another female character within the first 30 minutes of the film
Romance: Hawthorne reportedly meets her love interest after her and Buzz land on a planet and later alludes to her getting married to her. Pictured: Uzo Aduba, who voices the character
The film ‘is not licensed for public screening in all cinemas in the UAE, due to its violation of the country’s media content standards’, the office said in a tweet.
‘The office confirms that all films screened in cinemas across the country are subject to follow-up and evaluation before the date of screening to the public, to ensure the safety of the circulated content according to the appropriate age classification.’
The office did not elaborate on the tweet and did not immediately respond to questions from The Associated Press.
The tweet included an image of the film’s poster, with the profile image of its main character Buzz Lightyear with a ‘no’ symbol over it in red.
Cinemas in the UAE, a federation of seven sheikhdoms on the Arabian Peninsula, had already advertised showing times for the film.
Banned: After the gay kiss was restored in Lightyear, the United Arab Emirates has banned the movie from cinemas and Malaysia is also set to outlaw the animated blockbuster
The US State Department warns that Islamic – or Shariah – law in the UAE can include the death penalty for same-sex conduct, while Dubai can levy a 10-year prison sentence and Abu Dhabi allows for up to 14 years.
But such prosecutions are rarely reported and LGBTQI+ individuals do live in the skyscraper-studded city-state of Dubai, home to the long-haul carrier Emirates.
The £164million Lightyear is expected to be a major draw for Disney, with analysts estimating it could gross over £82million in its first weekend.
Recently, Disney has faced protests from activists and its own staff over what they described as CEO Bob Chapek’s slow response in publicly criticising Florida legislation that opponents dubbed the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill.
Controversy: The Emirates announced through its Media Regulatory Office of the country’s Ministry of Youth and Culture that the film would not be opening in the country
Florida governor Ron DeSantis in late March signed the bill, which forbids instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten (the equivalent to year one in the UK) through to third grade (the equivalent to year four).
The gay kiss in Lightyear had been cut from the film but was restored after Pixar employees protested Disney’s response to Florida’s bill.
‘Nearly every moment of overtly gay affection is cut at Disney’s behest, regardless of when there is protest from both the creative teams and executive leadership at Pixar. Even if creating LGBTQIA+ content was the answer to fixing the discriminatory legislation in the world, we are being barred from creating it,’ Pixar employees wrote in a March letter to the company.
Sources close to the production told Variety that while Hawthorne’s relationship was never questioned, studio execs opted to axe the kiss in an apparent move to avoid controversy.
Decision: Lightyear had made headlines over the decision to cut the gay kiss before putting it back in after a furious backlash from its own staff
Insiders allege the decision to keep the kiss could be a turning point for Pixar, which has only featured a handful of ‘unambiguous LGBTQ characters’ in its 27-year history.
Buzz Lightyear is an action figure who comes to life in the Toy Story films and the new movie provides an origin story for the flesh-and-blood ‘Space Ranger’ on whom the toy was modeled.
Over the course of the movie the title character finds himself lost on a faraway planet struggling to return to Earth – only to be impeded by the machinations of James Brolin’s Emperor Zurg.
The glittering cast includes dreamboat director Taika Waititi, who is known for his work in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Dale Soules, who co-starred with Uzo on Orange Is The New Black.
Protests: Disney has faced protests from activists and its staff over what they described as CEO Bob Chapek’s slow response in publicly criticising the so-called ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill