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Tom Hanks admitted he was confused by Disney’s decision to replace Tim Allen with Chris Evans in the new “Lightyear” film about Allen’s fictional “Toy Story” character, Buzz Lightyear.
The 65-year-old actor was asked if it was “strange to be in theaters opposite a Buzz Lightyear film” as his “Elvis” flick rolled through cinemas at the same time.
“How about that? Actually, I wanted to go head-to-head with Tim Allen, and then they didn’t let Tim Allen do it,” he told CinemaBlend. “I don’t understand that.”
When further asked about the studio’s decision to bring in Evans instead of Allen, Hanks added: “Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know.
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“Here’s the thing — just as long as people come back to the motion picture theater. I want to go back in the theater with a bunch of strangers and leave with something in common. That’s what I want to do and, going to see a movie with him [Allen] — I’m looking forward to that.”
“Lightyear,” just finished its third weekend at the box office and has earned nearly $107 million.
Allen, 60, talked about the confusing recasting with Extra last week, and said the new Buzz Lightyear character was completely different from his original interpretation.
“This is a whole new team that really had nothing to do with the first movies,” he said.
Allen had famously voiced the astronaut doll character since 1995 and resumed the role for “Toy Story 2,” “Toy Story 3” and “Toy Story 4” in addition to a host of other projects.
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The “Home Improvement” star was shocked to learn that the new Disney film was not a live-action movie starring “real humans,” like he was told.
“The short answer is I’ve stayed out of this. … I thought it was a live-action. When they said they were doing it live-action, that’s what I thought to mean real humans and not an animated thing.”
Allen failed to see any connection to the original tale as “there’s really no ‘Toy Story’ Buzz without Woody. It just doesn’t seem to have any connection to the toy.”
He added: “So I’m not sure what the idea [is]…I’m a plot guy. If this was done in 1997, it would seem to be a big adventure story, and as I see, it’s not a big adventure story. It’s a wonderful story. It just doesn’t seem to have any connection to the toy.
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Director Angus MacLane explained the character’s differences to Vanity Fair last month, and noted Allen’s version of Buzz from the ’90s was “a little goofier” than the new adaptation.
“In this film, Buzz is the action hero. He’s serious and ambitious and funny, but not in a goofy way that would undercut the drama.”
He added: “Chris Evans has the gravitas and that movie-star quality that our character needed to separate him and the movie from Tim’s version of the toy in ‘Toy Story.'”
“Toy Story 3” was one of the most highly anticipated sequels of 2010. The computer-animated movie, which also stars the voices of Tom Hanks, Whoopi Goldberg and Michael Keaton, earned $1 billion globally at the box office.
“Toy Story 4” also brought in more than $1 billion at the box office in 2019 on a $200 million budget.
Evans said he was “humbled” to play the larger-than-life role after studying the films for years.
“Look, Tim Allen is Buzz Lightyear,” Evans told Good Morning America last month. “What he did in those movies is so iconic and so loved, and I’d be a fool not to incorporate some of his choices into this role.
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“The character in this movie is the human version that the toy is based off of, so it makes sense to have a little bit of overlap, luckily for me. What Tim Allen did is pretty untouchable.”
Controversy surrounding the film began months ago when a same-sex kiss was reportedly removed from the movie and then added back in again following backlash from Disney’s lack of response over Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
The bill (titled “Parental Rights in Education” or Florida House Bill 1557) bars instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity for children in kindergarten through third grade.
The on-screen kiss takes place between Hawthorne, a female lead voiced by Uzo Aduba, and another female character.
Evans responded to critics who say the film’s kissing scene between two female characters pushes a pro-gay agenda.
“The real truth is those people are idiots,” Evans said during an interview with Reuters Television. “There’s always going to be people who are afraid and unaware and trying to hold on to what was before. But those people die off like dinosaurs. I think the goal is to pay them no mind, march forward and embrace the growth that makes us man.”
“Every time there’s been social advancement as we wake up, the American story, the human story is one of constant social awakening and growth, and that’s what makes us good,” Evans added.
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