Taika Waititi has opened up on the importance of Lightyear’s LGBT love story after the film was banned in the United Arab Emirates.
The Thor: Ragnarok director lends his voice to the new Toy Story spin-off film, focused on Chris Evans’ Buzz Lightyear.
The movie features a sweet romance between Uzo Aduba’s Alisha Hawthorne and another character in a series of scenes that has led to Lightyear becoming the latest movie to be banned in the UAE.
Speaking to Metro.co.uk at the Lightyear red carpet, Taika said of the same-sex love story: ‘I think it’s so awesome.
‘It would be wonderful to one day get to a place where it doesn’t have to be a talking point. The idea that, to go and watch a movie and that’s your big problem? That’s crazy!
‘You never hear people going, “Oh, did you see that movie where that man and that woman kissed?!” If we can just let that go, love is love, if we can normalise it, then we’re moving towards a good space.
‘And when studios make these tiny little steps towards that, just like having a same-sex relationship, it’s just steps towards normalising it and I think you can’t ask for more than that.’
While the UAE’s Media Regulatory Office did not give a specific reason for its decision, it stated vaguely on Monday that the Disney and Pixar film was banned for its ‘violation of the country’s media content standards’.
The country criminalises consensual same-sex sexual activity between adults.
Taking to Twitter, the UAE’s Media Regulatory Office posted an image of Buzz Lightyear in the new film, crossed out with a red line.
This action was taken despite the country declaring it would stop censoring cinematic releases and would introduce a 21-plus age rating for films it classifies for older audiences just six months ago.
The same-sex scene was reportedly originally cut from the film by Disney.
It was reinstated following the uproar surrounding a statement from Pixar employees claiming that Disney had been censoring ‘overtly gay affection’ and the company’s CEO Bob Chapek’s handling of Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill.
Last year, Pixar’s Onward, a 2020 American computer-animated urban fantasy adventure film, was also reportedly banned by several Middle Eastern countries because of a reference to lesbian parents.
Lightyear follows Buzz on his adventures as a marooned Space Ranger, in the movie a young Andy could have watched before the events of the Toy Story films.
Lightyear is released in the UK on June 17.