Keke Palmer on Black and LGBT+ Representation

Watch: Keke Palmer discusses representation in Light-year

Keke Palmer Said It Was Important For Pixar’s New Animation Light-year – in IMAX and UK theaters from June 17 – to deliver the message that people of color and the LGBT+ community have “always been a part of history”.

In the new swashbuckler space framed as Andy de Toys StoryChris Evans’ favorite movie, the star plays Izzy Hawthorne – a close ally of Chris Evans on Buzz.

Palmer told Yahoo that the film’s depiction was very meaningful to her, especially as the “film within the Toys Story movies” would have been made in the 1990s.

See More information: Why is Tim Allen not in Light-year?

She said, “I love it. It also leads to the reality that these kind of people have always been a part of history. A lot of times, it hasn’t been shown in movies and television and things like that.

Buzz Lightyear teams up with Izzy Hawthorne to fight a robot invasion of Lightyear.  (Disney/Pixar)

Buzz Lightyear teams up with Izzy Hawthorne to fight a robot invasion of Lightyear. (Disney/Pixar)

“The fact that this is the movie Andy watched just goes to show that these people have always been a part of history and so let’s make sure we show that. It’s easy and it just is. It’s not something you have to explain.”

Palmer’s character is the granddaughter of Alisha Hawthorne (Uzo Aduba) – Buzz’s commander on a mission that leaves them stranded on a hostile alien planet.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 13: Keke Palmer attends Disney Pixars' UK Premiere

Keke Palmer attends the UK premiere of Disney Pixar’s Light-year. (Getty Images for Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures UK)

In his attempts to find a way back to Earth, Buzz experiences time dilation and returns to the planet years later, aging only moments as Alisha and her colleagues experience the passage of time normally.

See More information: An inside look at the making of Light-year

Through the brief stretches of time he spends on the planet between missions, Buzz sees Alisha marry his partner and have children and grandchildren.

A kiss between Alisha and her partner led to Light-year being banned in more than a dozen countries, including Saudi Arabia, with a release in China also unlikely.

Keke Palmer voices Izzy Hawthorne in Lightyear.  (Disney/Pixar)

Keke Palmer voices Izzy Hawthorne in Light-year. (Disney/Pixar)

Director Angus MacLane added, “I think we’re very proud of the character being LGBTQIA+, but we wanted to make sure it was something substantial and not a facade aspect of the character.

“Narratively, it was important to us because we wanted to show that Buzz wasn’t interested in pursuing a relationship with [Alisha] apart from the platonic relationship they have, so when we meet Izzy it’s not a second chance at a relationship he never had.

See More information: On introduces Pixar’s first LGBT+ character

“There’s one thing that’s very clear when he’s talking in the hallway with them, you don’t feel any tension that he’s interested in Alisha.

“It was one thing that helped us narratively and it was also a great representation that felt substantial. Those things were important to us.”

Orange is the New Black Actor Uzo Aduba voices Buzz commander Alisha Hawthorne in Lightyear.  (Disney/Pixar)

Orange is the new black actor Uzo Aduba voices Buzz commander Alisha Hawthorne in Light-year. (Disney/Pixar)

For Palmer, it was huge to take on a role in Toys Story universe, having a relationship with the movies since childhood.

“When you have a beloved, nostalgic character like Buzz, you want to make sure that if you’re going to reinvent the IP, you want to be a part of it in the right way,” she said.

See More information: Mind-blowing Disney and Pixar Jokes

Palmer added: “Obviously with Disney and Pixar, I think they always get it right. There’s still an element, keeping that nostalgia, of something new and fresh.

“Especially with me playing a completely new character like Izzy and this being the movie Andy watched that made him love the Buzz Lightyear character. It’s like we can go back in time.”

Lightyear is described as the film that turned Toy Story's Andy into a space obsessive.  (Disney/Pixar)

Light-year is described as being the film that Toys Story‘s Andy in an obsessive space. (Disney/Pixar)

Light-year has a brilliant cast of famous faces on its voice roster, with Evans and Palmer joined by Taika Waititi, Bill Hader, Peter Sohn, James Brolin and Isiah Whitlock Jr.

There is also an appearance for real-life British astronaut Tim Peake as the voice of “Mission Control Tim”.

See More information: Billy Crystal admits to turning it down Toys Story it’s career regret

Critical reviews for the film were strong, with aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes currently showing an approval rating of 81% and the critical consensus reading that the film is a “wonderfully animated adventure”.

Light-year is released in IMAX and UK theaters from June 17th.

Watch: Trailer for Light-year

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