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"I feel like I had only reservations," the actor explains in an interview with EW about stepping into the Lightyear shoes after Tim Allen voiced Buzz in the Toy Story films. "Obviously I was thrilled to be working for Pixar. I've been a die-hard Pixar fan forever. But, yeah, obviously it was intimidating and daunting."
Evans considers himself a fan first when it comes to Pixar. "I love what Tim Allen did, and I love what Toy Story meant to me," he says. "You have to understand there will be a lot of people who have an idea in their heads, but this is like when I signed on to Captain America. You know there is a baked-in-the-cake fanbase, but that fanbase is there because they have an understanding in their mind of what the character already is. So you have to honor that when you're making your choices."
Disney/Pixar; Zade Rosenthal/Marvel Studios Chris Evans says he had a similar experience taking on his Buzz Lightyear and Captain America roles.
Lightyear is the upcoming sci-fi movie upon which Allen's Buzz Lightyear action figure in Toy Story is based. The plot follows the famous Space Ranger as he and his crew are marooned on a hostile planet 4.2 million light years away from Earth. Buzz takes it upon himself to help everyone get back home in one piece, a mission that will take him through space and time.
Everybody Loves Raymond actress Patricia Heaton, who seemingly hasn't seen Lightyear but simply watched the trailer, called it "a HUGE mistake" to cast Evans instead of Allen as Buzz. She made her statement after EW's interview with Evans was completed, but the actor says he wanted to honor Allen's performance.
"You have to use what Tim Allen did. It's not like playing Batman [where] even though someone else has done it, you're gonna make your own fresh tracks in the snow," Evans says. "This movie is supposed to be what the toy is based off of, so you have to find that connective tissue and use what he did as a blueprint and just kind of move upstream."
Lightyear opens in theaters Friday. Watch EW's interview with Evans and his costar Taika Waititi in the video above.
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