Actor Chris Evans has criticised people who react negatively to films reflecting traditionally under-represented groups, calling them “idiots” who will “die off like dinosaurs”.
The Hollywood star voices the young Buzz Lightyear in the animated Toy Story spin-off Lightyear, which has been banned in the United Arab Emirates because it depicts a kiss between two female characters.
Speaking about those who are against the move to reflect different groups on screen, Evans told Reuters TV: “The real truth is those people are idiots.”
“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.
Lightyear, the character’s origin story, is due to be released in cinemas on Thursday.
As well as being banned in the UAE, which includes Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Disney has also been unable to secure permission to show the Pixar film in 13 other Middle Eastern and Asian countries, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia and Lebanon.
The UAE’s Ministry of Youth and Culture’s Media Regulatory Office has said the film is “not licenced for public screening” due to its “violation of the country’s media content standards”.
Buzz’s close friend in the film is a female space ranger who marries another woman and a scene showing pivotal moments throughout the couple’s relationship includes a brief kiss.
“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,” Evans said. “I think the goal is to pay them no mind, march forward and embrace the growth that makes us human.”
Producer Galyn Susman questioned why viewers “don’t get more upset showing failed relationships”.
She said Lightyear shows a relationship that “lasts an entire lifetime” and is “loving” and “supportive” – showing Buzz “exactly what he doesn’t have and that’s the whole point”.
“We should all be so lucky to have that kind of relationship in our life.”
On Monday, Evans surprised young patients at a pre-release screening for the film, greeting families at London’s Chelsea and Westminster Hospital at the hospital’s CW+ MediCinema – one of six in-hospital cinemas the charity runs in the UK.
The Captain America star spent time chatting to patients and signing posters before attending the London premiere later in the evening.