I Just Realised Who Was Meant To Play Buzz Lightyear, And It Changes Everything

<span class="copyright">Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures</span>
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Buzz Lightyear, the iconic hero of the Toy Story franchise, was voiced brilliantly by Tim Allen.

The actor lent his vocals to the iconic line “To infinity and beyond” ― but it turns out the line could have been delivered by a completely different Hollywood icon.

Billy Crystal, who starred as Harry in When Harry Met Sally and made frequent appearances on SNL, also voiced Mike Wazowski in the Monsters Inc. franchise.

But this only came after John Lasseter, Toy Story’s director, fruitlessly asked him to play Buzz Lightyear. 

Why did Billy turn the role down?

“At the time, it wasn’t because of any work — it was something else,” Billy Crystal explained in an interview with Yahoo! Entertainment.

“I didn’t think I was the right voice for that [character]. And Tim Allen is great. He has this resonant, big voice of this character who’s full of himself.“

Director John Lasseter even went so far as to film a “screen test” with Billy Crystal, getting his team to animate Buzz Lightyear along to a When Harry Met Sally monologue from the actor.

Billy would only see the clip years after rejecting the role.

“So it’s Buzz Lightyear doing those lines, and then at the ‘stupid wagon-wheel coffee table’ it cut wide and little Buzz is standing under a big stupid wagon wheel coffee table.”

“And then when he goes, ‘I was being nice,’ the visor from his helmet closed,” Billy shared.

Billy regretted missing out on the part 

“I went, ‘You know what? I was wrong [to reject the role of Buzz Lightyear],’” Billy said of watching himself in Lasseter’s screen test.

And when asked what his biggest career mistake was, he told Yahoo! “I’m the schmuck who turned down Toy Story.

Six years later, when Toy Story’s director offered Billy the role of Mike Wazowski in Monsters Inc., he hurried to accept it.

“I’m in my office... and John Lasseter’s on the phone,” Billy recounted. “I said, ‘All right listen: Whatever it is, yes!’“

Very When Harry Met Sally of Billy to only realise how much he wanted the Pixar match years after it was first offered to him...