A couple of weeks ago, I had the once-in-a-lifetime experience of getting to attend the interviews with the cast and creators of Disney and Pixar’s Coco. During the fantastic presentation, they discussed not only the process of making the film, but also their excitement on becoming a part of the Pixar family and making the movie a beautiful tribute to the Latin American community. The press conference started off with a wonderful and stunning dance performance accompanied by Mariachi Divas!
After such an amazing treat, the talent from the film came out. In attendance were:
- Benjamin Bratt (voice of “Ernesto de la Cruz”)
- Gael Garcia Bernal (voice of “Hector”)
- Anthony Gonzalez (voice of “Miguel”)
- Edward James Olmos (voice of “Chicharron”)
- Alanna Ubach (voice of “Mama Imelda”)
- Director Lee Unkrich
- Co-Director Adrian Molina
- Producer Darla K. Anderson
The Origin of Coco
Director Lee Unkrich explained that the idea of Coco came shortly after he finished working on Toy Story 3 with Darla K. Anderson and Adrian Molina. he knew that he wanted to make a story centered around Dia de los Muertos, as the holiday always intrigued him, particularly how it revolves so closely around family, both current and past.
“And I just really started to see the potential to tell a unique story, to tell a story that could only be told in animation, that could be visually dazzling, but also had the potential to have a real emotional core to it. And that was really kind of the beginning of this journey. ” –Lee Unkrich
The Making of Coco, Bringing Dia de los Muertos into Pixar’s Storytelling
Co-director Adrian Molina, having a Mexican background, expressed a lot of pride in this movie, even saying it is the highlight of his career up until this point.
“…The way we work at Pixar, it’s such a collaborative effort, and to be able to work with all of these actors, all of these musicians, and to really bring to life this culture on screen was something that I was thrilled by.” –Adrian Molina
I was surprised to find out that this was Anthony Gonzalez’s (voice of Miguel) first film and first audition at just 10 years old! Gonzalez said that the whole process felt easy since it was not only fun, but had the incredible guidance of Anderson, Molina, and Unkrich.
Gael Barcia Bernal (voice of Hector) discusses his first meeting with the creators of Coco, and how after just one discussion of the movie he felt convinced he wanted to be a part of it.
“After the meeting, I was just amazed by the amount of research; also the holistic kind of approach that they were trying to do to the Day of the Dead celebration, that they were also putting forth a very personal point of view, as well.” – Gael Barcia Bernal
Oscar-winner Edward James Olmos said although his role is small, he felt privileged to be a part of this project. He explained that he strongly feels Coco is going to encourage people to think about their loved ones who we maybe haven’t thought of for a long while, and be inspired by the tradition of Dia de los Muertos:
“People are gonna say thank you to the Mexican culture for introducing them to a value that they did not know anything about. (Cont’d.) Day of the Dead really represents for many of us, which is a time to celebrate in the memory of, and pass the stories on, and celebrate life at its fullest. So I am, as Chicharron, doing that one scene, it’s one of my proudest moments in the art form.”
Clearly getting to work on a Pixar film incorporating the beloved tradition of Dia de los Muertos was unforgettable for the actors who voiced the characters. The film’s producer Darla K. Anderson hopes that Coco will inspire children to think about their ancestors, and ask questions about where they come from. Adrian Molina hopes it the movie will also get kids excited about trying to play an instrument (After seeing the film, I think it will definitely inspire both those things!).
Disney and Pixar’s Coco comes to theatres November 22nd, tickets are on sale here.