Disney•Pixar Embracing Mexican Culture With Their Film ‘Coco’
By: Dorian Parks
Pixar’s next original film, Coco, is a about 12-year-old boy who’s breaking all the rules — or at least his family’s.
Miguel, the main character is voiced by newcomer Anthony Gonzalez. Miguel is a member of the shoemaking Riveras, a Mexican family that’s completely banned music for generations.
Ever since his great-great-grandmother Imelda was left alone by her husband (who abandoned his family to pursue a life hitting high notes), there’s been a strict no-music ban in the Rivera household, upheld primarily by Miguel’s Abuela (Renee Victor).
Director Lee Unkrich (Toy Story 3) shared his thoughts about the music with EW:
the film isn’t “a break-out-into-song musical,” but rather, one “set against the backdrop of musical performance.”
Moreover, it’s not even Unkrich’s first time choreographing a musical number:
“At the end of Toy Story 3, we had this moment where Jessie turns on the boom-box and the Gipsy Kings do a Spanish language version of ‘You’ve Got a Friend in Me.’ Which, it turned out, ended up being a real precursor to this movie.”
In telling a story about such a rich tradition as Dia de Muertos, Unkrich knew that Coco didn’t just rest on one family’s history, but on an entire culture’s.
“The day John Lasseter gave the thumbs up for this movie, I immediately felt this huge weight drop onto my shoulders because I knew that we were doing something different than we had ever made at the studio and that for the first time, we were going to have this enormous responsibility to do right by this culture and not lapse into stereotype or cliché,”
Unkrich has recruited an all-Latino voice cast (including Gael Garcia Bernal as a skeleton named Hector who helps Miguel on his journey in the Land of the Dead) and sought authenticity via numerous story consultants, key crew members and filmmakers, like co-director Adrian Molina, and musical talent culled from artists down in Mexico. Unkrich, Molina, and producer Darla K. Anderson made frequent trips south of the border and even sent his story artists, production designers, and even sound crew down to take the aesthetic pulse of villages.
Coco arrives in theaters November 22, 2017.
Source: Entertainment Weekly