Pixar’s ‘Coco’ Press Junket Puts a Spotlight on Mexico’s Family Traditions
This past week I had the privilege of participating in Disney’s latest press junket for the Pixar ‘s Coco events. Usually, with press junkets, they span over two days. The 1st day we were invited to a special screening at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank.
The following day we were invited to a Q&A panel with the creators and stars of the movie at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills, California. It was extremely nice.
When I arrived at the Press Junket I was greeted to a nice buffet that had different types of Mexican food. It was amazing. Shoutout to the team who prepared it.
Ancestry.com was at the press junket to give attendees free memberships so we could trace our heritage like Miguel does in the movie. I haven’t shipped mine out yet, but I’m excited to see if there will be any surprises with the results.
Of course, I had to hit up the photo op. My first name is Michael. The main characters name is Miguel. It was meant to be.
The Press Junket started with a festive mariachi band performance that was followed by the Q&A panel with the cast and crew. The Co-Directors Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina, as well as the producer Darla K Anderson, were there! The actors from the movie included Alanna Ubach (Mama Imelda), Benjamin Pratt (De la Cruz), Gael Garcia Bernal (Hector), Anthony Gonzales (Miguel) and Edward James Olmos (Chicharron.)
Co-Director Adrian Molina talked about the opportunity to work with the actors and musicians to bring their Mexican culture to life.
“It has been a pleasure. It has been, you know, the highlight of my career up to this point. I started on the film about a year and a half to two years into the production. I had finished the storyboarding on Monsters University, and it just one of those ideas that ticked off so many things, or checked off the boxes of so many things that I’ve always wanted to see in a film – that it deals so strongly with this idea of family, Miguel and his musical passion, and especially the expression of these Mexican traditions. You know, it’s one of those things that I felt like I had a lot of experience to bring to it, and also just the – 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.“
Benjamin Pratt’s character was inspired by his dad! Pratt said:
“My own father, who’s now deceased, and who I lost touch with many years before he passed on – I lived with him in some very formative years, from 12 to about 17. And although he was quite a bit different than who Ernesto de la Cruz is, he was larger than life – 6’3”, massive frame, broad shoulders, and a booming voice, and the kind of person that no matter which room he walked into, he commanded attention – and sometimes by saying the wrong things, well, I’ll say that much. But nonetheless, it was the kind of thing that I could draw on because it was familiar to me. So in that way, that was kind of like the lynchpin for me, with all this other stuff to create someone that enjoyed that adulation – not only enjoyed it, but they actually used it as his life’s blood.”
Edwards James Olmos spoke about watching the movie for the first time and how he saw himself in all the characters.
“Then the movie started. And amazing feeling came across immediately – the quality was superb; the feeling, the music, the sound – everything. Performances were extraordinary. And as it went along, and I – then my part came in, and I said, “Oh, my God,” all emotionally – I felt emotional for this guy. And Chicharron became, within a matter of a minute and a half to two minutes, became someone that I could identify with, you know – a relative, a friend, a person.”
Olmos also added:
“I am Mexican, full blooded on everybody’s side; not only am I a person who has been inside of this industry for over 50 years; not only have I really tried to understand myself inside of this art form – but this really became something really profound. And so what ended up happening is that I looked around immediately, because I was in the last chair, in the back. And I looked around, and you know, these people were all crying – everybody. Everybody was like so intensely, just trying to hold onto it, and wiping their faces, and holding on, and watching the movie. I said, “Hell, this thing just hit everybody like a ton of bricks.”
I really loved the movie. I cried 3-4 both times I saw it. I believe Pixar created something really really special. All their movies have amazing messages, but Coco hit me in the feels more than any other Pixar movie.
I also got to meet Benjamin Pratt. It’s Lit
COCO makes its way into theaters everywhere on November 22nd! Make sure to check out our spoiler-free review!
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Visit the official COCO website here: http://movies.disney.com/coco