By Siobhán Rich for Mr. Will Wong
On November 22nd, audiences will be introduced to Miguel, Hector, Danté, and all their friends when Coco opens in theatres across the country. Last week we were fortunate enough to hear Co-Director Adrian Molina and Producer Darla K. Anderson discuss and share some behind the scenes secrets of Disney-Pixar’s latest original Movie.
When Miguel’s great-great-grandmother was abandoned by her musician husband, she responded by starting a successful business and banning all music from her life – an edict which continues to this day. This rule is tough on 12-year-old Miguel who worships the famous musician Ernesto de la Cruz and has even taught himself how to play guitar by watching old de la Cruz movies in secret. When Miguel tries to borrow his hero’s guitar on Día de los Muertos, he ends up in the Land of the Dead and learns he has only 24 hours to get back to the land of the living or risk becoming a skeleton himself. Joining him on his adventure are his Sholo dog Danté and Hector, a skeleton he meets in the Land of the Dead.
Coco takes place on Día de los Muertos, the Mexican Day of the Dead and explores the universal ideas of “what it means to be part of a family” and “remembering where you come from.” The Pixar team describe on Día de los Muertos as a “celebration of joy and remembrance” and sought to imbue the Film with sense of positivity that children and adults can all connect with.
From local folk art to the beautiful alebrije animals which populate the Land of the Dead, audiences will see evidence of the team’s multiple trips to Mexico and their Pixar believe that “research is incredibly important.” From the varying types of traditional Mexican music heard throughout the movie to the accuracy of the characters’ guitar fingering and playing no detail was too small.
The voice cast, led by newcomer Anthony Gonzalez, is nothing short of stellar. When not searching for traditional Pixar Easter eggs, audiences should keep an ear out for Renee Victor, Gael García Bernal and even a singing Benjamin Bratt.
Molina and Anderson referred to animation as a “collaborative sport” and this extended from the lighting palate to storyboards. During the four-plus years it took for Co-Director Lee Unkrich’s idea of honouring Día de los Muertos to turn into the completed “love letter to Mexico,” an army of people will have contributed to creation of Coco. Based solely on the brief clips Molina and Anderson shared with us, you have the Mr. Will Wong Guarantee™ that you will NOT be disappointed by Pixar’s beautiful new Movie, Coco.
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Canada release COCO Wednesday, November 22, 2017.