Recently I have been sharing some amazing interviews with the cast of Disney Pixar’s Coco. I am excited to share our exclusive interview with the masterminds of this beautiful film. During my #PixarCocoEvent trip in Los Angles, I was given the opportunity to interview the Director Lee Unkrich, Writer & Co-Director Adrian Molina, and Producer Darla K. Anderson of Disney Pixar’s Coco. Make sure you check out my Full Spoiler Free Disney Pixar’s Coco Movie Review. Find out about why everyone is going crazy about this beautifully crafted film.
Having the wonderful opportunity to interview the team behind movies is something I always look forward to. The actual creators of this movie who came up with those intensely emotional scenes that effects you forever in all possible good ways is an amazing thing. I loved being able to sit in a room with the people behind this new timeless film that will be forever in my home on DVD. I’m always shocked to find out how long it takes to make these beautiful films, but this one for sure caught me off guard.
Interview With Director Lee Unkrich, Writer & Co-Director Adrian Molina and Producer Darla K. Anderson
It took 6 Years To Create This FIlm
Lee Unkrich: It’s hard when we’re making the film over the course of six years, we had the idea for Miguel to sing to mama Coco and kind of bring her out of her dementia very early on. It was in our first screening I think, and we were all affected that first time that we put it together. It was then years afterward that we continued to refine the movie and change the story leading up to that point, and we had to just trust in that initial feeling that we had when we first put that scene up. And try to hold on to that and make sure that many years later when he was actually animating the scene that it hopefully would still have the effect on other people that it had on us initially.
Cameos In The Movie
Adrian Molina: There are only two cameos of actual living people in the film. One is Michael Giacchino, and the other is our music consultant, Camilo Lara, who plays the Dj at the party.
Fun Fact: Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina both have a line in the movie. Lee Unkrich is the guy who says, what did I miss at the end of the movie. Adrian Molina is the guy who says “the guitar, it’s gone”.
Famous Mexican Celebrities Featured In The Film
Lee Unkrich: We tried to fill the film with as many kind of famous Mexican celebrities as we could. Some of which we knew would be recognizable for general audiences, but some we knew would only be people who grew up in Mexico would know. People like Pedro Infante and Jorge Negrete and Cantinflas, Maria Felix, El Santo of course, Esquivel. Juan Carlos Esquivel is the guy who’s playing the glass harmonica before the talent show. You know, he’s the glasses. He’s a quirky, kind of semi-well-known Mexican musician, of course, Diego Rivera and Frida Khalo.
Once In A Lifetime Opportunity
Adrian Molina: We’ve got this once in a lifetime opportunity to have characters literally go into history and Miguel is this kid who wants so much to use his music to connect, but he doesn’t have the role models to be able to help him on that path. So what a wonderful opportunity to lean on these Mexican icons who used their art to change the world and let them be the kind of characters that kind of inspire him and push him to use his art to do beautiful things. I’m so happy that this is the one film where you can do that in such an intuitive way.
Creating A TImeless Film
Lee Unkrich: We were always striving to make a film that felt kind of timeless. I’m hoping that it will always feel like it’s kinda set in the now and not matter when people see it. I remember when I was a kid after school watching Warner Brothers cartoons, like Bugs Bunny, and every once in a while one would pop up that would be full of people I didn’t recognize, they’d have like a scene in a bar and there’d be Edward G. Robinson and a lot of movie stars from that time that I didn’t know who they were, but I knew they were somebody famous at some time. It just felt that doing this in this film also felt like a little nod to kind of the history of animation in having kind of caricatured cameos of well-known people.
Adrian Molina: People see the film and they’ll see de la Cruz, and they’ll be like, he’s Infante/ Infante’s in the movie and we imagine he’s a contemporary, and Cantinflas is in the film, but you get a sense from Hector, he’s got that vest and the low-riding pants. We just wanted to have these characters exist in the film, I think it’s a compliment that people the characters of the film themselves, it feels like it harkens back to this age of Mexican cinema.
Lee Unkrich: We were so immersed in our research for so many years that it’s inevitable that things would infuse their way into the film that we weren’t consciously trying to put there. But that was the world we were living in and creating from.
An All Latino Cast
Lee Unkrich: It was non-negotiable, we knew we had to put John Ratzenberger in the movie. It was very important to us because it was the right thing to do. It would have been very strange to not. It didn’t make casting a challenge it definitely narrowed the options. I’ve worked with a lot of great actors in the past, and many of them have become my friends.
Reaction To Coco Premiering in Mexico
Adrian Molina: We try to talk as much as we can about how much research that we did on this film and part of the effect that, that research had on us wasn’t just on the story. It was the fact that we were meeting these families and we were making these friends, and we were collaborating with artists all over Mexico. The least we could do to pay homage to the beauty of the tradition and the place where they came from, we were just over the moon to have the opportunity to premiere in Mexico, especially in Mexico City at the Palace of Fine Arts.
It’s been, it’s been very overwhelming in the most beautiful way. All we could do to say thank you so much for opening your hearts, opening the doors, maybe a gesture on our part to say what a beautiful tradition, this is where it comes from everyone takes notice.
How They Would Like To Be Remembered
Adrian Molina: I would probably like to be remembered as someone who tried to use their art to make the world a better place.
Lee Unkrich: I will say that and I will add on to that the same thing I always tell my kids, the only thing I want for them is to be kind people. That’s always the most important thing to me, so I would like to be remembered as somebody who was kind and fair.
Darla K. Anderson: I will say that It’s like dominos. Somebody who, I think especially as a woman who had the courage to learn how to find my voice and to set an example for others, I’m always conscious of that in the world. If you’re in any kind of a public figure to set an example to find your voice and speak out loud about things that matter.
Biggest Challenge When Creating This Film
Adrian Molina: There’s a lot of pieces to this story, and I think when you’re watching it the first time through, a lot of them can be hidden, and that’s by design. But there’s a, there’s a very certain order to what the characters know about each other and what they say to each other, and who’s in the room. It just took a lot of iteration to figure out how to put these puzzle pieces together. On top of that, there’s the fact that this is a tradition that a certain portion of the audience is going to be very familiar with, and then another very large portion is going to have no idea.
It took a while to figure out, how do we invite people in, who aren’t familiar, without slowing down too much for the people who are. Or coming off like it’s a school lesson. Ultimately came down to the way this tradition is transmitted is through the family, so a lot of it felt Abuelita to Papa. To be the one who can convey this tradition to Miguel.
Adrian Molina’s Thought’s On Mama Imelda’s Blessing
Adrian Molina: It’s conditional at first and then it becomes unconditional, that transition I think says so much about family. Mama Imelda is completely motivated by protecting her family, but she needs to analyze what that actually means. Her action changes over the course of the film, and I think that’s so beautiful that it takes both sides coming together to really bring a family together.
Make sure you stay until the end of the credits where you will see a Digital Ofrenda of the many photos submitted by the company of loved ones they have lost. I hope you all enjoyed the interview as much as I did, I learned a lot about this amazing team behind one of my new beloved movies of all time. If you are ready to cry, laugh, and sing along to a beautiful movie then make sure you head to the theaters today and catch Disney Pixar’s Coco in theaters now.
About Disney Pixar’s COCO
Despite his family’s baffling generations-old ban on music, Miguel (voice of newcomer Anthony Gonzalez) dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz (voice of Benjamin Bratt). Desperate to prove his talent, Miguel finds himself in the stunning and colorful Land of the Dead following a mysterious chain of events. Along the way, he meets charming trickster Hector (voice of Gael García Bernal), and together, they set off on an extraordinary journey to unlock the real story behind Miguel’s family history.
Catch The Full Trailer Below!
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