Thank you to Disney and Pixar Studios for hosting me during the #PixarCocoEvent.
I feel like I should go ahead and get this out of the way: I haven’t seen Coco. I have seen the first 35 minutes of the film and I’m dying to see the rest. I wanted to clear that up, because I’ve been asked so many questions about the film that I can’t yet answer. The filmmakers were very good about not spoiling things beyond that first 35 minutes when I attended the Long Lead Press Day. Disappointingly good. I wanted spoilers…
If there’s a universal theme to all Pixar films, it’s their ability to make me cry like a baby. Director Lee Unkrich can claim a significant portion of those tears as the director of Toy Story 3. During the reception that followed the screening of the footage from Coco, Unkrich mentioned that Pixar had a reputation for making emotional films. I replied that every single Pixar film made me cry. He responded that they “were crying at the storyboards” when planning Coco. So even though I’ve only seen those first 35 minutes, I feel like the advice to bring tissues to the theater this November is pretty solid.
Unkrich first pitched the idea for what would become Coco back in September of 2011. John Lasseter asks directors to pitch three different ideas when they’re thinking about their next project so they’re not fixated on one idea. A story set against Dia De Los Muertos was one of Unkrich’s three pitches. “John sparked to the Dia De Los Muertos idea… This first story that we developed was completely different than what we ended up doing with Coco, but John just was really excited about the notion of setting a story in this world. It felt unique to him.”
With Dia De Los Muertos right around the corner, filmmakers were on a plane to Mexico within weeks for their first of many research trips.
It was important to the filmmakers that the storytelling told an authentic story of family that also showcased the culture of Mexico. “In its very origination, [this film] came from a love of Mexico and a real kind of affinity for the people and the culture,” says Writer and Co-Director Adrian Molina. “Wanting to create this love letter to Mexico-that was really important to us.”
“This film, like all of our films, we want to just so entertain and bring audiences-immerse them in this other world and immerse them in a grand adventure and I think that’s very universal,” says Producer Darla K. Anderson. “Go into a film and escape into a whole new world and go along this journey with our protagonist and his companion.”
I have tons more to share over the coming weeks about the making of Coco. Make sure you follow along with all of the #PixarCocoEvent coverage!
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. Directed by Lee Unkrich (“Toy Story 3”), co-directed by Adrian Molina (story artist “Monsters University”) and produced by Darla K. Anderson (“Toy Story 3”), Disney•Pixar’s “Coco” opens in U.S. theaters on Nov. 22, 2017.