I have the inside first-hand scoop of 5 exciting things to know about Disney Pixar’s Coco! I was one of 26 bloggers selected to visit Pixar headquarters in Emeryville, CA to interview the team behind this highly-anticipated animated film. From the music makers to the storytellers and everyone in between, we all sat there, goosebumps on our arms as we learned the ins and out of what it took to bring this film to life.
Coco debuts nationwide in theaters on November 22, 2017.
So. Much. Detail.
Be ready to be blown away. And we only watched the first 35 minutes.
If you’ve followed my site and anything Crafty Chica you know that Dia de Los Muertos is very special to me. Not only the celebration aspect but also the education and history. The first question I ask myself when I see sugar skulls in the general audience marketplace is: Does this have any authenticity to it? In other words, was it made or designed by someone from Mexican culture, if not, does it share any element of the history or tradition?
That was the first thing I worried about when I heard about the Coco movie, and I know many of you reached out to me to ask on this very topic. So it was really an honor to have been chosen to go on this behind-the-scenes look at the film. I can assure you, I learned how much this film was created with love and respect.
There are SO MANY memories and facts I want to share, but today I’m picking out five. And I’ll have more stories coming up. Trust me, it’s all fascinating.
When the idea came about for a Pixar movie about Dia de Los Muertos, COCO director Lee Unkrich, writer & co-director Adrian Molina, & producer Darla K. Anderson immediately headed to Mexico for research.
They started with a concept, but after working on the film they felt like something was missing. They knew they had to be on point with every angle of the story and for that reason, they scrapped all their hard work and started all over with a new story. One factor that really stood out is how they put authenticity as the gold standard of the project. From Mexican street musicians to graphic designers, the culture is woven into everywhere.
“I thought I had an understanding of what Dia De Los Muertos is all about and once we started traveling down there and meeting with all of the experts that we worked with I was surprised to how differently it’s celebrated in all different parts of Mexico,” says director Unkrich. “Not even different parts of Mexico but within small regions from town to town you’ll find very different traditions and that was a big surprise to me. There was also just a depth and a richness of the traditions that I hadn’t been educated about prior to making the film.”
The producers call this movie Disney Pixar’s love letter to Mexico.
It’s one thing to say it, but another to show it. As we entered Pixar headquarters, we were met with giant papel picado banners from the Coco movie. In addition, every meeting room, hallway, and even large walls are graced with original art or murals from the film. and on the second floor, there is a gallery with posters from around the world, memorabilia, inspiration pieces and more. We weren’t allowed to take photos in that area, which made it even more appealing because of the exclusivity! It was easy to see each and every employee felt passionate about the movie, which made me feel happy knowing our beloved dia de Los Muertos was in good hands!
Know that the creators of the film 100% immersed themselves in the proejct.
There is a bit of mystery as to why the film is titled, Coco.
The story centers around Miguel, who dreams of becoming a musician like the famous Ernesto de la Cruz, but yet the film is named after Miguel’s great grandma, Coco. Why? Well, we were told we have to wait and see, and I already feel like I need a box of tissues!
“She’s the oldest person in this family and as such kind of the keeper of those stories and the keeper of the memories and we thought she kind of really symbolized the spirit of a lot of the themes of our film,” saysDirector Lee Unkrich.
We all blinked, hoping for more info on that…then Writer and Co-Director Adrian Molina chimed in.
“And we also knew that people would be wondering why they named this movie after Miguel’s great grandmother because she seems to play a minor role in the story but you haven’t all seen the whole movie yet so all I’ll say is I think Coco earns and deserves having the movie named after her.”
I rose my hand and asked about potential sequels! (The movie isn’t even out and I’m already wanting more).
“Well I’ll say as filmmakers we’re of the type that are all in and super focused, just the three of us personality wise,” says producer Darla K. Anderson. “We are just getting everything we can up on this screen and cracking this film and finishing it as beautifully as we can and we don’t, you know, we don’t really think about the sequels while we’re finishing our movie.”
Sooo, I guess that means not as of yet. But Adrian Molina gave us a sense of hope!
“A lot of it depends on how the movie does and if people really like the characters a lot,” he says. “I mean that’s what sometimes leads to us making sequels that we people just continue to clamor for another story because they don’t wanna leave that world and it makes us feel great that we’ve done a good job in creating a world and characters really connect and want more of but at the end of the day yeah it just comes down to story. If we feel that there’s another story to be told, you know, maybe we’ll tell another story.”
First and foremost, Coco is about celebrating family history.
One of the things that really impressed me was that the producers centered the story and plot around family first, not sugar skulls and Day of the Dead. It’s a story about a boy to yearns to reconnect with his ancestors He’s just a kid, yet he feels a strong burning passion to play music, and he has the skills. He has a comical and loving extended family here on Earth, but also one he didn’t even know about in the afterlife! Dia de Los Muertos is about celebrating the cycle of life and honoring our loved ones who have passed away. I’m delighted Coco set out to tell the story from that angle. Dia de Los Muertos is about eternal LOVE and remembrance!
BONUS (Because I know you want to know!): Coco is not at all like The Book of Life! They are two awesome stand alone films that should be enjoyed by all.
The team explained they watched a lot of dramas where a family isn’t 100% supportive of the main character’s dreams. They mentioned favorites such as such as Billy Elliot, Under the Same Moon, Whale Rider, and others.
“In terms of Book of Life we were already way under way with this film before we were even aware that,” says Unkrich. “I was happy that it came out a few years before us and that we had the opportunity to see it and make sure that we were telling a story that was unique and different.”
He went on to explain that he has become great friends of BoL director, Jorge Gutierrez, and he is very supportive of Coco, and vice versa. They both like that there are multiple stories set in the same culture.
Thank you for reading about Disney Pixar Coco movie! I hope you are as excited for Coco as I am! And thank you to Disney Pixar for inviting me on this amazing experience! Follow #PixarCocoEvent to see other bloggers stories!