This experience was hosted by Disney & Pixar. However, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own!
Exclusive Interview With the Filmmakers of COCO
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to take a sneak peek behind the making of the upcoming Disney-Pixar film COCO. One of the highlights of the trip was sitting down for a roundtable interview with the filmmakers. During the roundtable we discovered what led Director Lee Unkrich, Writer and Co-Director Adrian Molina, and Producer Darla K. Anderson from the concept of COCO to the finalized film (which arrives in theaters everywhere November 22nd.)
I was surprised to find out that Lee Unkrich pitched the initial idea back in September 2011 to John Lassiter, Chief Creative Officer of Pixar Animation. This was not the only idea that Unkrich pitched to Lassiter but was 1 of 3 ideas. This is the process that Lassiter likes so that people are exploring diferent ideas and not being fixated on one idea. , Lassiter was drawn to the idea of Unkrich’s idea for a story based around Dia De Los Muertos . Within weeks of the idea being pitched they were headed down to Mexico for their first research trip because Dia De Los Muertos is celebrated on November 1st and they didn’t want to have to wait till the following year.
Over the course of the past six years the story has shifted from Unkrich’s original storyline to the story that we will be treated to on November 22nd. During this time they have made numerous trips to Mexico for research because they wanted to make sure that they presented the story with authenticity and respect to the culture of Dia De Los Muertos and the people who celebrate the occasion. Adrian Molina, spoke of their love of Mexico and how the movie was like writing a love letter to Mexico and sharing that love with everyone who watches it.
Not knowing much about Dia De Los Muertos, I found their research very interesting and was surprised to learn that it is celebrated differently in different parts of Mexico. You will also find different traditions from town to town in the same region. These traditions are deeply rooted in the heritage and they have done everything possible to insure that no group feels left out. They celebrate many different aspects of the holiday and made sure to not represent anything incorrectly in the film.
Not only is the accuracy of the traditions a major factor in the film but it is always evolving until they have the final film. Adrian Molina, compared it to working a Rubic’s cube. When one piece falls into place and you think you have the perfect fit, you have to incorporate something else. The process involves an endless cycle of creations and revisions to get the perfect result. At times that means letting things go that you may love but sometimes they are treated with a surprise when they can reincorporate that idea in another place.
COCO’s main theme is family but it is also steeped in tradition, friendship and the desire to follow your dreams. These themes are universal to everyone regardless of their culture and heritage. Darla K. Anderson talked about how the film is similar to all Disney-Pixar films, a story to entertain audiences and immerse them in another world while taking them on a grand adventure.
I can attest that they have taken this task to heart and created a story that will draw you in and take you on an adventure. We were treated the night before the roundtable to the first 25 minutes of COCO and I have been waiting patiently (or impatiently) to see the remainder on November 22nd. Not only did the movie draw me in but learning about the research they did to create the film has led my family to start doing research of our own. I believe that you are never too old to learn and although we can’t take a trip to Mexico anytime soon we have discovered a wealth of information online to help us expand our knowledge of Dia De Los Muertos. I will be sharing some of this with you as we explore more of the film making process over the next few months so make sure you are following along.
I was taken back by the artwork from the film and since the movie is about family, I want to share both sides of Miguel’s family. We have his family he meets in the Land of the Dead and the family he leaves behind in the Land of the Living when he embarks on his mission.
If you are anything like me, you are wondering why the movie is called COCO if the main character is Miguel. While the filmmakers wouldn’t reveal any deep secrets they did assure us that all will be revealed during the film. COCO is the name of Miguel’s great grandmother who is the oldest living family member. She is the keeper of the family’s stories and memories and is a strong symbol of the movie’s theme. They purposely wanted their to be some mystery around the title but did say that she deserves to have the movie name after her. This made me even more excited to see the finished film because I love when that “Aha-Ha” moment clicks and you see things for what they truly are.
Make sure to make plans to see this wonderful heartfelt film in theaters with your family on November 22, 2017.
About the Film
Despite his family’s baffling generations-old ban on music, Miguel dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz. Desperate to prove his talent, Miguel finds himself magically transported to the stunning and colorful Land of the Dead following a mysterious chain of events. Along the way, he meets charming trickster Hector, and together, they set off on an extraordinary journey to unlock the real story behind Miguel’s family history.
Keep up with the latest information by following along online.
COCO is in theaters everywhere on November 22, 2017!