Pixar’s ‘Coco’ Casts Gael Garcia Bernal and Benjamin Bratt, New Plot Details and Concept Art Revealed
The development and production process for most animated films is often long, leaving us waiting for years between the initial announcement and the finished product. Pixar’s next original film (and the only one on their schedule that isn’t a sequel) is no exception. We first learned about Coco back in 2012, and now, four years later, with a fall 2017 release on the horizon, Pixar’s new film is officially on a roll — Gael Garcia Bernal and Benjamin Bratt have joined the voice cast, and the studio has revealed some intriguing plot details, along with a new piece of concept art.
Entertainment Weekly has the scoop on all things Coco, including the casting of Bernal (whose role in Amazon’s acclaimed series Mozart in the Jungle helped him land the gig) and Bratt. They’re joined by newcomer Anthony Gonzalez, who lends his voice to lead character Miguel, a 12-year-old aspiring musician who defies his family’s longstanding grudge against music and takes a mystical journey in the land of the dead.
In addition to revealing a new piece of concept art (below) depicting Miguel and his grandmother, EW obtained some extensive plot details:
Coco follows the secret musical ambitions of Miguel, who resides in a lively, loud Mexican village but comes from a family of shoemakers that may be the town’s only music-hating household. For generations, the Riveras have banned music because they believe they’ve been cursed by it; as their family history goes, Miguel’s great-grandfather abandoned his wife decades earlier to follow his own dreams of performing, leaving Imelda (Miguel’s great-grandmother) to take control as the matriarch of the now-thriving Rivera line and declare music dead to the family forever.
But Miguel harbors a secret desire to seize his musical moment, inspired by his favorite singer of all time, the late Ernesto de la Cruz (Bratt). It’s only after Miguel discovers an amazing link between himself and De la Cruz that he takes action to emulate the famous singer and, in doing so, accidentally enters the Land of the Dead.
In the beautiful underworld, it’s not long until Miguel encounters the souls of his own family — generations’ worth of long-dead but no less vivacious Rivera ancestors, including great-grandmother Imelda. Still, given the opportunity to roam around the Land of the Dead, Miguel decides to track down De la Cruz himself. He teams up with another friendly (and skeletal) spirit — a trickster named Hector, voiced by Bernal — to find De la Cruz, earn his family’s blessing to perform, and return to the Land of the Living before time runs out.
After providing the temporary vocals for Miguel, Gonzalez — who also happens to be a very talented singer — was hired to be the official voice of Pixar’s newest protagonist. And while Coco is a music-centric film, it is not a full-fledged musical.
The film will be co-directed by Lee Unkrich (Toy Story 3) and screenwriter Adrian Molina, and takes its inspiration from traditional Mexican culture and Día de Muertos (the Day of the Dead). In 2013, Disney bizarrely attempted to file for a trademark on the holiday, a move that was (rightfully) met with criticism and inspired Mexican-American cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz to create a poster satirizing the studio — in a pleasantly surprising twist, Pixar hired Alcaraz to consult on Coco.
Coco is currently set for a November 22, 2017 release.