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Pixar’s Coco Reveals Plot and All-Latino Cast Including Gael García Bernal and Benjamin Bratt

Pixar’s Coco was first announced in 2012 as an upcoming film about Día de los Muertos, and not much was known about the project until yesterday, when Entertainment Weekly revealed the cast and shared the plot details.

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Directing is Toy Story 3‘s Lee Unkrich, with co-director Adrian Molina and producer Darla K. Anderson. The voice cast will include Benjamin Bratt, Gael García Bernal, Renée Victor, and newcomer Anthony Gonzalez, who voices the film’s 12-year old protagonist. Unkrich says that finding an all-Latino cast was a priority from day one.

While it’s not being labelled a musical, the film with have “original and traditional music sung by Bratt, Gonzalez, Bernal, and more.” Here’s the synopsis:

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-great-grandfather abandoned his wife decades earlier to follow his own dreams of performing, leaving Imelda (Miguel’s great-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-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.

I’m very hopeful about Coco, and it looks like the team is making authenticity and sensitivity a priority. Vanity Fair traced the production and pointed out that the project raised some criticism for trying to secure Día de los Muertos on platforms back in 2013. Unkrich calls the mistake “personally devastating,” but it’s clear the team learned from those errors after bringing on one of the critics of the trademark attempt–artist Lalo Alcaraz–as well as playwright Octavio Solís and former CEO of the Mexican Heritage Corporation, Marcela Davison Aviles, as cultural consultants. If you check out the full article, Unkrich comes across as very aware of his position, and there’s a strong pushback against any armchair anthropology or stereotypes in his “love letter to Mexico.”

Coco comes to theaters November 22, 2017. Are you going to check it out?

(via Indiewire)
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