After the success of TOY STORY 3, director Lee Unkrich immediately started working on a movie that focused on the Mexican holiday, COCO. Seven years later, the movie is now releasing on November 24 and reportedly the experience of making it was unlike any other Pixar movie before.
John Lasseter has been the head of the Pixar/ Walt Disney Animation department for over two decades and has been a major reason for the visionaries behind the scenes. For Unkrich, it was the Day of the Dead holiday that really fascinated him as an entry into telling a story.
It would be the first time that Pixar would tell a story around a cultural celebration. The story follows a young boy named Miguel who secretly wants to be a famous musician, though his family has forbidden music after his great-great-grandfather left the family to seek out fame as a musician. While celebrating Day of the Dead, Miguel magically ends up in the Land of the Dead, and must go on a journey to find his way back to the living while also searching for his great-great-grandfather.
The director admitted to the fact that making COCO has been a learning process from the start but they really hit their stride when they put together a group of cultural consultants. It was the first time on any Pixar movie that outsiders were allowed into the studio's creative process. And getting the feedback of outsiders didn't stop there. These meetings with the consultants and Latino community didn't lead to any major changes to the story, Unkrich said, however they were responsible for many small tweaks that increased the movie's connection to Mexican culture.
"We ended up bringing in periodically big groups of all sorts of folks from the Latino community, from artists to writers to political figures to media executives, because we wanted to get a lot of different perspectives," Unkrich said. "What we quickly learned is there is no one right way to tell a story set in the Latino community, there are a lot of different opinions. Part of our challenge was trying to navigate all those different opinions to figure out our path forward."
Lee Unkrich wanted this movie to be perfect and tried to leave no stone unturned while researching and making changes in the script according to the suggestion.
Directed by Lee Unkrich and co-directed by Adrian Molina, Disney-Pixar's COCO stars Anthony Gonzalez, Gael García Bernal and Benjamin Bratt.
COCO is a story about a boy who inspired by his idol the late, great musician Ernesto de la Cruz, sets off on an adventure of music and mystery, resulting in the most unusual family reunion.
COCO opens in theaters on November 24, 2017.