Disney and Pixar have unveiled the first real details about their upcoming animated adventure Coco. First announced back in 2012 as an untitled Dia de los Muretos project, the studio has revealed that young newcomer Anthony Gonzalez will voice the main character, a 12-year-old boy named Miguel. Benjamin Bratt has signed on to voice Miguel's idol, Ernesto de la Cruz, with Gael Garcial Bernal voicing Hector and Renee Victor voicing Miguel's grandmother, Abuelita. We also have the first poster, concept art of Miguel and his great-grandmother, Mama Coco, and the official plot synopsis, which you can read below.
"Despite his family's baffling generations-old ban on music, Miguel (voice of newcomer Anthony Gonzalez) dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz (voice of Benjamin Bratt). Desperate to prove his talent, Miguel finds himself in the stunning and colorful Land of the Dead following a mysterious chain of events. Along the way, he meets charming trickster Hector (voice of Gael García Bernal), and together, they set off on an extraordinary journey to unlock the real story behind Miguel's family history. Character actress Renée Victor also joins the cast as Abuelita, Miguel's grandmother."
Back in February 2015, composer Randy Newman hinted that Coco would be Pixar's first musical, but it seems that isn't quite the case. Entertainment Weekly describes Coco as a, "music-packed-but-not-quite-'musical' film," while adding more details about the plot. Miguel hails from a long line of shoemakers, who have long banned music from their family, because they believe they've been cursed by the art form, after Miguel's great-great-grandmother Imelda proclaimed music dead to the family, after her husband left her to pursue his musical ambitions. When Miguel discovers a secret link between him and his idol Ernesto de la Cruz, he goes on a journey that accidentally takes him to the Land of the Dead, where he meets the souls of his late family. Here's what director Lee Unkrich had to say about the casting process.
"It was important to us from day one that we had an all-Latino cast. It focused us, and we ended up with a fantastic mix of people - some from Mexico and some from Los Angeles."
The director goes on to add that Benjamin Bratt was the first actor cast, and while Gael Garcia Bernal was considered early on, there was a problem. The actor isn't necessarily well-known for comedy, with Lee Unkrich adding that he wasn't sure he'd be able to sell Pixar's John Lasseter on Gael Garcia Bernal for a comedic role. Here's what the director had to say about the fortunate timing of the actor's comedic TV series, Mozart in the Jungle.
"Gael was someone we were considering early on, but I didn't know if I'd be able to sell him (to Pixar chief John Lasseter) because he's done so many films I've loved through the years, but he hadn't really done comedy. Thankfully, our casting director said, 'Have you seen this new show that Gael's in?' And it was Mozart in the Jungle, and I started watching and thought, 'Oh my God, he's so funny, he's so charming, and he's perfect.' So, thank God for Mozart. It didn't take any convincing on John's part."
Anthony Gonzalez was discoverd during a nationwide casting search for Miguel Rivera, whose casting actually came about when he was brought on do do the "scratch voice" for the character, during the early development. He was hired to do the scratch voice when the actor they were using became too old, and they ended up hiring Anthony Gonzalez not only to do the scratch voice, but portray Miguel in the film. Here's what the director had to say about how they came across Anthony Gonzalez.
"We actually had another kid doing scratch for Miguel who's now 17 or 18, which should tell you how long we've been working on the movie, but his voice changed long ago, and it was actually in trying to find a new voice for the scratch that we found Anthony."
Lee Unkrich is directing Coco with Adrian Molina co-directing and providing the screenplay. Disney Pixar has set a November 22, 2017 release date for Coco, putting it up against Universal's romance Let It Snow and 20th Century Fox's thriller Murder on the Orient Express. Take a look at the concept art and poster for Coco below.