During our recent webcam chat (watch the exclusive video above), “Coco” screenwriter Adrian Molina reveals that the idea for the film first started with director Lee Unkrich‘s desire to make a film about the Mexican holiday Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). He explains that they wanted to ask the question of, “if you had the opportunity to meet the people who came before you, what would you learn? What would surprise you?” This Pixar release centers on Miguel (voiced by Anthony Gonzalez), an aspiring musician in a family that has banned music from the household, and his journey into the Land of the Dead to find his great-great grandfather, a famous singer.
“We really looked at the holiday and said, ‘What are the tenets of this holiday?’,” adds co-writer Matthew Aldrich. “It really became the starting point for asking ourselves a lot of story questions.” Because there haven’t been a lot of films centered on this particular holiday, “we had to ask ourselves what would the happy ending of a Día de los Muertos movie be like?” What they arrived at was “a wonderful family reunion where everyone would at last be together. And so then it became a process of reverse-engineering.”
In addition to writing, Molina also served as co-director on the film. He provided additional screenplay material for Pixar’s “Monsters University” (2013) and “The Good Dinosaur” (2015). Aldrich penned scripts for “Cleaner” (2007) and the upcoming “Spinning Man,” due out in 2018.
Also starring the voices of Gael Garcia Bernal and Benjamin Bratt, “Coco” recently received 13 Annie nominations, including Best Animated Feature, Best Directing, Best Writing, and Best Voice Acting (Gonzalez). The film also reaped bids at the Broadcast Film Critics Association for Best Animated Feature and Best Song for “Remember Me.” It also took the Animated Feature prizes at the New York Film Critics Circle and National Board of Review.
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