With the amazing COCO by Disney Pixar production, you are going to be treated to one of the most culturally-rich animation masterpieces ever! Check for some details of my Red Carpet experience I had an opportunity to be at for the US Premiere of COCO. All the stars and movie’s executive team were at the premiere. They brought their families, children, nieces and nephews. The celebration was top notch. And then when all of us were ushered into a captivating audience of the El Capitan Theatre – the magic just kept happening.
Some of the creative and cast crew captured in this picture
The movie is bursting with music and deep messages as we, humans, need to be reminded of. Better yet, being aware of the such messages like life and the end of it and what’s happening when our physical bodies seise to be – can bring a profound insight into who we are and our connection to the ancestors and ourselves.
Having met and interviewed the cast of COCO brought me closer to the humanness of each and every one of them. When we meet and learn more about a person, we become aware of their own energy of life, their integrity of reflecting life around them. Gael Garcia Bernal is one of my highly admired actors in the movie universe. I remember him from my first movie watched with his role in it – Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN. He became one of my favorites with his Amazon Series MOZART IN THE JUNGLE.
Now, Gael Garcia Bernal has lended his voice to one of the key characters in COCO – Hector.
coGael Garcia Bernal Entering his Conference Room
The expression of joy from the first moments Photo: Silvia MartinezWorking with Pixar is an easy decision for any actor – or at least for everybody I’ve interviewed so far. The ethics, the atmosphere, the collaborative effort and support that the studio provides is unprecedented! Gael said it was a “yes” to the offer that was emailed to hime and then followed by a personal interview with the executive team of Director Lee Unkrich, Writer and Co-Director Adrian Molina and Producer Darla Anderson.
It was so easy. It was daunting the fact that I had to sing, but I like the challenge of it. But that was the one that I was a little like, ‘oh, okay, Let’s see what will come out of it. I was counting on my postal –I mean coming from Guadalajara! I think that’s why we are able to do those shouts, you know, those mariachi gritos – because if you’re not from there, it’s very difficult to do it.
For a fact, the mariachi gritos – very specific, high-pitch voice greetings produced by a deep throat voice – are super difficult to make if you are not from those specific areas of Mexico. Wait till you see how Anthony Gonzales, voice of Miguel, had demoed it for us during his interview. Full interview to come soon!
Raised in a very cultural and creative environment, Gael has shared with us his reveration and honor of the Day Of The Dead, which is depicted in COCO. His first reminder was a take-away from the movie from his perspective.
For those of you who do not know what the Day of the Dead is, it is a celebration when people in a Mexican culture remember their relatives who passed away. They build a sense of an alter (but the alter which you revere or pray to!), rather a place where they place pictures, flowers, food and many items associated with those who passed away and things that celebrate the living as well. It is a very rich, with deep meaning, holiday that brings families together. This is what Gael was reflecting on in his conversation with us.
The Day of the DEAD is celebration or tradition and is a very open and very, very generous. What do you say? – Transversal, the kind of celebration because anything you want to put into the alter is welcome. It invites a very personal point of view, because it’s a reflection on death, and nobody has the definite answer on what happens after [LAUGHS], no? So, it is a reflection on death that we all engage in on a very personal level. We all put our dead people, we put ourselves there, you know, we put ourselves in the calaca – little skulls.
Take a little skull with your name on it, you know, and you put yourself on the same level to reflect on death and life and a very kind of you. This is really like an open question, no? It is something that I feel so lucky to have been born with; that and with a family, and the school I went to. We always put them out, so the memory, the stories, the storytelling, the tradition behind it [the Day of the Dead] live on.
The reflections on life and death is a great way to find a personal question and a personal answer to that. Which ultimately as most, I mean ultimately not most spiritual guidance’s will be but that’s the best thing you can do. To find your own explanation around things, life and death, is the main point, you know?
It is a very generous and open, and what they [Pixar] did to it, is that they grabbed little aspects from each region in Mexico, not trying to get everything in, but having a very personal also point of view around it. I mean they put alibreje into the celebration of Day of the Dead, and it is not part of the celebration of the day, but it doesn’t matter if it is, no?
Because anything flows! It just shows the complexity of a tradition that is incredibly deep and incredibly profound and necessary. Because ultimately, this reflection leads you to be a better human-being, leads you to be better, to build a better society; leads you to build a better future as well to live life in a much more essential way. And that’s what I think this film shows about Mexico.
This film also gives us a sense we have to trust. We have to trust that complexity; you have to invite the world in this reflection, as well. Because it is an important one, I think to wonder what happens [after death], and how do we keep the memory alive.
Join In The Conversation of Revering Family Traditions
#Interview with Gael Garcia Bernal the Voice of Hector in #COCO. Fascinating actor – he is. Unforgettable voice – he is. @pixarcoco #PixarCocoEvent #OlafsFrozenAdventure https://t.co/ZsJDFLS6no pic.twitter.com/f0liLRnRBl
— Celebrate Woman (@DiscoverSelf) November 21, 2017
Here’s what Gael remembers from his childhood and how the Day of the Dead was celebrated when he was growing up.
It was great to go walking around the streets and seeing people and painted the kids and doing this in costumes, too. It is not the materialistic aspect of Halloween. It is a very deep kind of engagement of a celebration. I think it’s gonna be very different, it’s gonna change a lot. The Day of the Dead has many other cultural activities and is changing the way that we’re engaging with it, and we’re valuing it even more.
I think more and more people are doing it but what’s interesting is that in Mexico like when you go to school, in school is where you learn about the day of the dead.
Gael shared his own way of teaching Family Traditions to his little daughter.
Well that’s the thing because it is a very open you know, very open ceremony. You start building the alter, for example, and you put [pictures of] your dead people, you put this time in with the alter. We put [SOUNDS LIKE] BEETLES photographs you know. We put like some books that we like, we put some toys, we put up some, yeah, a lot of food.
A lot of little pieces that we found, Lego pieces, stuff like that. And they start to reflect on them when they invite their kids, their friends to see the alter, and they start to explain it to them. It is really interesting what they tell them about what goes on. That knowledge, that security that there is no concrete answer on what happens when we die. So, it is a really a great way to engage in that conversation with kids, as well.
We were all kids. When we’re at that age, we start to wonder what the hell going on, no? And it is not easy, sometimes, to talk about it. And yet it [death] happens, and it’s something a great way to open up the discussion about. And to let the kids have their own answer around it.
Did you see any of your own characteristics, mannerisms
when you saw the animated version of Coco?
Yeah! They have a camera when you’re recording, and sometimes they use certain things that you do and certain ways that you do it; so, yes. Yes, yes, yes. Lee [Unkrich] asked us to be very expressive about it because everything that we do helps when constructing the character for them.
What does Seize the Moment mean to you?
This is a very personal opinion about seizing the moment. I think that what’s nice about the movie is that it shows De La Cruz having that you know, let’s say that flag, now? Carrying the flag of seizing your moment and I think it has been one of the most damaging aspects of the western society this notion of seizing the moment.
Because, it has made us burn the forests that we have in front of us; it has made us live the now as if there was no tomorrow. As if we’re not engaging with a responsibility that freedom gives us a future and people that will come after. And it is not a rush, life is more, it’s more a craft.
Seizing the moment sometimes makes you fall into trap that it is now or never, you know. And there are moments that it is now or never but you know when that is, you know, it’s not that there’s a rule that you have to follow that path. I think it has been very damaging, that notion. It is interesting that in the film this notion comes in play.
How was it recording with your own daughter in Pixar Studios?
Ah, it was beautiful, it was beautiful, it’s gonna be one of those moments that acting definitely gives you the moments of thinking, “I’m so lucky we’re doing this job.” I never thought that I would live off the job I love doing, these experiences that I love doing. And then you get a chance to have a beautiful postcard for life.
This is gonna be something that my daughter one day will see when she’s, I don’t know, sixty. And it will be really, really fun to her to remember and to hear ourselves there. It was such a great opportunity. And also she was really happy to do it.