“Coco” follows 12-year-old Miguel who, despite idolizing musician Ernesto de la Cruz, lives in a shoemaking family which has banned music for decades. Miguel decides to take a trip to de la Cruz’s grave, where he borrows his guitar and accidentally sets off a chain of events related to the Mexican folk story Dia de Los Muertos. The film comes from “Finding Nemo” and “Toy Story 3” director Lee Unkrich, alongside “The Good Dinosaur” writer Adrian Molina (who writes and co-directs the film).
“The day John Lasseter gave the thumbs up for this movie, I immediately felt this huge weight drop onto my shoulders because I knew that we were doing something different than we had ever made at the studio and that for the first time, we were going to have this enormous responsibility to do right by this culture and not lapse into stereotype or cliché,” Unkrich told Entertainment Weekly about the film.
To date, “Coco’s” most notable news coverage was a controversy. In 2013, before the film was named, Disney caused an uproar in the Mexican community by filing a trademark application for the phrase “Dia de Los Muertos,” which they later rescinded. However, Unkrich said that the company wasn’t trying to steal the holiday’s name.
“There was never any conscious effort to try to trademark a holiday because that’s crazy, and we would never try to do that,” he said. “But it happened, and we regret it, and we’re so sorry for it. And I know for all of us, it affected us really deeply. It was devastating, because we knew what we were trying to do and we had taken on this responsibility of trying to do everything right, and so it really was painful to know that the first public perception of our film had to do with that.”
The first look at the film, released to EW, shows Miguel right after he’s gotten the guitar, before he is sent to the Land of the Dead to meet with the very members of his family who banned music in the first place.
The film stars Gael Garcia Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, Renee Victor and Anthony Gonzalez. It will be released on Nov. 22, 2017.
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