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One of my favorite interviews to do is with the Directors & Producers of the Movie...it's even better when one of them is also a writer! That's just what we got to do earlier this month when we got to sit down with Director Lee Unkrich, Writer and Co-Director Adrian Molina & Producer Darla K. Anderson from Pixar's COCO.
While we only got to screen about 25 minutes of the movie, we were all anxious to have our many questions answered.
Q. When you first presented the idea, what was the reaction like?
"Well, I first pitched it the beginnings of this idea back in September of 2011. It was a film that I had been developing before Toy Story 3 happened and then another new original idea and then this notion of doing a story set against the Dia De Los Muertos and immediately John sparked to the Dia De Los Muertos idea. This first story that we developed was completely different than what we ended up doing with Coco but John just was really excited about the notion of setting a story in this world. It felt unique to him. It was different than anything we’d done at the studio and so he wanted us to forge ahead and develop that idea." - LU
Why The Name COCO?
It was a working title, but they liked that there is a certain mystery to it, you go into theaters and don't quite know what it means.
We find out early on that COCO is Miguel's great-grandmother and the keeper of stories & memories.
"COCO earns and deserves having the movie named after her" - LU
Q. What was more challenging for you in the storytelling and what was so easy for you?
"I’d say the challenge is creating a story it’s like a rubrics cube and the moment you’ve got one piece in place and it’s feeling good and then you need to incorporate this whole new element and it’s like oh, I don’t wanna move that but I have to in order to fit this stuff in. So it’s always for us, it’s always a process of creation and revision, creation and revision and sometimes the hardest part are really great ideas that you put in early on that you fall in love with and then maybe the story gets to a place where that idea no longer can exist in the same place that it started in and so as storytellers we kind of have to have courage to let stuff go that we really love to make room for new stuff. But every so often I think the happy accidents, not accidents but the happy moments are every so often you let something go and you redistribute the pieces and then you find a new place for it and so you know, it’s years and years of creating these films and exploring a lot of different options so that we can have a set of scenes that is really tested and gets a great response but it’s just the work of creating and, you know, shining the flashlight into the darkness and saying what are we gonna find." - AM
The very origination came from a love of Mexico and a real kind of affinity for the people and the culture.
Q. I know you went to many trips to Mexico to research and I'm sure you learned a lot about the Mexican culture. What was surprising that you learned about the culture and how has making this film change how you see Mexico?
"I thought I had an understanding of what Dia De Los Muertos is all about and once we started travelling down there and meeting with all of the experts that we worked with I was surprised to how differently it’s celebrated in all different parts of Mexico. Not even different parts of Mexico but within small regions from town to town you’ll find very different traditions and that was a big surprise to me." - LU
Well it’s definitely about family, almost first and foremost the idea of family and tradition is gonna be infused in the film but it’s also very much a film about following your passions and making choices in life and pursuing dreams versus, you know, just saying what your family wants for you or what they think is best for you and I think that’s something that a lot of people can relate to." - AM
Disney & Pixar's COCO will hit theaters November 22nd, 2017