Disney/Pixar’s COCO is now playing in theaters everywhere. Scoring high reviews with critics and movie goers alike, the film is officially a hit. It’s been a while since I was so emotionally affected by a movie, let alone an animated film. I have seen COCO twice and both times were an incredible experience. This is one beautiful movie that I am thrilled to be blogging about.
While in LA a few weeks ago for the Disney/Pixar Coco Event and Press Junket, we had the honor of speaking with the talented Edward James Olmos, voice of Chicharron. Edward James Olmos has a small, but powerful role in the film, but the story is definitely big in his heart, which he so generously shared with us. I hope you enjoy reading some of the highlights from our interview below.
Thinking about my grandparents, my great-grandparents. Thinking about it just conjures up the reason why we are who we are. You start to get into your memory of where you come from and especially with your parents. You start with them, but this was very emotional for me. Even right now thinking about it I get emotional. – Edward James Olmos
Q: How would you like to be remembered?
EJO: Among my family, hopefully they’ve shared enough time with me and that I shared enough time with them and remember the times that we spent together. I mean, so many different stories, but just to be remembered in a way that empowers them, that would be nice.
Q: What do you think we can do to avoid being forgotten?
EJO: Just be happy around those that you love because that’s what you’d like to be remembered for. I’d like them to remember the fact that I always try to be happy and I was always up because it’s a choice. I could have woke up this morning and said, oh, God almighty, I have to do so much of this stuff. I gotta do this, oh, God, what a day, but instead, I woke up and I said, well, I got to do all this stuff, yeah, but guess what? I woke up.
Q: What statement do you feel the film makes?
EJO: It’s pretty simple. I mean, the film itself is very direct in making you feel that the Day of the Dead is a very needed moment in everybody’s life. Everybody has their own way of dealing with their past and where they come from and each culture has their own way of doing it and it’s wonderful when you learn about it, but this is the first time that I’ve ever seen this explained so simply. And that’s why I took the role. I mean, my part is a cameo, but it’s very intrinsic to the story. I mean, you really realize what happens when no one thinks of you anymore.
On drawing from his own experiences for the role
I know about the Day of the Dead and we have celebrated the Day of the Dead since I was born and it’s an integral part of living inside of a Mexican household. It’s different than Halloween…using the moment of Halloween as a celebration of our death. Life and death situation here in this planet and our life, but we would always go and celebrate the Day of the Dead with my great-grandparents. And we’d always go around where they were all buried at the Evergreen Cemetery in East L.A.
Q: Do you have any special memories of Day of the Dead from growing up?
EJO: It was a party. It was a celebration of life, of living, with bringing, conjuring up the understanding of those that got you there. You’re just saying thank you to them. Thanks for bringing me to this space and here we are around your tomb or your graveside and we put flowers and little candles and their picture and their food. I bring my dad his menudo . We just sit there and laugh, and cry. There’s a lot of crying and especially the older you get. The closer you get to being in the hole, the closer you are to understanding what life really is. That’s the reality of our life. We have to celebrate it.
Three quotes from our Edward James Olmos interview
“I didn’t know the whole story. I never read the whole script. I sat down and I knew my little portion of it. Hector and little Miguel and those I worked with, that was it. That’s what I knew and they had told me, it dealt with family and it dealt with remembrance.”
“This piece of art will be around as long as any piece of art can be around. It’ll be passed on, so I’m very grateful. I mean, I play an integral part to the story, because you really realize what it is that we’re doing and what this is about.”
“Twenty years from today, every Latino family and many other cultures will have this film in their library, and put it in whenever the kids are around.”
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.
Like COCO on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PixarCoco
Follow COCO on Twitter: https://twitter.com/pixarcoco
Follow COCO on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pixarcoco/
Visit the official COCO website here: http://movies.disney.com/coco
COCO is now playing in theatres everywhere!
Disclosure: Travel, lodging, events, and meals during this trip were provided courtesy of Disney/Pixar, Disney Studios, & ABC. All opinions expressed are still honest and my own.