I was selected by Disney to attend these events and experiences. This was an all-expense paid opportunity and all thoughts and opinions are my own.
I think it was about 80 degrees and perhaps even a touch cooler the evening that we trekked over to Olvera Street. It had been well over a decade since I planted my feet over the familiar ground. Well, not THAT familiar but Olvera Street is the type of place that even if you visit once and many, many years ago, you don’t forget it.
We were greeted by the tap tap of feet and bright colored colors being strewn over carts. Pupusas were being had and the faint cry of a baby was just a touch louder than the music being played on a gentleman’s phone. Olvera Street was sensory overload and I enjoyed every bit of it. It was a great introduction to our evening of chatting with Anthony Gonzalez of Coco. Anthony plays the voice of Miguel and let me tell you, at only 13 years old, this young actor is quite the star.
(courtesy of Disney)
On how he identifies with the character Miguel
I always love hearing how actors resonate with the characters their play. In this instance, it almost seems like Miguel and Anthony are the same person!
Anthony: Well, when I first went to audition for Miguel, I really wanted to do this role because I identified myself so much with him. And that is because we both have this passion for music. I grew up with music, singing with my brothers here in La Placita Olvera. And just to be part of a movie where I can sing because I’ve been doing that since I was four years old, is amazing. So that’s one way I identify with Miguel.
We both know how important our family is and we know to really do our traditions. Just like Miguel’s tradition is to celebrate the Day of the Dead.
Will Coco help others think differently about the Day of the Dead?
I’ve known about the Day of the Dead for quite some time and I think it’s such a beautiful celebration. Coco challenged me think about how I can celebrate my ancestors more like Anthony, I think this movie will help change the perspective on the Day of the Dead.
Anthony: Yeah, in fact I think it has made a big change in our community because there’s some people who didn’t even know this was a holiday. Now I’m going to start celebrating it because my father and my uncle passed away and I can be with them again and connect with them. It’s a celebration.
It’s kind of a big deal
I wasn’t doing anything this big when I was Anthony’s age so for him to nail a major movie like Coco, I think, is pretty darn cool. It turns out that he feels the same way!
Anthony: Oh my gosh that’s just like a dream come true. That’s an honor because I grew up watching these Disney movies, like Toy Story. I have the Woody toy and I have a Buzz Lightyear blanket and just to be part of Disney Pixar movie is a big deal and at my age. It’s just a dream come true. And all I can do is just thank God for all the blessings he’s given me.
When you’re a kid who happens to be a celebrity
It’s too late for me to know how this would work but Anthony had no problem letting us know how he was adjusting to celebrity-dom. And how his friends were taking it, too!
Anthony: They’re all very happy of how the movie is going, they’re like “Wow, you did an amazing job. I cried!” and they’re just very supportive. That’s another thing I think of…how everyone is receiving it.”
On having your culture on the big screen
Anthony: This movie is about is celebrating this wonderful tradition that Mexicans celebrate. It’s a wonderful celebration, a lot of colors, a lot of food, a lot of like it’s happy, it’s a happy celebration. I did know it was going to make a wonderful impact, but I didn’t know it was going to make that big of an impact, and just to see that a lot of people really took the message and learned a lot about this wonderful tradition, I thought was amazing. Yes, I’m still shocked and speechless. Thank you so much.
And the best news?
Coco lands on Digital HD on February 13th and Blu-ray & DVD on February 27th.
FTC Disclosure: My travel, accommodations, and experiences were sponsored by Disney. All thoughts and opinions are my own.