Pixar’s ‘Coco’ star Anthony Gonzalez talks about Miguel

by W. Andrew Powell

Anthony Gonzalez is a star. From the moment that you meet him, he has a personality that shines into every corner of a room, and he’s fun, friendly, and ready to talk about his first animated feature film, Pixar’s Coco, where he plays the young Miguel.

In Coco, Miguel is the descendant of Mexican shoemakers who have been doing the same work for generations, but he has dreams of becoming a musician. The problem for Miguel is that his family banned music from their lives when they took up shoemaking because Miguel’s great-great-grandfather left his wife to pursue his love of music. Since then, no one has been allowed to play music, but Miguel has a secret space that he’s filled with memorabilia from his favorite musician, Ernesto de la Cruz, and he’s learned to play guitar by watching his videos.

When his family, and especially his grandmother, Abuelita, discover his secret on the Día de Muertos–the day when Mexicans honour their ancestors–he runs away to try and perform in the town square. He needs a guitar though, and when he tries to borrow Ernesto de la Cruz’s guitar from the performer’s mausoleum, Miguel is thrown into the Land of the Dead, and he has to get back before the end of the night, or he’ll never be able to go back to his family. Luckily, he has a friend to help him, his dog Dante, and his ancestors.

“To be in a movie where I can sing and act has been amazing,” Gonzalez said.

When I asked him if he could pick a favorite song from the musical film, he couldn’t decide. “Oh my goodness, I love all of them,” he said. “Really, I can’t choose a favourite because they’re all amazing. They were made by amazing composers and amazing people.”

He did admit though that he really loved “Poco Loco”, “Remember Me”, “Proud Corazón”, and “The World Is Your Familia” because, as he said, “It’s like the world is your family, and I just love the message.”

Watch the interview below and enjoy Gonzalez’s truly amazing spirit. He’s frankly delightful, and he invests Miguel and Coco with a wonderful joy and excitement that is endearing and charming, in one of the year’s absolutely best animated films.

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