The next couple of years for Pixar Animation Studios are heavy on sequels. Cars 3, Toy Story 4, The Incredibles 2 — they’re all on the production roster, and they make it look like the studio is retrenching into safer bets and guaranteed successes, after a long run of award-winning original works. But there’s one exception on the schedule: Coco, a Pixar original film we knew little about before today.
Coco, announced in 2012 and slated to arrive in November 2017, is set in Mexico around the holiday Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). It will be directed by frequent Pixar hitmaker Lee Unkrich, who co-directed Monsters Inc. and Finding Nemo, and won an Academy Award as the sole director of Toy Story 3.
Today, Entertainment Weekly revealed an extensive set of details about the film. Notably: unlike 20th Century Fox’s 2014 Día de los Muertos film The Book of Life, Coco will have an all-Latino voice cast. The main characters will be voiced by Law & Order’s Benjamin Bratt, Mozart in the Jungle’s Gael García Bernal, Weeds’ Renée Victor, and young newcomer Anthony Gonzales, who will play the lead character, Miguel.
Unkrich told EW, “It was important to us from day one that we had an all-Latino cast. It focused us, and we ended up with a fantastic mix of people — some from Mexico and some from Los Angeles.”
The story centers on Miguel’s love for music, which is banned in his home because his family thinks it has cursed them. After Miguel’s great-great-grandfather abandoned his wife in favor of a career in music, she took over as the matriarch of the shoemaking family, and banned music for all of her descendants.
Miguel’s journey involves chasing after a famous dead musician and accidentally winding up in the Land of the Dead. There, he meets up with generations of his own departed family members and a “trickster” skeleton named Hector, and tries to enlist all of them in getting his living family members’ blessing to pursue his dream of being a musician.
Pixar says Coco isn’t a musical, but it sounds like there will be some original music to look forward to regardless.