I was invited on an all expense paid trip by Disney to attend the Red Carpet Black Panther World Premiere. During that time, I also had the opportunity have dinner and enjoy an interview with Anthony Gonzalez, the voice of Miguel in Disney Pixar’s Coco.
Humble, respectful and thankful are just a few words to describe Anthony Gonzalez who voices the character Miguel in Disney Pixar’s newest animated movie Coco. While in LA for the Black Panther World Premiere, I also enjoyed dinner and an interview with Anthony Gonzalez. Before dinner started and our interview with Anthony Gonzalez, we were treated to a special performance by Anthony, along with the Mariachi Divas, an all female Mariachi Band. If you haven’t seen Coco yet, you are in luck because it’s now available on Digital HD and coming soon to Blu-ray.
Interview with Anthony Gonzalez
First, a bit on Anthony and his role in Coco. He’s a charming teenager with a smile as wide as the Pacific and a heart as big as the Atlantic. Anthony, who has starred in a few movies before, lends his voice to MIGUEL, a 12-year-old aspiring musician who struggles against his family’s generations-old ban on music. When a magical mishap lands him in the Land of the Dead, Miguel seeks out his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz, to help him return to the Land of the Living before it’s too late.
Taking on the role of Miguel had deep-rooted meaning for Anthony. He really wanted to play the part of Miguel from his very first audition. Anthony and his character both have a strong 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. That’s one way I identify with Miguel.
Also, we are both very determined and if we really love something, we’re going to chase our dreams. Miguel loves singing and that’s what he wants to do. And not even his family can stop him, that’s one thing I learned from Miguel, like really be determined, do what you love. I started singing because I really love the passion. Thankfully my parents actually supported me and unfortunately Miguel’s family didn’t support him. Even though he struggled with that, he was very persevering. That’s one of the things I love the most about Miguel. I hope other people take that from the movie also, like no matter who tells you oh you can’t do this, you can’t do this, if that’s what you want to do, if that’s what you love, then do it, no one can tell you what to do.”
Anthony also has a deep found respect for family. He knows the importance of traditions.
“Another way I identify myself with Miguel is 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. I actually have celebrated the Day of the Dead as well because my grandfather passed away when I was six years old, but well in the Day of the Dead it was a chance for me to be with him again and connect with him. And that’s another way me and Miguel connect.”
The movie has shed new light on the celebration of the Day of the Dead. People for whom this is a tradition, and even for some who it wasn’t, now celebrate it.
“I think it’s made a big change in our community because there’s some people like people tell me, wow I didn’t even know this was a holiday. Now I’m going to start celebrating it, because well, my father and my uncle passed away and I can be with them again and connect with them, it’s a celebration. Actually my home school teacher told me that her daughter didn’t even know this happened. And her friend passed away and now that she knows about the Day of the Dead she can be with her friend again, which is amazing. And I think that has been a really good change in the community.”
Anthony shared with us his most memorable experience in the course of doing the film and afterwards…
“Wow there have been so many. Well one of them was I got to go to D23 and I had the honor to sing with the one and only Benjamin Bratt, which was so cool. I’ve gotten to go to places that I never thought I would go to like Canada and I love Canada because it’s so cold. I never thought I would go to Pixar and I just love going to Pixar so much, because there’s a soccer field and I love soccer so I get to play soccer every time I go there, every time on my break I got to play soccer. And also the food there is delicious.”
My favorite scenes were definitely all the ones that showed Miguel interacting with Mama Coco. I had a very special relationship with my Great-Grandma and those scenes brought back many beautiful memories. Anthony’s favorite scene happens to be one with Mama Coco too!
“I have a lot of favorite scenes. I love all the scenes where Miguel is interacting with Mama Coco, I think that’s just so sweet. (Re-enacting a scene) ‘I used to go like this and now like this, which is way faster’, I love that. I also love when Mama Imelda agrees to give Miguel his blessing. But the only condition is that he can never play music ever again, and then he says okay. But then right when he goes back he gets a guitar and then he goes straight back to Mama again.
Another one I love is when Miguel is getting ready to sing Poco Loco and then Hector teases him about the grito and then the first time he tries it, he does horrible but then when he does it on stage, he nails it.”
If nothing else, Anthony wants kids to know that the Day of the Dead is a time for celebration…
“I hope that they know the Day of the Dead is not like Halloween, it’s a time for a celebration, it’s a wonderful celebration that anyone can celebrate, not just Mexicans can celebrate but anyone can celebrate it. Because it’s a day where you can connect and really remember your family members that passed away. That’s what I hope that people take away from the movie.”
How does it feel to be a Disney voice?
“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 Gd for all the blessings he’s given me.
Anthony got into acting because of his singing. He used to do street performances on Olvera Street with his siblings.
“My older sister auditioned for reading in Spanish on television. She started reading books in Spanish there and then my other sister started reading books in Spanish as well. Then my brother started doing it and it all came out Thursdays in the morning at 6am on channel thirty-four Univision.
I would see them on the TV reading books and I wanted to do it too. The reason I’m here is because my older brothers they inspired me, they inspired me to sing, they inspired me to do things I never thought I would do without them. I started reading books in Spanish as well, like when I was four years old. One day, when we were reading books in Spanish, a director came to the show and she told my parents, she thought we’d be very good actors, because she saw how we would do our facial expressions and everything.
So she gave us an agent, and he’s right there, and I’ve been with him since I was four years old. I’m just so thankful for that director and I’m so thankful for my agent.”
What was it like performing with your family on Olvera Street?
“I would do street performance, and sing in these streets. We would do a whole show like my brother would sing with one similar to this, and my sisters would do tap dance, ballet. They would sing, they would dance, while my brother was singing and I would just look at them and I would just be inspired by them. And because of them I started singing and acting.”
Anthony shared with us his fondest memories of his grandfather and his connection to Miguel and Mama Coco…(cue all the tears!)
“One of the reasons I also wanted to do this movie was because of my grandfather. I saw that Miguel had Mama Coco, she was always there. And for me the one who was always there for me was my grandfather. And since I was very little, he was always there for me, he would tell jokes, he would make me laugh, he would make me be a better person in life. And I will thank him for that for eternity because I also wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for him. He gave me confidence, when my brother would go singing somewhere, he would tell my mom, take Anthony too because he can do it. And he was the person that was always there for me.”
Anthony gave us an example of what he learned from Coco and how he grew because of it…
“Although I did celebrate the Day of the Dead, I didn’t know many things about it. All I probably knew was remember your ancestors, but I didn’t know like you put together the altar, and you really remember them. And you put food that they like and like a lot of things about the process of celebrating the Day of the Dead. That’s one thing I will take from this movie and really valuing your family, that family is the most important thing.”
Coco has been nominated for two Oscars, Best Animated Feature and Best Song – Remember Me. We were fortunate to have Anthony sing Remember Me to us.
If Anthony had a chance to work with anyone…
“Well besides Benjamin Bratt, I like Zac Efron, I think he’s cool, like High School Musical, that was cool. Zendaya, Emma Watson, I think she’s amazing, Emma Stone, I think she’s amazing. Daniel Radcliffe. Tom Cruise, there’s a lot of people”
Right before we had come to dinner for our interview with Anthony Gonzalez, I had done some shopping on Olvera Street. I happened to pick up to personalized mini guitars for the girls as a gift – and Anthony was kind enough to take a moment to sign them for the girls!
Disney•Pixar’s COCO Movie Trailer
COCO is now available on Digital HD – buy it on Amazon using my affiliate link today! I hope you enjoyed my interview with Anthony Gonzalez – be sure to share it with friends.
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