I was honored to be invited to the #PixarCocoEvent, a Disney press junket for Disney Pixar COCO, Big Hero 6 Baymak Returns, Kevin (Probably) Saves the World, Designated Survivor, and Olaf’s Frozen Adventure. As a guest, my expenses were covered in return for a series of articles about my experiences and reviews of the programming.
Earlier this week, I started sharing my experiences going out to Los Angeles for the #PixarCocoEvent. These trips are magical experiences, yes work too. When you can combine something you love with work, then you don’t mind so much staying up late to write about those experiences. But as I stay up late to share with you about Benjamin Bratt, the voice behind Disney Pixar Coco’s Ernesto de la Cruz I’m struggling a bit. Allow me to explain.
We interviewed Benjamin on our last day of interviews. Everything that came out of that interview was pure gold. Benjamin showed such enthusiasm and love for the film and kindness towards all of us, it’s hard not to share the whole transcript of that interview and say, “Look! Read how awesome Benjamin Bratt really is!” But that transcript is 2600 words, so I’ll try my best to trim this down with the most memorable moments we had and the words he spoke that connected us all to him forever.
About Disney Pixar’s COCO
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.
Early on in COCO we see that Miguel comes to believe Ernesto de la Cruz is his great great grandfather.
“COCO” will be released in U.S. theaters on November 22, 2017.
We get a glimpse of Benjamin Bratt as Ernesto de la Cruz in this Disney Pixar COCO movie trailer
10 Memorable Moments with Benjamin Bratt, Disney Pixar Coco’s Ernesto de la Cruz
Our interview started with Benjamin Bratt beaming and radiant
In all of our Disney press junket interview and question and answer sessions we always welcome our guests with a round of applause. It breaks the ice and makes them feel so warm and welcome. Benjamin still beaming from last night came in to this applause and said, “What a warm and beautiful greeting this morning. How are you all? I feel so good today because I went to the most remarkable premiere last night. …I’ve been around the block a little bit and that was probably the most spectacular, most heartwarming, most fun premiere I’ve ever been to. I mean where else can you be greeted by a mariachi band and dancers. The whole thing was a celebration from start to finish. I was rocked.”
Like us, Seeing Disney Pixar COCO for the first time in its entirety left him in awe.
You can not watch Disney Pixar COCO and not be in awe. The art, the animation, the personality of the characters, the Disney Pixar team did not leave anything out. Benjamin Bratt watched COCO in its entirety for the first time, with us, at the red carpet premiere. He shared, “There was a lot about it that, that affected me but I think I was most struck by the beauty of the artistry. It’s such a beautiful film to look at. Then when you add that technical expertise to the emotional depth of the film and what it delivers at the end, there’s no other word for it, and powerful. It was a really powerful result.”
He’s not afraid to admit COCO made him cry too.
Bring the tissues with you to COCO because there are moments that will make you cry. Benjamin was not afraid to admit that. Without spoiling anything for you here is one of the moments that made him the most emotional. “One of my favorite scenes in the film, was that scene with that Eddie Olmos plays, Chicharrón, where it really spells out what it is to finally die, the final death. It’s expository but it also, it just punches you right in the heart because you realize (what it really means to die).” It’s a moment where you realize the significance of the whole movie.
His first impressions of the Pixar Studios
Meeting your ‘boss’ for the first time is usually one filled with emotions. You’re nervous. You might be anxious. It wasn’t like that at all for Benjamin Bratt when he met director Lee Unkrich, writer and co-director Adrian Molina, and producer Darla K. Anderson. He talked about being excited how Coco is “finally an opportunity on a global scale to illuminate the beauty of the Latino culture.” Benjamin added, “When I was first given a tour of the Pixar Studios up in Emeryville, Lee and Darla and Adrian led me into this room that, from floor to ceiling on every wall was covered in Mexican iconography, Day of the Dead colors and images and some of the characters that were drawn, illustrated that they were going to portray in the film. And it affected me in a way that actually kind of surprised me. It was in that moment that I recognized these beautiful brown faces albeit they’re animated figures. They looked like people I know, the people I come from. It underscored the fact that that portrayal hasn’t been done yet on this kind of scale. In a way, it reintroduces who we are as a people in our uniqueness but also in our sameness to everyone else in the world whether you’re from China or Africa or Europe or anywhere else in the world.”
The impact films have on children
Films have the power to impact children. They can inspire future careers, educate them, and change their behaviors. Benjamin recognizes that and said, “Movies really can do a lot to teach young people, whether you want them to or not. This story views death as a kind of celebration, as a continuation really of what we are and who we are. It’s not something to be feared but something to realize that it’s part of the natural cycle of life and that you can in fact stay connected to the people that you love.”
What does Seize the Moment mean to Benjamin Bratt?
“Seize the moment!” It’s a quote we hear often in COCO, but we found through our interviews it means different things to different people. “Seize the moment I interpret as a call to action. I’m a little more pensive before I make a decision. I think I’ve gotten more cautious as I’ve gotten older. What I can relate to is, and it’s always held particular importance for me, but it is the most important thing in my life right now and that’s my family, my immediate family, my relationship with my wife and my two children, my daughter Sophia and my son Matteo.” explained Benjamin.
The irony and humor in playing the most famous Mexican musician
When we questioned Benjamin Bratt about what it was like to play the most famous Mexican musician we all got a chuckle from his humorous but genuine response. He said, “I acknowledge that I’m a fairly decent actor but I’ve always wanted to be a singer. I just admire singers so much and musicians in general because with singing, your voice is your instrument. It translates across all language, all cultures because a beautiful voice is a beautiful voice. I don’t possess one when it comes to singing. … When I was offered the role, I thought it was a bit ironic that I was meant to play the most famous singer and musician in Mexican history. I had a little chuckle for myself. Then, I became immediately terrified because Lee and Darla and Adrian wanted me to attempt it. And so, and what better circumstances could I do that. They provided me with Liz Kaplan who’s the instructor, mentor to the stars in a New York. They just gave me the opportunity to fail. The first few sessions, I’ll tell you, they were horrible. They were really horrible. But, you know, they gave me a shot. I was happy to do it. And that it’s in the movie, I recorded every song that it’s in the movie, I’m really proud of it.”
What does Benjamin Bratt want to teach his children?
As parents, we all want the best for our children. We want to want to pass down our values and our beliefs. For Benjamin he wants his kids, “To have compassion, to be empathetic, to recognize that wherever you come from, whatever your gender is, whatever your sexual orientation, whatever your religion is, lead with kindness, lead with empathy and lead with love.”
How does Benjamin Bratt want to be remembered?
In a movie all about remembering loved ones and friends, we also asked Benjamin Bratt to share how he wanted to be remembered. He responded, “If I am to be remembered at all I would hope it would be for, for my kindness or my generosity, for the love that lives in my heart for people that I hold near and dear. And for someone who tried to live his life with integrity. Nothing too deep. Oh, and he’s pretty fun, too. He was a fun guy.”
We certainly will never forget Benjamin Bratt or his portrayal of Ernesto de la Cruz in Disney Pixar COCO.
Watch Disney Pixar COCO Wednesday, November 22 at your local theater!
- Learn more about Animating Disney Pixar COCO in these articles
- What Makes Disney Pixar Coco so Special? #PixarCocoEvent
- Bringing the Disney Pixar Coco Skeletons to Life through Technology, Crafts, and Jokes
- Bringing Mexican Folk Art to Disney Pixar COCO with Alebrijes
- Coming soon, Wednesday, 11/29 my story sharing the significance of “The Music of COCO”
- Get to know the talent behind Disney Pixar COCO with these Interviews with the cast and producers
- Monday, 11/20 my COCO Gael Garcia Bernal (voice of “Hector”) interview
- Monday, 11/27 my COCO Anthony Gonzalez (voice of “Miguel”) & Alanna Ubach (voice of “Mama Imelda”) interview
- Tuesday, 11/28 my COCO Director Lee Unkrich, Writer & Co-Director Adrian Molina and Producer Darla K. Anderson interview
- Thursday, 11/30 my COCO Edward James Olmos (voice of “Chicharron”) interview
Our #PixarCocoEvent series continues tomorrow with 6 BIG Reasons to Watch Big Hero 6 Baymax Returns on Disney XD #BigHero6. You can get caught up with our #PixarCocoEvent series anytime by clicking on #PixarCocoEvent.
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