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The Joyful & Exuberant Anthony Gonzalez & Alanna Ubach from Disney Pixar Coco #PixarCocoEvent

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.


I have been sharing my experiences of visiting San Francisco and Los Angeles for the #PixarCocoEvent over the last few months. They are experiences that have left such an impression on me and opened my eyes to the beauty of the Mexican culture and traditions. It’s been fascinating to interview the story writers, directors, animators, and actors behind the film and learn about their inspirations for getting involved with COCO and how being involved has affected them. One of my favorite memories comes from my interview with Anthony Gonzalez, the voice of Miguel and Alanna Ubach, the voice of Mamá Imelda in COCO.


Anthony-Alanna-Group Disney Pixar COCO


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.


“COCO” was released in U.S. theaters on November 22, 2017 and is now playing in theaters.


Take a look at Anthony Gonzalez as Miguel and Alanna Ubach as Mamá Imelda in this Disney Pixar COCO movie trailer



The Joyful & Exuberant Anthony Gonzalez & Alanna Ubach from Disney Pixar Coco #PixarCocoEvent

The Joyful & Exuberant Anthony Gonzalez & Alanna Ubach from Disney Pixar Coco

We see Anthony Gonzalez as Miguel in COCO. He is a joyful, enthusiastic young child who only wishes to pursue his passion for playing the guitar. When we meet Alanna Ubach, the voice of Mamá Imelda, we can see right away that she has a feisty spirit. She is very vocal about her love for her family and her desire to protect them. Our moments with Anthony Gonzalez and Alanna Ubach showed us that those personality traits that make them stand out on the big screen carry over into their individual personalities. Both of them were so joyful and enthusiastic during our interview. Their spirit was contagious. They sang to us. They shared stories with us and we just couldn’t help but smile, laugh, and be touched by how incredible these two COCO actors are. Take a look as I share what they shared with us.


Anthony and Alanna from Disney Pixar CoCo

Photo Credit Silvia Martinez


We started our interview by talking about how amazing the previous night’s Red Carpet Premiere of Disney Pixar COCO was. Anthony, who brought his whole family said, “Oh, it was just amazing.  And it shows all of the work that all these people have been putting, and, yeah.  I just love it, and I can’t wait for everyone else to see it.”


10 Things I learned about Anthony Gonzalez

  1. If he could have played any other character, he would have chosen Dante. Anthony thinks Dante is funny and he loves Dante’s tongue.
  2. He was surprised how much the animated Miguel looked just like him.
  3. Anthony says he is definitely a ‘seize your moment’ kind of teenager.
  4. He has done singing in other movies and commercials.
  5. Anthony’s advice for other kids interested in acting, “…what I tell all the people who really just have a hobby, or just what they love to do. Like, I love singing, and I love to act. So what I really did is just never give up, and really do my best, and do what I love, and no one can stop me.”
  6. Before realizing he wanted to act, he was discovered on a television show where he would read books in Spanish with his siblings and other kids.
  7. Anthony Gonzalez has had the same agent since he was four years old. He is now 13 years old.
  8. He has been celebrating Day of the Dead, since his grandfather passed away, when Anthony was 6 years old.
  9. Anthony wants to grow up to be silly and funny like his grandfather.
  10. He says he’s similar to Miguel in that they both care a lot about their families, celebrate Day of the Dead, and love music.


Anthony Gonzalez as Miguel in Disney Pixar COCO

Photo Credit Silvia Martinez


I also asked Anthony about balancing school work with acting with social time with his friends. I know my home-schooling readers are going to be thrilled with his response. Anthony responded, while sharing more of his enthusiastic spirit, to my question, “One of my big dreams was to be homeschooled, and I finally got to be homeschooled.  Yes, yes, yeah.  And I love it, because I get to act more, and I get to sing more, and that’s why I wanted to be homeschooled, because I’d get to pursue my dream more.”


Then between learning about Anthony Gonzalez and Alanna Ubach, they both took some time to sing to us…. This was a WOW moment for all of us in the room. I am so fortunate to have recorded it to share with you.


Watch Anthony Gonzalez and Alanna Ubach, from Coco sing for us!

While we recognize or you WILL recognize “Remember Me” that Anthony is singing, we weren’t familiar with the song Alanna sang. “This is really fun. I like to sing it to my son before he goes to sleep, and I have a 12-week old at home. It puts him to sleep all the time. Like, without fail. So, very important song,” Alanna said before singing. Then she explained how she was introduced to the song, “My mother used to sing it to me. Mi mama es de Sinaloa Mi papa de Puerto Rico (my mom is from Sinaloa {Mexico} my dad is from Puerto Rico). And, both of them, actually, knew that song. And it’s about trying to coax a burrito, a little donkey, to get up the hill. It’s like, “Come on little donkey, get up the hill, so you can have your corn.” That’s what it’s about. It’s ridiculous.” [You can see why we might have been laughing when we understood what the song meant.]


As a new mom, Alanna Ubach had so many touching quotes and special thoughts to share with us about Disney Pixar COCO and motherhood.

“I think COCO just paints such an exquisite picture of the afterlife, and when my son is old enough to see this film, he’ll be able to say, “Mama, if this is what the afterlife is like, I’m not afraid of death.”  It’s just as beautiful as birth.” Alanna on why the movie is important to parents.


“Oh.  How would I like him to remember me?  That I sang him funny, silly little songs, and that I loved him with my very soul. He breaks my heart every single day. He gets a hammer to my heart and pounds on it, and then hands it back to me, and then it takes me 23 hours to put it back together all over again, and then the following day he does the same thing.  He’s my life.  He really is my life.  And I hope he remembers me as someone who — that he was my life.” Alanna on motherhood and being remembered.


Alanna Ubach as Mamá Imelda in Disney Pixar COCO

Photo Credit Silvia Martinez


“He’s just everything to me.  I never thought in a million years, that I would have such a love for this little potted plant, who is my life right now.  But he’s just starting to engage and laugh.  And in the middle of the night — he has a bit of a cold — so, I keep — I was telling my publicist, it’s like, sleeping next to a broken Volkswagen right now.  So I turned over and he’s like this (she immitated the sound for us) And who else do you get up at five o’clock in the morning and say, I’m going to take a hot, steaming shower with this little, potted plant?  And my husband rolls over, and he’s like, “What are you doing, you’re taking a shower right now?   Isn’t your call time 10:30?”  And I say, “No, I have to get him better.”  So, sure enough, we took a hot, steamy shower together, my little boy and I.  And in the morning, everything was cleared out, so I highly recommend a hot, steamy shower for a little three-month old with a cold.” Alanna on the sacrifices we make for our kids.


Alanna on seeing the movie with her husband and mother. “It was so surreal.  I was sitting in between my mother, who is 78 years old and my husband.  And we just had a little boy.  So, between the two of them I — you know.  It’s too bad that I didn’t bring Kleenex, because I would have been like this.  [Alanna shows how she would have been constantly giving them both tissues.]  But he was just floored, he was just floored, and he didn’t really know that I could sing like that. I mean, you know, he’ll hear me in the shower, …but this was really important.  My mother used to tell me about this story of llorona. So, it was a big surprise for her to hear this song that I sang, because it’s about that woman, and it is about that character that she used to talk about when I was a little girl.”


Alanna Ubach as Mamá Imelda in this Disney Pixar COCO


Alanna’s inspiration for playing Mamá Imelda. “This is based on my tia Flora. When I was a little girl, I remember her inflections.  She was very grand.  She was a very ornate character, and such an important figure growing up when I was a little girl. I remembered, it being eight o’clock in the morning, she had a full face of makeup on constantly, and she always wore her high heels.  And at Christmas time,  when she entered the room, she was, “Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad!!” I mean, I was so put off by her as a little girl, because she was just too much, but now as a woman in my early forties, I can look at this woman with such respect.  She had such passion.  She was the DNA of my family, and she was very passionate and had this stoicism that was so admirable when I was a kid growing up.  I never forgot her inflections.  She was very sing-songy, and she spoke the way she spoke Spanish when she spoke English, and so I thought, ah, I’m going to make this character.  I’m going to base her on – after my tia Flora.”


“It was so important for Pixar to make this movie, because, to me, it really does respect the one important quality that Latin and Latin Americans have, and that is the importance of family.  That it can never be broken.  No borders or presidents or politics can ever break the bond of familia, and I think that’s something that people will walk away with.” Alanna on the importance of Disney Pixar Coco.


I hope you will take the time this holiday season to see how Anthony Gonzalez and Alanna Ubach brought their joyfulness to the Disney Pixar Coco movie.


Disney Pixar Coco movie posterWatch Disney Pixar COCO now playing at your local theater!


Our #PixarCocoEvent series continues tomorrow with my COCO Director Lee Unkrich, Writer & Co-Director Adrian Molina and Producer Darla K. Anderson interview. You can get caught up with our #PixarCocoEvent series anytime by clicking on #PixarCocoEvent.


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