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Edward James Olmos’ Family Stories & Life Lessons 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 and it’s coming to an end. I hope you haven’t missed any of it, but if you have you can click on #PixarCocoEvent to get caught up. Today, I’m sharing what I took away from our interview with Edward James Olmos, the voice of “Chicharron”. While Chicharron’s moment in the Disney Pixar COCO movie is brief, it is very significant. It pulls the story together and we really begin to understand why it’s so important to always be remembered. I hope you’ll enjoy my highlights and how Edward left an impression on me.


Group photo with EDWARD JAMES OLMOS from 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 this latest Disney Pixar COCO movie trailer


Family Stories and Life Lessons from Edward James Olmos Disney Pixar Coco’s Chicharron

Edward James Olmos gave us so much to think about it. Talking with him was like sitting down with grandpa and having him share his wisdom with you. He shared family stories and life lessons that not only made a difference to all the Disney bloggers in the room, but I think will make a difference to all of you.


Family Stories and Life Lessons from Edward James Olmos Disney Pixar Coco's Chicharron


Small family moments make for big family memories

Edward shared with us a memory he still has of his own great-grandfather. When Edward was three years old, his great-grandfather, who didn’t understand much English, but eager to answer all of Edward’s questions, started to answer one about a stop sign.

‘He looked at it and then he looked down and me and now we’re here on First and Indiana which is the heart of East L.A., Boyle Heights and he says, whenever you see that, you look for the bird.  You look for a plant.  You look for a flower.  You look for a tree.  You look for grass because, that’s a stop sign.’


Edward explained, “That’s how I learned what a stop sign was. Now, my grandfather wouldn’t have said that. My father would not have said that. They would not have understood that moment in time and what it meant to resonate.  Now, when I see a stop sign and I’m going down the street at seventy, who do I think about?  You don’t.  I do.” To remember that moment… a moment from 60 years ago, speaks to the value little moments can leave on a child.


Edwards confirmed, “You look for life and so I’ve carried that with me and here I am at seventy, telling the story that I received. Those are the stories that when you pass them on, like what it did to you when you heard it for the first time right now.”


Celebrating Day of the Dead with his own family

Edward James Olmos said, “We have celebrated the Day of the Dead since I was born and it’s an integral part of living inside of a Mexican household.” He chuckled when he thought about how the holiday gets confused with Halloween although both are very different.  He continued, “..But we would always go and celebrate the Day of the Dead with my great-grandparents, my great-great grandparents. And we’d always go around where they were all buried at the Evergreen Cemetery in East L.A.”


Disney Pixar Coco movie image

FAMILY REUNION – In Disney•Pixar’s “Coco,” aspiring musician Miguel (voice of Anthony Gonzalez) makes an impulsive choice that sets off a series of events that ultimately lands him in the Land of the Dead where he’s able to interact with his late family members, including Tía Rosita (voice of Selene Luna), Tía Victoria, Papá Julio (voice of Alfonso Arau), and Tío Oscar and Tío Felipe (both voiced by Herbert Siguenza). Disney•Pixar’s “Coco” opens in U.S. theaters on Nov. 22, 2017. ©2017 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.


Edward later elaborated on the celebration of Day of the Dead “It was a party. It was a celebration of life, of living, with bringing, conjuring up the understanding of those that got you there. You’re just saying thank you to them. Thanks for bringing me to this space and here we are around your tomb or your gravesite and we put flowers and little candles and you know, their picture and their food. I bring my dad his menudo. We just sit there and laugh. And cry.  There’s a lot of crying and especially the older you get.  The closer … you are to understanding what life really is and we’re all that close.



Photo credit Silvia Martinez


Edward’s love for his family 

It was clear how much Edwards loves his family from remembering those who have passed on to how he wants to be remembered. Edwards shared, “My father’s gone and I, everyday I think about him.  I don’t just think of him on day of the Dead.  I think about him every single day and it comes in.”


In reflecting on how he wants to be remembered he said that, “they’ve shared enough time with me and that I shared enough time with them and remember the times that we spent together.  I mean, so many different stories, but just to remembered in a way that empowers them  would be nice.”


Edwards later added, “Just be happy around those that you love because that’s, somebody asked me, what you’d like to be remembered for.  I’d like to remember the fact that I always tried to be happy and I was always up because it’s a choice. I could have woke up this morning and said, oh, God almighty, I have to do so much of this stuff.  I gotta do this, oh, God, what a day, but instead, I woke up and I said, well, I got to do all this stuff, yeah, but guess what?  I woke up.”

Disney Pixar Coco movie scene

FAMILY REUNION — In Disney•Pixar’s “Coco,” Miguel (voice of newcomer Anthony Gonzalez) finds himself magically transported to the stunning and colorful Land of the Dead where he meets his late family members, who are determined to help him find his way home. Directed by Lee Unkrich (“Toy Story 3”), co-directed by Adrian Molina (story artist “Monsters University”) and produced by Darla K. Anderson (“Toy Story 3”), Disney•Pixar’s “Coco” opens in U.S. theaters on Nov. 22, 2017. ©2017 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.


Why films like Disney Pixar COCO matter


Everybody has their own way of dealing with their past and where they come from and each culture has their own way of doing it and it’s wonderful when you learn about it. – Edward James Olmos


Edwards explained, “I mean, for us to be at this level right now and be able to sit here and be happy about something that touches every single person no matter where you come from, what your roots are.  All it does it make you think about where you come from and who you are.  Without being able to understand, you know, where you come from, it’s really hard for you to be here.  You’re constantly wondering.  Say you’re an orphan and you don’t know anything about your past. You don’t,  you have no idea.  You’re constantly searching for that reality and trying to find out something to help me nail me down a little bit more, understand myself better.”


He said about someone taking a child to see COCO, “They’ll never forget the people who took them to see it.  Let alone, they’ll never forget who they are, where they come from.” …”Twenty years from today, every Latino family and then many, many other cultures also will have this film in their library …”



Photo credit Silvia Martinez


Edward’s final thoughts on COCO and being remembered

“It’s not about religion.  Far from it. It’s not about belief in heaven and earth and all that. It’s all about just the understanding of what we conjure when we’re here. Not one of you can be here without thinking about who got you here and if you don’t do it daily, you’re missing the day and that’s really the key to just being thankful.”


I am so thankful for the experiences I have had with Disney Pixar COCO. Take time this holiday season to see how Miguel learned to appreciate his family and think about how your family can make this holiday special.


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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