Disney invited me on an all-expense paid trip for the premiere of Coco. All opinions shared are 100% my own.
Time to meet Disney-Pixar Coco Mama Imelda and Miguel. Miguel is voiced by 13-year-old Anthony Gonzalez. The matriarch Mama Imelda is Alanna Ubach. During our Interview with Alanna Ubach and Anthony Gonzalez about their roles in Coco, their excitement is high and contagious. Anthony captures your heart with his passion and eagerness to share his experience. Alanna’s expressive eyes and storytelling will have you wanting to hear more! We laughed together. Before long, they both sang to us, shared about family, tradition, and music among other things. Here is our complete interview:
Mama Imelda and Miguel
Both characters have strong feelings about and for their family. They both also experience a unique journey of self-discovery in the Disney-Pixar movie Coco. Miguel, an aspiring singer and self-taught guitarist who dreams of following in the footsteps of his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz, But Miguel’s family forbids music. While Hector, played by Gael Garcia, guides Miguel in the land of the dead, it is Mama Imelda who has guided Miguel and his family in their shoemaking tradition and “no-music” lives. Miguel reconciles it all as he tries to seize his moment. Read about Coco and why you will love this movie here.
Exclusive Interview with Anthony Gonzales and Alanna Ubach
With all the Coco dolls and toys available around us, the actors could help but remark on them. Anthony declared he had them all and Alanna was all over the toys. When she found a doll of Mama Imelda she just had to have a photo of it! Since very young Anthony has been watching Disney-Pixar movies and it is a dream come true to be a part of Coco which is his first major role. Both celebrate the day of the dead at home. Gonzalez says he started when his grandfather, a major person in his life, passed away. Both added to the passion and love that was put into making Coco. I must point out here, and stand up to salute, Alanna who is happy to talk all things family and Coco now while at the same time she is immersed in (sometimes complex and trying world of) breastfeeding. Way to go cool mom!
Anthony Gonzalez on voicing Miguel
The first time Anthony saw the drawing of Miguel, he couldn’t help his surprise to discover they look alike. If he had the chance of doing any other Coco character, he jokes it would have to be Dante because he is so funny! Anthony says he loves seizing his moment. His biggest moment so far is Coco. He has had too much fun being Miguel and singing for Miguel. Singing is one of his passions. Anthony sure has some amazing pipes on him. You will hear him sing “Un Poco Loco” in the movie. Take a listen to him singing “Remember Me”
What would Anthony say to other children that want to act? “Thankfully, I had the support of all of my parents and my siblings, so it was very easy to me, to do what I love. So 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”.
Alanna Ubach on voicing Mama Imelda
She loves singing to her son. She breaks out singing a tune about a donkey that is enticed to get his corn. A song her mother sang to her, that is very important to her because, without fail, it puts her son to sleep, awwwww:
As a mother Alanna thinks that Coco is important because:” I think it 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”.
She would love her son to remember her as the one that sung him funny silly songs and loved him with all her soul
Inspiration for Mama Imelda
Alanna Ubach tells us:“This is based on my Tia (aunt) 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 (exclaims loudly), “Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad!!” 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. To me, she was very sing-song-y, and she spoke the way she spoke Spanish when she spoke English, and so I thought, ah, I’m going to make this character”.
The Coco Takeaway
What do these actors hope stays with us after we enjoy Coco on the big screen?
Anthony:”What I hope that the audience gets from watching this wonderful movie is,that if they have, a secret passion they have, to share it with the world, and do what they want, to do in life, and do what they love, and to really, really know about the wonderful culture, Mexican culture, and the wonderful celebration of the Day of the Dead. And maybe, who knows, maybe they will start celebrating because it’s a universal celebration”.
Alanna:“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”.
Coco is NOW playing in theaters Everywhere
And we know you will fall in love with the beautiful story of family and seizing your moment. Surely someone on Santa’s list will too, so take a look at our Disney-Pixar Coco Gift Guide!