With Disney/Pixar’s Coco now available on home video, we had the opportunity to talk to lead actor Anthony Gonzalez about voicing Miguel in the award-winning picture. The animated musical adventure is up for two Oscars at this weekend’s Academy Awards show–Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song) and Best Animated Feature Film–so while Gonzalez and his friends and family will certainly be watching to see if Coco brings home some more hardware, the up-and-coming talent was earnestly thrilled and thankful to be involved in the picture at all.
I had a chance to chat with Gonzalez over the phone about his experience recording both a voice-acting performance and musical performances for Miguel, and just what the opportunity to star in Coco meant to him and his family. Gonzalez is an incredibly talented musician in his own right–he already plays the viola, violin, piano, and guitar, in addition to his singing–but he’ll be looking to expand his talents with more acting in the future. Keep an eye out since you never know where you might spot him next! But for now, read along to find out about just what his experience on Coco was really like.
Easy question to start with: What’s your favorite Pixar movie?
Anthony Gonzalez: I really love Toy Story a lot. It’s what I grew up with. I have the Woody toy where you pull it and he says something, and I have Buzz Lightyear blanket with my name on it. I grew up on Toy Story. I really grew up watching all of the Disney/Pixar movies. I love Incredibles as well. Cars. I just love all their movies. It’s an honor for me to be part of a Disney/Pixar movie because I grew up watching these movies and I never thought I’d be in one at this age.
Do you remember what the first movie you saw in theaters was?
Gonzalez: Actually, I didn’t really go to theaters that much because I have a big family, so we would just buy them on Blu-ray or watch them online. The first movie I went to watch in theaters was actually Inside Out. It just happens to be a Disney/Pixar movie, the first time I went to theaters, so that was so cool.
Did you and your family go see Coco in the theater?
Gonzalez: Oh yes! We went so many times to watch Coco together. A lot of times. I’ve watched it nine times and I cry every single time, I love it so much.
How did the opportunity to star in Coco come about?
Gonzalez: I auditioned for Coco when I was nine years old, and I had no idea I was auditioning for a Disney/Pixar movie. When I was 10, they told me that it was going to be a Disney/Pixar movie and I was just mind-blown, I was so shocked and thankful that I was going to Pixar. There, it’s just amazing, it’s paradise there, it’s so cool.
I’m so happy to have been the role of Miguel because I was actually doing scratch voice—which is like the temporary voice for Miguel—and I was going twice to three times a month to record the scratch voice. Finally, when I was 11 years old around Christmas, after I finished my session, the director Lee Unkrich told me that they had a Christmas present for me. The producer, Darla Anderson, came over with a Christmas card. I opened it and there was this big, wonderful piece of artwork that said, “You got the part!” And I was just like, “What? I can’t believe this just happened!” I was so thankful. I just couldn’t believe I was going to be part of a Disney/Pixar movie. I knew that from there on out, my life would change.
What was your friends’ and family’s reaction when you learned you had gotten the part?
Gonzalez: They were so happy and supportive and they couldn’t believe I was in a Disney/Pixar movie. They were living the dream with me. They were always there for me.
Did you get a chance to spend time with your fellow cast members?
Gonzalez: I actually didn’t know the cast members until the premiere. The only ones I knew before the premiere were Benjamin Bratt because I had the honor to sit with him at D23, which was amazing. And I had met Renee Victor for an Oscar Mayer commercial we had done back before Coco. That was fun.