Recently, I spent three days in Los Angeles learning how Disney Pixar’s newest movie Coco was made.  One of the most inspiring experiences was interviewing the actors. We met at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills. For the press junket, Benjamin Bratt (the voice of Ernesto de la Cruz) came in wearing a long sleeve black tee shirt and jeans. Understandably, he was still walking with his coffee when he paused to be in a photo with us. We had all been up late the night before at the Hollywood premiere at El Capitan Theatre.

Disney Pixar Coco Benjamin Bratt Interview

I enjoyed listening to him share his thoughts on kindness and empathy. It was nice to see a Hollywood actor with such a desire to make an impact on the world. His thoughts on life are both endearing and uplifting. Check out the interview with him, and ten fun facts about him below.

Disney Pixar’s COCO Benjamin Bratt Interview (voice of “Ernesto de la Cruz”) Photo credit mamalatinatips.com

 

On Being In A Film With Latino Roots

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When asked about being in the movie Coco, Benjamin Bratt says, “At the end of the day, for all the uniqueness that we have, and there’s a lot that’s vibrant and authentic and beautiful about Latino culture, we all at the end of the day are more alike than we are different and this need or sense of wanting to belong to something, to recognize where you come from, to stay connected to the people that paved a path for you before you got here.”

On The Biggest Lesson He Would Like To Pass On To His Children

Regarding the biggest lesson he would like to pass on to his children, he says, “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.”

His Thoughts On Watching Coco

He says, “I think I was most struck by the beauty of the artistry.  It’s such a beautiful film to look at.  And then when you add like 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.”

UNLIKELY DUET -- In Disney•Pixar’s “Coco,” aspiring musician Miguel (voice of Anthony Gonzalez) teams up with charming trickster Hector (voice of Gael García Bernal) on a life-changing journey through the Land of the Dead. Directed by Lee Unkrich, co-directed by Adrian Molina and produced by Darla K. Anderson, Disney•Pixar’s “Coco” opens in U.S. theaters on Nov. 22, 2017. ©2017 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Benjamin Bratt says, “I think I was most struck by the beauty of the artistry.  It’s such a beautiful film to look at.  And then when you add like 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.”Disney•Pixar’s “Coco” opens in U.S. theaters on Nov. 22, 2017. ©2017 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

On Coco Being A Darker Film

He says, “There’s always this dark element, which probably comes from fables that were designed and written to warn children of the dangers that lurk in darker places.  So, we’re still working in those themes but what I’m most excited about with Coco is it’s finally an opportunity on a global scale to illuminate the beauty of the Latino culture.”

On The Power That This Movie Has

Regarding the power of the movie Coco, he explains, “Film stories really can do a lot to teach young people, whether you want them to or not.  And in that, this story views death as a kind of celebration, as a continuation really of what we are and who we are.  And 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.”

Benjamin Bratt says,"Film stories really can do a lot to teach young people, whether you want them to or not.  And in that, this story views death as a kind of celebration, as a continuation really of what we are and who we are.  And 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." © 2017 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Benjamin Bratt says,”Film stories really can do a lot to teach young people, whether you want them to or not.  And in that, this story views death as a kind of celebration, as a continuation really of what we are and who we are.  And 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.” © 2017 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

On What He Hopes To Be Remembered For

He says, “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.”

Disney Pixar’s COCO Benjamin Bratt Interview (voice of “Ernesto de la Cruz”) Photo credit mamalatinatips.com

 10 Fun Facts About Benjamin Bratt

  1. He always wanted to be a singer and admires singers, but thought it was ironic that in Disney Pixar’s Coco, he plays the most famous singer and musician in Mexican history.
  2. For the singing role Ernesto de la Cruz in Coco, he studied with Liz Kaplan, who is the instructor and mentor to the stars in New York.
  3. He recorded every song that’s in the movie for his character (and he’s proud of it!).
  4. He called the USA premiere of Coco “the most spectacular, most heartwarming, most fun premiere” he’s ever been to.
  5. Until the USA premiere at El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, he had not seen the completed film.
  6. One of his favorite and most emotional moments in the movie is the scene with Edward J. Olmos, who plays the Chicharron. He said that this scene really “spells out what it is to finally die, the final death.”
  7. Another favorite scene was when Gael Garcia Bernal sings a very moving and emotional song.
  8. Family comes first! He says his most important thing in his life right now is his relationship with his wife and two children, his daughter Sophia and his son Matteo.
  9. His mother came from Peru.
  10. Although he did not grow up celebrating the Day of the Dead, he did recognize some of his family traditions in the movie. For example, he grew up with food as a celebration and putting family first. He also mentioned the threat of the chancleta – the slipper of a grandmother (abuela) – that threat would make sure you were following the family rules, much like the wooden spoon of a grandmother in an Italian household.
Theresa's Reviews - Benjamin Bratt as Ernesto de la Cruz in Disney Pixar's Coco

Benjamin Bratt as Ernesto de la Cruz in Disney Pixar’s Coco

Thoughts On The Interview

One of the best parts about interviewing Benjamin Bratt was learning about the universal themes that Coco has. I enjoyed hearing him explain that the movie is both an excellent way to teach about Latino culture and to show how similar all people are. Our interview helped me realize that the success of Coco is not just in its visual artistry, but also in its heartwarming message and its ability to make a positive change in the world.

After the interview, I was excited to see him share our group photo on his Instagram and Facebook.

Disney Pixar’s COCO Benjamin Bratt Interview (voice of “Ernesto de la Cruz”) Photo credit mamalatinatips.com

Pixar Coco Trailer & About The Movie

Despite his family’s baffling generations-old ban on music, Miguel (voice of 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 Héctor (voice of Gael García Bernal), and together, they set off on an extraordinary journey to unlock the real story behind Miguel’s family history.

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. For more information, check out http://movies.disney.com/coco, Hashtag: #PixarCoco, Pixar Coco Facebook, Pixar Coco Twitter and Pixar Coco Instagram.

For more Disney tips and movie reviews, follow Theresa’s Reviews on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Youtube.

You also might like 5 Must Try Tips For The Ultimate Kid-Friendly Oscar Party and Disney Pixar’s COCO Activity Sheets.

Disclosure: I received a free trip to Los Angeles to cover the event, but it in no way influenced my opinion.

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