One character who can’t go unnoticed in the new Disney Pixar movie Coco is the forlorn musician Hector. Recently when I spent three days in Los Angeles learning about the making of Coco, I interviewed Gael Garcia Bernal, who does the voice for Hector, at a blogger press event at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Today on Theresa’s Reviews, I’m sharing my interview with him.

Interview With Gael Garcia Bernal (voice of “Hector” in Coco)

As a crossover actor from Mexican film, Gael Garcia Bernal has had numerous roles since 1989. Although originally from Mexico, he is also well known from USA TV series Mozart in the Jungle and the movie Y Tu Mamá También.

Gael Garcia Bernal plays Hector in Disney Pixar's new movie Coco. Photo credit mamalatinatips.com

Gael Garcia Bernal plays Hector in Disney Pixar’s new movie Coco. Photo credit mamalatinatips.com

COCO Gael Garcia Bernal (voice of “Hector”) Interview

During the interview, I learned about his connections to the Mexican traditions that are in the movie Coco and how his background helped him with his role. Regarding his singing, he credited his ability to do the shouts (gritos) to being from Guadalajara. I also enjoyed hearing about his daughter, who he brought to his first meeting with Pixar, and who recorded a song on the soundtrack with him.

The Meaning Of The Day Of The Dead

When asked about the Day of the Dead, he says, “Ultimately this reflection leads you to be a better human being, leads you to build a better society, leads you to build a better future as well to live life in a much more essential way.  That’s what I think this film shows about Mexico. ”

He continues, “The Day of the Dead is a reflection on death. Nobody has the definite answer on what happens after you die, no?  So, it is a reflection on death that we all engage in on a very personal level. We all put our dead people, and we put ourselves there. We put ourselves in as a calaca, little skulls. As a little skull with your name on it, you put yourself on the same level to reflect on death and life.”

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.

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.

Comparison To Halloween

Regarding the difference between Halloween and the Day of the Dead, he says, “We were discussing it with a lot of friends and family. We’ve never seen the Day of the Dead so celebrated in Mexico. Really, there was not a sense of Halloween at all this year. It was all the Day of the Dead because also now in Mexico they’re doing a wonderful Carnival, like a procession, that is really big. ”

Then he continues, “It was great to go walking around the streets and see people painted and the kids painted. It is not the materialistic aspect of Halloween. It is a very deep engagement of a celebration.”

Hector In The Land Of The Dead

NAME THAT TUNE – In Disney•Pixar’s “Coco,” Miguel’s love of music ultimately leads him to the Land of the Dead where he teams up with charming trickster Hector. “Coco” features an original score from Oscar®-winning composer Michael Giacchino, the original song “Remember Me” by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, and additional songs co-written by Germaine Franco and co-director/screenwriter Adrian Molina. Also part of the team is musical consultant Camilo Lara of the music project Mexican Institute of Sound. In theaters on Nov. 22, 2017. © 2017 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

NAME THAT TUNE – In Disney•Pixar’s “Coco,” Miguel’s love of music ultimately leads him to the Land of the Dead where he teams up with charming trickster Hector. “Coco” features an original score from Oscar®-winning composer Michael Giacchino, the original song “Remember Me” by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, and additional songs co-written by Germaine Franco and co-director/screenwriter Adrian Molina. Also part of the team is musical consultant Camilo Lara of the music project Mexican Institute of Sound. In theaters on Nov. 22, 2017. © 2017 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

His Celebration Of The Day Of The Dead With His Family

When asked about his tradition and celebration of the Day of the Dead, Gael Garcia Bernal says, “It’s at school that you start to build the altar, that’s the way I got into the day of the dead.”

Regarding his celebration with his daughter, he says, “It is a very open ceremony. You start building the altar for example, and you put your dead people there. On the altar, we put Beetles photographs, some books that we like, some toys, and a lot of food, Lego pieces.”

He continues, “Kids start to reflect on the celebration when they invite their friends to see the altar and explain it to them.  It is really interesting what they tell them about what goes on. That knowledge, that security that there is no concrete answer on what happens when we die.  So it is a great way to engage in that conversation with kids, as well.”

Theresa's Reviews - Gael Garcia Bernal As Hector In Disney Pixar's Coco

Gael Garcia Bernal As Hector In Disney Pixar’s Coco

Seizing The Moment

Since seizing the moment is a theme in Coco, he says, “I think the notion of seizing the moment has been one of the most damaging aspects of western society. It has made us burn the forests that we have in front of us. It has made us live the now as if there was no tomorrow. As if we’re not engaging with a responsibility that freedom gives us to know that there’s a future and there’s people that will come after.  And it is not a rush, life is more, it’s more a craft.”

He continues, “Little by little, it’s built. Seizing the moment sometimes makes you fall into trap that it is now or never. There are moments that are now or never, but there’s not a rule that you have to follow that path. I think that notion has been very damaging.”

Gael Garcia Bernal says, "I think the notion of seizing the moment has been one of the most damaging aspects of western society. It has made us burn the forests that we have in front of us. It has made us live the now as if there was no tomorrow." Photo credit mamalatinatips.com

Gael Garcia Bernal says, “I think the notion of seizing the moment has been one of the most damaging aspects of western society. It has made us burn the forests that we have in front of us. It has made us live the now as if there was no tomorrow.” Photo credit mamalatinatips.com

Gael Garcia Bernal’s enthusiasm for the role Hector in Coco showed in his interview and in his performance. His ability to relate to the culture helped make the movie more authentic in its representation of Latin culture. One thing that was very clear in the interview was his love for Mexico. This love and passion for his heritage makes his part in telling the story of the Day of the Dead very special. I enjoyed hearing about his tradition of celebrating the Day of The Dead as well as how the ideas in this movie could lead to a better society and future.

Theresa Pickett of Theresa's Reviews was one of 25 bloggers who interviewed Gael Garcia Bernal at the Beverly Hilton Hotel to learn more about the making of Disney Pixar's Coco.

Theresa Pickett of Theresa’s Reviews was one of 25 bloggers who interviewed Gael Garcia Bernal at the Beverly Hilton Hotel to learn more about the making of Disney Pixar’s Coco.

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.

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

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