Co-Director of 'Coco', Adrian Molina, Explains What Influenced Him For the Film's Important Early Scene

Posted by on November 24, 2017

First time co-director Adrian Molina explains what influenced him as he helped formulate the story of Pixar's newest film "Coco".

The film tells the story of Miguel, a sweet kid who loves music despite the fact that his abuelita has strictly forbidden it, thanks to a long-ago drama involvingMiguel’s great-great-grandfather, a dashing musician who walked out on the family. That musician, Miguel discovers at the start of the film, is actually his town’s most famous son: deceased film star and music supernova Ernesto de la Cruz. On the eve of Día de Muertos, Miguel breaks into de la Cruz’s mausoleum in order to borrow the famous skull guitar that hangs there so that he can enter a talent competition and convince his family to embrace music again. What follows is a journey into the afterlife that sees Miguel risking almost everything to follow this one simple dream.

Adrian, who is of Mexican descent, started as a Pixar storyboard artist and says his admiration for Disney animators when he was younger was what helped him show a similar admiration Miguel has for his musician ancestor. In an early scene of the film, Miguel carefully studies Ernesto's videos and dreams of becoming a musician like him, much like Adrian would watch, "The Wonderful World of Disney" to studie Disney's animators. 

This scene proved to be a particularly challenging one to Adrian, who wanted to find the best way to convey Miguel's dreams without being too obvious or unimaginative. Adrian says films like "Billy Elliot", which has a powerful scene focusing in on the young boy protagonist's face, helped him decide to show the details of Miguel's expressions in watching his hero to help the audience understand his love for music. In the early scene Miguel scrunches his face when playing notes on the guitar, an attribute that Miguel admits was inspired by his own face as he began playing the guitar for the film. 

"Coco" is now out in theaters and is currently in contention for the Academy Awards. The film is sure to touch audiences with a central story based on family and following your dreams to make them come true. 

Read more at Vanity Fair

Watch our Interview with Adrian Molina