Fun Facts From the Cast of Disney*Pixar’s Coco!

Fun Facts From the Cast of Disney*Pixar’s Coco!

By Erin

*We were invited by Disney to attend this press conference for purposes of this post. All thoughts and opinions remain my own!*

Thanksgiving is just about here. It’s the perfect time for families everywhere to come together and celebrate everything there is to be thankful for. Pixar’s new movie Coco, couldn’t be coming out at a better time than at Thanksgiving as Coco showcases the importance of family, honoring your ancestors and following your dreams. Opening in theaters everywhere on Wednesday, November 22nd.

Coco is about a 12-year-old boy named Miguel with big dreams and a hardworking family with great traditions and a lot of love. What’s so cool is that this could be any family that lives next door. The sweet, bossy grandmother who insists on one more bite might be your grandma (she sure reminds me a lot of my own grandmother). There’s something familiar to us all in this story. The universal theme of family is what makes it so special, with relationships that are beautiful and complicated, but our family shapes who we are. Pixar Animation Studios’ 19th feature film introduces Miguel, an aspiring singer and self- taught guitarist who dreams of following in the footsteps of his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz, the most famous musician in the history of Mexico. But Miguel’s family forbids music.

The other week we were delighted to meet the cast at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA. The talent in attendance were:
  • Benjamin Bratt (voice of “Ernesto de la Cruz”)
  • Gael Garcia Bernal (voice of “Hector”)
  • Anthony Gonzalez (voice of “Miguel”)
  • Edward James Olmos (voice of “Chicharron”)
  • Alanna Ubach (voice of “Mama Imelda”)
  • Director Lee Unkrich
  • Co-Director Adrian Molina
  • Producer Darla K. Anderson

Darla K. Anderson; Adrian Molina; Anthony Gonzalez; Gael Garcia Bernal; Benjamin Bratt; Edward James Olmos; Alanna Ubach; Lee Unkrich. Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney.

Right before the conference started, we were in for a very special treat: a performance by Mariachi Divas and some dancers.

Mariachi Divas perform at the Global Press Conference for Disney-Pixar’s “Coco.” Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney

Look how beautiful those dresses are. They put on a beautiful performance for all of us to enjoy.

Dancers perform at the Global Press Conference for Disney-Pixar’s “Coco” Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney.

During the press conference, here were some of the fun and interesting facts we all learned.

Lee Unkrich- “Darla, and Adrian, and I all worked on Toy Story III together. When we finished that film, I started to think about what was next, and I had a few different ideas that I was kicking around. One of them was the idea of telling a story set against Dia de los Muertos. I had always been interested in the tradition, and I spent some time doing some research, and really trying to understand more than I already knew. The more that I dug in, the more that I learned about how central family is to this celebration, and that Dia de los Muertos is all about this obligation that we all have to remember our loved ones, and to pass their stories along. I just really started to see the potential to tell a unique story, to tell a story that could only be told in animation, that could be visually dazzling, but also had the potential to have a real emotional core to it. That was really kind of the beginning of this journey. We immediately headed down to Mexico and started – went on the first of what proved to be many lengthy research trips, to spend time learning about the traditions, learning about the culture, and spending a lot of time with many beautiful families down in Mexico.” 

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Olaf’s Frozen Adventure Featurette

Olaf’s Frozen Adventure Featurette

By Erin

* I attended the Olaf’s Frozen Adventure Featurette Press Day for this post*

You are in for a special treat this holiday season when you go to theaters to see Coco! Before the feature film, we head back to Arendelle, unwrapping “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure,” an all-new 21-minute featurette. With four new original songs, the featurette welcomes back to the big screen the characters that audiences fell in love with in 2013’s Oscar®- winning feature “Frozen.” The original cast and characters are back, including Olaf (voice of Josh Gad), who is on a mission to harness the best holiday traditions for Anna (voice of Kristen Bell), Elsa (voice of Idina Menzel) and Kristoff (voice of Jonathan Groff). Directed by Emmy®-winning filmmakers Kevin Deters and Stevie Wermers-Skelton (“Prep & Landing”), produced by Oscar® winner Roy Conli (“Big Hero 6”), with original songs by Elyssa Samsel and Kate Anderson (“Between the Lines”), “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure” will be in theaters for a limited time beginning November 22.

“The cool thing about the ‘Frozen’ universe is that it’s all about family,” says producer Roy Conli. “We all rallied around the themes of family and holiday traditions—and the fact that our families are made up of more than just our relatives. The idea of welcoming our friends and loved ones into our inner circles really resonated with all of us.” Directed by Stevie Wermers-Skelton and Kevin Deters, the team behind the Emmy®-winning television special “Prep & Landing,” the featurette kicks off about six months after the feature concludes. “Olaf is still brand new to the world,” says Wermers-Skelton. “And Anna and Elsa only recently reunited after being separated for most of their lives. We wondered how they might approach their first holiday together.”

We all have our own family traditions during the holidays, so the theme is really relatable, but Anna and Elsa have never had the chance to create any traditions of their own. This casts a shadow on what they thought would be a huge holiday celebration. Olaf teams up with Sven on a merry mission to comb the kingdom to bring home the best traditions to save this first Christmas for his friends. Traditions are personal though, what one family treasures might seem completely bizarre to another. Olaf being Olaf though just grabs everything he can find. He’ll do anything for his friends to give them all the traditions that he can. It is a very heart-felt story that you won’t want to miss! Perfect to get you in the holiday spirit and ready to see Coco!

A few weeks ago I attended the press day with screening and reception at the Walt Disney Animation Studios for Olaf’s Frozen Adventure where we were able to interview Josh Gad, Directors Stevie Wermers-Skelton & Kevin Deters, and Producer Roy Conli. It was a very heart-warming interview and would have melted your heart.

OLAF’S FROZEN ADVENTURE – Producer Roy Conli, actor Josh Gad and directors Stevie Wermers-Skelton & Kevin Deters answers questions after a screening of “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure” at the newly remodeled Walt Disney Studios Animation building on Tuesday, October 24, 2017 in Burbank, CA. Photo by Marc Flores. ©2017 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

Kate Anderson and Elyssa Samsel surprised us all with a special musical performance of one of the new songs, “That’s right.” It was a very magical moment to hear them sing it live for us.

So much magic in one room that we were all trying to capture. Can you spot me? lol I am the one in the gray Mickey Mouse shirt in the bottom left.

OLAF’S FROZEN ADVENTURE – Songwriters Elyssa Samsel & Kate Anderson perform for pess and their guests at the press day for “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure” at the newly remodeled Walt Disney Studios Animation building on Tuesday, October 24, 2017 in Burbank, CA. Photo by Marc Flores. ©2017 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

There were also tons of magical Frozen treats on hand such as these Olaf Rice Krispies treats!

OLAF’S FROZEN ADVENTURE – Press and their guests take part in activites at the press day for “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure” at the newly remodeled Walt Disney Studios Animation building on Tuesday, October 24, 2017 in Burbank, CA. Photo by Marc Flores. ©2017 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

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Cars 3 Review

Cars 3 Review

By Devon Biroczky

“Focus. Speed. I am speed. One winner, forty-two losers.”

Cars 3 comes out to theaters today, June 16th, and if you haven’t bought your tickets yet, you need to. This movie is the third installment in the Cars series, focused especially around a steadfast racecar named Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson). Throughout the series, we’ve seen Lightning grow and associate with his friends down in Radiator Springs; now, in this third movie, we meet several more new characters.

The storyline of the movie begins in a celebrated montage of Lightning winning between first and second place repeatedly alongside his friends Bobby Swift and Cal Weathers. During one particular race, a new, never-before-seen car whizzes past them, taking first place without even blinking. This new high-tech car is introduced to us as condescending Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer), who is part of the next generation of racers. Lightning quickly learns that with this new generation of racers, he is slowly having a harder and harder time keeping up, let alone winning races against Storm, and the growing number of new-gen rookies joining the competitions.

Fast forward through a few months, more losses on the racetrack, and an accident that left him less motivated than ever. Lightning has now regained his ambition through the help and pep talks from his friends in Radiator Springs. Now, we’re also introduced to his new sponsor and superfan, Sterling (Nathan Fillion), along with his new trainer with racing dreams of her own, Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo).

Cars 3 is definitely my favorite out of the series, especially seeing it go back to the roots of what really set this series apart, but delving into a deeper, more Pixar-like meaning to the story. We watch as Lightning struggles to learn the new, high-tech ways of preparing for a race, and understanding just why it’s not necessarily for him. Instead, he goes back to some of the racers of the generations to learn their secrets of the trade. While he’s learning and trying out all of these techniques for himself, he’s also getting to know Cruz more as she’s learning all of this herself. Cruz ends up revealing to Lightning that her dream is to be a racer, and she looked up to Lightning as she was growing up.

Not to mention, the Fabulous Doc Hudson is often referenced to throughout the movie, being Lightning’s biggest mentor for his entire racing career. Even though Doc is gone, Lightning meets other racers from the generations of racing before him, including Smokey, who was once Doc’s trainer. Lightning talks to him about what’s going on and Smokey agrees to help. Side by side, Lightning and Cruz both learn ways of practicing for a race, including driving within a herd of “cow-cars.” They both struggle at first, but with some practice and learning to work together, they both end up more ready than ever. That’s one of the most important themes within this movie, is that by working together, you can succeed more than you’d ever dreamed.

The movie is animated as beautifully as always – bright, awe-inspiring colors, relatable plotlines, and a fitting soundtrack that gets you in the mood for wherever the movie is about to take you. Cars 3 is a wonderful movie that will have people of all ages intrigued, so even if you don’t have children, this is definitely another one of the many amazing Pixar movies you will want to see.

In addition to all that, there is also a short film placed at the beginning of the movie called Lou. This is easily one of my favorite Pixar shorts that have been released thus far. Lou explains the story of a young bully named J.J. on a school playground who likes to take toys away from the other kids on the playground. While he has been taking toys, the lost and found box has been gradually filling up. Slowly, all of the items in the box have begun producing a creature named Lou, built up of items such as a jacket for a body, baseballs as eyes, among other odd items. Lou’s goal is to persuade J.J. to return every lost and stolen item in return for something J.J. wants as well. The short film is absolutely adorable and especially relatable when you think of how prominent bullying is in today’s times; it’s definitely a must-see, and I’m looking forward to owning it one day.

Again, Cars 3 along with Lou both release in theaters today, June 16th and it’s a wonderful way to go spend some time this Father’s Day weekend! Watch the trailer below and have a wonderful weekend!

CARS 3 is OUT in Theaters NOW! 🙂