They’ve explored the hidden life of toys, the inside of a brain, and the depths of the ocean; now, Pixar is journeying to the Land of the Dead. The Disney-owned animation studio finally has released some casting and plot details for its next original film, Coco, coming to theaters in November 2017. Inspired by Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), the film will tell the story of a 12-year-old Mexican boy who takes a mystical, musical journey into his family’s past.
As reported by Entertainment Weekly‘s Marc Snetiker, Coco will introduce us to Miguel Rivera (voiced by newcomer Anthony Gonzalez), who dreams of becoming a musician, but his family forbids it. The Riveras’ rule against music goes back to Miguel’s great-great-grandmother Imelda, who was abandoned when Miguel’s great-great-grandfather decided to pursue his musical dreams. Since then, the family believes that music is a curse to them. But Miguel decides to tempt fate and pursue music in secret, inspired by his favorite singer, the late Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt). Somehow, these ambitions accidentally land Miguel in the Land of the Dead, where he searches for de la Cruz with the help of a skeleton guide named Hector (Gael García Bernal). In the process, he meets the souls of his own ancestors, including Imelda herself. But will he find what he’s looking for in time to return to the Land of the Living?
It’s a heck of a plot, but if anybody can make it work, it’s Pixar. Director Lee Unkrich (Toy Story 3) told EW that having an all-Latino cast was a priority — which is one of many things that distinguishes Coco from that other Dia de los Muertos animated film, 2014’s Book of Life (which counted Channing Tatum and Christina Applegate among its stars). “It focused us, and we ended up with a fantastic mix of people — some from Mexico and some from Los Angeles,” said Unkrich. The director also clarified that the film, though it centers around a love of music, will not be a musical in the literal sense.
And the Coco of the title? According to Snetiker’s Twitter, it refers to Miguel’s grandmother, voiced by Renée Victor.
Coco will be the second Pixar film released next year, after Cars 3 (opening June 2017).
Pixar’s ‘Cars 3’: Watch the teaser trailer: