Benjamin Bratt has had an extensively diverse acting career. He became widely known after his portrayal of NYPD Detective Rey Curtis on Law & Order. In recent years, however, he’s leant his voice to several critically acclaimed animated films like Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and its sequel and Despicable Me 2. Anthony Gonzalez is a relative newcomer to the acting world, having taken on minor roles in The Bridge and Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders. Now he will be taking on his first major part. Bratt and Gonzalez will lend their voices to characters Ernesto de la Cruz and Miguel Rivera in Disney-Pixar’s Coco.
Screen Rant got a chance to talk with Benjamin Bratt and Anthony Gonzalez on press day, where we discussed the lessons taken from Coco, how exciting it is to be a part of a Pixar film that celebrates Mexican culture, and how Coco. touches upon the dangers of fame.
SR: Guys, amazing job! Pixar-Disney did it again by making me cry.
Benjamin Bratt: They're good at that.
SR: Yeah, right? I'm sure you're going to get this question a lot. How exciting is to be a part of a Pixar film that touches on the Mexican culture?
Benjamin Bratt: I think the thing we're most thrilled about. I mean, you come to a Pixar project when you're invited, as a fan anyway, I have two kids and I've seen all of their movies and there's no denying they're master storyteller. That there are, at this moment, in this age, shining a light, a real rather bright light, on the beauty of the Mexican culture. It's not only relief man. it's just, I don't know, I think it's a game changer, because what it will do is with all the power they have in their storytelling is reintroducing in a way this beautiful culture to a global community, and it will not only underscore that beauty but also share the connective tissue really that at the end of the day we're all human beings. We all kind of traffic in the same wishes and desires. And it's all relatable, so I'm really excited about that part of it.
SR: Anthony, I'm sure you grew up watching this so what about you?
Anthony Gonzalez: Oh yes! The day I found out I was going to be in this movie, I just couldn't believe it because I would just watch the movie since I was very little and just to be in one at the age of thirteen is my blood and then amazing. And especially that..
Benjamin Bratt: Dude, you're not just in it, you're the heart and soul!
SR: Yeah, you are!
Benjamin Bratt: He carries it. He carries it!
Anthony Gonzalez: Thank you. And especially to be in a movie that features this wonderful celebration. The Day of the Dead, is just amazing because I celebrated it since I was six years old, and now I just know more about it. Now it makes me want to celebrate it even more.
SR: You know, Miguel's music is his passion, and passion carries on throughout the film. Anthony, how do you hope to inspire people to live out their dreams and their passions?
Anthony Gonzalez: Oh, that's a wonderful question, because I think Miguel does that. He's very persevering and he doesn't give up and even though his family tells him no music, and he really fight for what he wants and if he says he's going to be a musician, he never gives up and he's going to a musician. And I think he's a big role model for the children because, like, if they have a passion that they want to do, and they should share it to the world. Because if that's really what they want to do, and they love it then they should pursue it.
SR: Absolutely! Now Benjamin, how's it feel to play the most famous man in Mexico, and how do you feel the audiences, what your audience is going to take away from the downside of fame and perseverance and stuff like that?
Benjamin Bratt: Well yeah. It was it was pretty, pretty trippy thing to step into the shoes of a skeleton that's got that much swagger. He's the Mexican Frank Sinatra. He's that adored for his musical prowess as he has for his star turns and Mexican cinema. So there were really big shoes to fill. A larger than life persona. A lot of fun. And as the as the idol of the lead fo the film Miguel, you know, that interaction was a lot of fun to do. You know, true to Pixar form, there are some dramatic turns that take place in the film without giving too much up, that make it that much more challenging. But, you know, what a great opportunity, man.
SR: Right? Now, has ever been a time where your family may not have approved of your artistic dreams and how did you seize your moment?
Benjamin Bratt: Actually, no. You know, I was very fortunate to from a very early age to be supported by both my mother and my father, It was actually my father's encouraging that prompted me to want to be an actor. My grandfather on my father's side, George Pratt, was a professional actor on Broadway back in the twenty's so I was told that it's part of my D.N.A. And so, you know, with that belief, and it's very similar to what Miguel goes through. He's told that he comes from a family of musicians even though it's now banned in his household. It just reinforces what he already knows about himself is that he has a passion for it to stick expression and whether his family wants him to do it or not, he has to live it out. I can relate to that. I left home at a very early age to pursue that dream in a similar way achieved it, but also like Miguel, as I got older I realized I don't have to abandon who I am, or where I come from, or what makes me who I am, but just this path that was set by my ancestors that actually makes me a stronger, better person, I think Miguel discovers for himself.
- Coco (2017) release date: Nov 22, 2017