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D23 Expo 2015: Pixar Reveals ‘Coco,’ Their Dia De Los Muertos Film
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Pixar’s Untitled Dia De Los Muertos Movie finally has a title. Director Lee Unkrich (Toy Story 3) and co-director Darla Anderson announced at Disney’s D23 Expo on Friday that the film would be titled Coco. According to them, the project came about after discovering the festival of Dia De Los Muertos through artwork, which then led to some extensive research in Mexico. There Unkrich learned a great deal about the holiday, and how it is being celebrated in a variety of ways by different families.

More on the story below.

“As artists and filmmakers, we couldn’t help but be drawn to the striking visuals of Dia de los Muertos,” said Unkrich and Anderson. “But it was the celebration’s core themes of family, remembrance and connection across generations that resonated within and truly inspired us. Dia de los Muertos is as singular as the Mexican culture, while at the same time completely universal in its message.

The plot is simple. What if you could visit your dead family members? While no cast has been announced yet, they were able to share a little bit about the film. In Coco, a 12-year-old boy named Miguel, sets off a chain of events relating to a century-old mystery, during Dia De Los Muertos.

“In our story,” they continued, “the celebration of Dia de los Muertos serves as the perfect backdrop for our main character to ask where he comes from, what his place is within his family, and how families stay woven together across time through the simple act of remembrance.”

We were shown a diorama, not originally intended for public viewing, that offered a brief look at the film’s themes and tones.

The scene opens up to a shot of a framed photo surrounded by lit candles. Clearly, we are in a cemetery, as the shot pans away, we see more graves with candles lit. Fireworks are then launched into the sky, lighting the night.

We are then taken to an underground city, where the dead are alive. Taking the form of skeletons, the city is alive with the sounds of music, and the skeletons dancing along, sometimes using their own bones to create the tunes. All of which is perfectly choreographed and cued to the music.

As we near the end of the clip, we zoom in on a mariachi band. As they get ready for the major finale, a boy (presumably Coco) drops his skull mask and the music stops for a second, with one of the skeleton’s jaw detaching. The boy then reattaches it to the right skeleton, the music resumes, and as fireworks go off, we see an aerial view revealing that the block is shaped like a skull.

Disney·Pixar’s “Coco” is the celebration of a lifetime, where the discovery of a generations-old mystery leads to a most extraordinary and surprising family reunion.

No release date has been announced yet for Coco.

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