Anthony Gonzalez, the voice of spunky Miguel Rivera in Pixar’s Coco, enthusiastically greets journalists during a visit to the Hotel Palomar to push the film’s February 27 release on Blu-Ray.
Animated himself, Gonzalez speaks of his experience with Pixar and Coco with such excitement and energy, you can’t help but be enthralled. He didn’t expect to get Miguel’s role. He was blindsided when director Lee Unkrich told him he had a Christmas present for him. It was then that producer Darla Anderson gave him his “gift:” word that he got the role.
“I couldn’t believe it,” says Gonzalez with astonishment. “I was so shocked and all I could do was thank God for this amazing blessing. I never thought I would be in a Disney Pixar movie and to be in one is a dream come true.”
Gonzalez is much like Miguel in the sense that they are overrun with passion about performing. The creators even recreated some of his expressions and gestures for Miguel’s character.
“We both know the importance of family,” Gonzalez says. “We both know the importance of following your dreams and we know the importance of all of the community. We both love music and have a passion for music. We are like identical.”
Even his family mirrors the Riveras.
“My mom, she is a mama Imelda type,” Gonzalez says with a laugh. “She takes care of everyone and she is the one that sets all of the rules.”
Music is in Gonzalez’s blood. With a huge smile and joyfully sincere tone, Gonzalez credits his family for his success and passion for singing.
“Someone who inspires me would be my brother because if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be singing,” Gonzalez says. “Since I was 4 years old, I would look up to him because he would sing and do street performances along with my sisters. I aspire to be like them and sing like them. Without them, I wouldn’t be here.”
At age 4, he signed with the Alvarado Rey Agency. Gonzalez has performed at major venues like the Pico Rivera Sports Arena and has showed off his talent on TV shows, including The Voice and The X Factor. He also participates in Teletón USA, where he sings.
The critically acclaimed and academy award winning animated film, is coming to DVD and Blu-Ray on February 27. The movie had success, winning the Academy Award for best animated film and a nomination for best original song with “remember me”.
“When I first saw Coco, I was so shocked,” says Gonzalez with a grin from ear to ear. “I never expected it to be so big and that’s just amazing. I had an idea some people were going to love it, but so many people loved it and that’s just amazing. That makes me feel so proud of myself because I made an impact in the community.”
Pixar Animation Studios has continuously released films that leave even the wildest imagination in awe. The movies have brought to life childhood fantasies with whimsical characters experiencing the routine of day to day life- except they are monsters, toys and super heroes. Perhaps what drives the success of Coco, making it one of the most acclaimed films in the Pixar universe, is that it resonates with so many families.
Coco follows the antics of Miguel, who has big dreams of being a musician, however, his family doesn’t support him due to unfortunate events in the past. Miguel deals with the struggles of a typical family who has their own whacky rules and superstitions.
On the day of the sacred Mexican holiday, Día de Muertos, Miguel is transported to the land of the dead. While on the other side, Miguel is determined to find the late musician who inspired him. The vibrant colors jump off the screen when introduced to the dead, as they are painted with the vivid sugar skull-inspired art. The city radiates color and the traditions of Mexico.
Miguel’s emotional journey shares messages of faith, hope and family.
“It has so many wonderful messages,” says Gonzalez with sincerity and joy.
“The importance of family and just follow your dreams, follow your heart and follow your passion. Do what you love to do and don’t give up.”