– by Joseph Jammer Medina

Diversity is kind of a hot topic nowadays. As citizens of a melting pot of a culture, it’s nice to be represented in mainstream entertainment. And if we’re being honest, it’s not just about diversity, but authenticity. It always rings a bit false when you have a white person portraying a person of color. It’s especially easy to get away with this in animation, where you don’t even see the voice actors.

Studios have gotten away with this practice for years, but in today’s world, they’re making a conscious effort to create films that respect the culture it’s portraying, and part of that has to do with the voice cast. This newer approach is expanding to Coco, the latest film from Pixar inspired by Día de Muertos, a celebration of the dearly departed.

This is obviously a story that’s steeped in Mexican culture, and Pixar has fittingly looked to assemble an all-Latino cast for the flick.

ANTHONY GONZALEZ (Ice Box, TNT’s The Last Ship) lends his voice to MIGUEL, a 12-year-old aspiring musician who struggles against his family’s generations-old ban on music. When a magical mishap lands him in the Land of the Dead, Miguel seeks out his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz, to help him return to the Land of the Living before it’s too late.
ANA OFELIA MURGUÍA (Amazon’s Mozart in the JungleBandidas) voices Miguel’s cherished great-grandmother MAMÁ COCO. She is very old and fragile, but that doesn’t stop Miguel from sharing his daily adventures with her.
RENÉE VICTOR (WeedsThe Apostle) provides the authoritative voice of ABUELITA, Miguel’s grandmother and the ultimate enforcer of the Rivera family’s ban on music. She loves her family very much and will do anything to protect them. But when she gets angry, she wields a mean slipper.
JAIME CAMIL (CW’s Jane the Virgin, Disney Junior’s Elena of AvalorSecret Lives of Pets) is the voice of PAPÁ, Miguel’s supportive father who hopes that someday Miguel will join him in the family shoemaking business.
SOFÍA ESPINOSA (Gloria) provides the voice of Miguel’s loving MAMÁ who gently encourages her son to embrace their family’s traditions.
LUIS VALDEZ (Which Way Is Up, director La Bamba & Cisco Kid) is the voice of TÍO BERTO, Miguel’s uncle, a hard worker in the Rivera family shoemaking business.
LOMBARDO BOYAR (Happy Feet, TNT’s Murder in the First) lends his voice to a friendly MARIACHI who Miguel encounters in Santa Cecilia Plaza.

GAEL GARCÍA BERNAL (Amazon’s Mozart in the Jungle) helps bring to life HECTOR, a charming trickster in the Land of the Dead who is forced to enlist help from Miguel to visit the Land of the Living.
BENJAMIN BRATT (FOX’s Star, Doctor Strange) is the voice of Miguel’s idol ERNESTO DE LA CRUZ, the most famous musician in the history of Mexico. Revered by fans worldwide until his untimely death, the charming and charismatic musician is even more beloved in the Land of the Dead.
EDWARD JAMES OLMOS (Blade RunnerStand and Deliver) lends his voice to CHICHARRÓN, a curmudgeonly friend of Hector’s who is sadly being forgotten—an unfortunate condition in the Land of the Dead.
ALANNA UBACH (Meet the Fockers, Bravo’s Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce) provides the voice of MAMÁ IMELDA, Miguel’s great-great-grandmother, the matriarch of the Rivera family and the founder of their successful shoemaking business. Miguel meets Mamá Imelda in the Land of the Dead and discovers she does not share his passion for music.
SELENE LUNA (My Bloody ValentineCelebrity Wife Swap) voices TÍA ROSITA, Miguel’s late aunt who resides in the Land of the Dead.
ALFONSO ARAU (Three Amigos, director/producer Like Water for Chocolate, director A Walk in the Clouds) is the voice of PAPÁ JULIO, Miguel’s late great-grandfather who he meets in Land of the Dead.
HERBERT SIGUENZA (Larry CrowneBen 10: Alien Swarm) lends his voice to both TÍO OSCAR and TÍO FELIPE, Miguel’s late identical twin uncles who he meets in the Land of the Dead.
OCTAVIO SOLIS playwright Lydia, Santos & Santos) is the voice of an ARRIVAL AGENT in the Land of the Dead’s Grand Central Station.
GABRIEL IGLESIAS (PlanesThe Nut JobThe Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature) provides the voice of the HEAD CLERK in the Land of the Dead’s “Department of Family Reunions.”
CHEECH MARIN (Cars 3Tin Cup, CBS’ Nash Bridges) is the voice of a CORRECTIONS OFFICER in the Land of the Dead.
BLANCA ARACELI (The Bridge) voices the EMCEE for a colorful talent show in the Land of the Dead.

The official synopsis for Coco is below:

“Despite his family’s baffling generations-old ban on music, Miguel (voice of newcomer Anthony Gonzalez) dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz (voice of Benjamin Bratt). Desperate to prove his talent, Miguel finds himself magically transported to the stunning and colorful Land of the Dead following a mysterious chain of events. Along the way, he meets charming trickster Hector (voice of Gael García Bernal), and together, they set off on an extraordinary journey to unlock the real story behind Miguel’s family history. ”

Coco hits theaters on November 22, 2017.

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SOURCE: Disney

Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.