When you see a happy, smiling, guy like Gael Garcia Bernal walking down the hallway on an early morning, you know your interview is going to be a good one. Gael Garcia Bernal is a Mexican actor and the voice of Hector in Disney Pixar’s COCO. Hector and Miguel find themselves in a series of adventures in the Land of the Dead. Check out our exclusive Gael Garcia Bernal interview to find out all the scoop on why he wanted to be involved with Coco, recording with his daughter, and what it means to seize your moment.
Thank you, Disney, for inviting me to the #PixarCocoEvent and providing travel and accommodations. All opinions about how Hector is the coolest cat around are my own.
Exclusive Gael Garcia Bernal Interview About COCO
We all had just attended the Coco Red Carpet Premiere the night before, and Gael was our first interview the next day. You could feel the energy and excitement from screening such a wonderful film!
Was the reaction different here than in Mexico?
Gael: “It was in English. So, it was passionate and the applause at the end was fantastic! In Mexico, it was just the same and there are some differences between the Mexico and States viewing but a film is a film. When it’s good, it transcends anything. People reacted really strongly so I am really happy about that.”
On Why Gael Garcia Wanted to be a Part of Coco
Hector is a funny, charming character, a bit of a loner. There are times you feel sorry for him, but he’s a bit of a con man, too. One thing is for sure, Hector can sing, and I dare you not to fall in love with him.
What made you want to be a part of this film?
Gael: “From the beginning when I received an email that said something like, ‘Pixar wants you in a movie about Day of the Dead.’ I mean of course I want to be in it. I went into a meeting with Lee and Adrian and Darla, and they told me what the movie was gonna be about. It wasn’t really a pitch…because they just told me what the movie was about, because there was no script at that point.
Then they showed me some little images of who the character (Hector) was gonna be, how he was gonna look, who was gonna be Miguel, you know, like who the actors that were involved a little bit. They also showed me a little clip where they animate certain interviews or shows or films you’ve done and they put like those dialogues into Hector. There was this interview I did with I think, Chelsea Handler. They put it as if Hector was going into the show of Chelsea, you know? So, they showed you that, and I mean it was really funny.”
Was it an easy decision for you to be a part of this film?
Gael: “It was so easy, I mean it was daunting the fact that I had to sing, but I like the challenge of it. I was counting on my postal code you know, coming from Guadalajara. I think that’s why we are able to do those shouts, you know, those mariachi gritos because they, if you’re not from there it’s very difficult to do it.
On What Seize the Moment Means to Gael Garcia Bernal
“Seize Your Moment” is a big phrase in Coco. It’s one of Ernesto de la Cruz’s catch phrases. I find it interesting on how different people interpret it. I love Gael Garcia Bernal’s interpretation, because it offers insight into our future as well as our past.
What is the biggest seize your moment episode in your life until now?
Gael: Well, this is a very personal opinion about seizing the moment. I think that what’s nice about the movie is that it shows de la Cruz having that carrying the flag of seizing your moment. I think it has been one of the most damaging aspects of western society you know, the notion of seizing the moment.
“I think it has been one of the most damaging aspects of western society you know, the notion of seizing the moment.” -Gael Garcia Bernal
Because it has made us burn the forests that we have in front of us. It has made us live the now as if there was no tomorrow. As if we’re not engaging with a responsibility that freedom gives us to know that there’s a future, and there’s people that will come after. And it is not a rush, life is more, it’s more a craft. Little by little, it’s built and seizing the moment sometimes makes you fall into trap that it is now or never. And there’s moments that it is now or never, but you know when that is. It’s not that there’s a rule that you have to follow that path.”
On Recording with Gael Garcia Bernal’s Daughter
Remember Me is a popular song that is sung by different characters in Coco. Gael got to record a version with his daughter.
How was it recording with your own daughter?
Gael: “It was beautiful! It’s gonna be one of those moments that definitely gives you a moment that you think, ‘we’re so lucky. I’m so lucky we’re doing this job,’ . I never thought that I was going to live off the job I love doing or have these experiences that I love doing. And then you get a chance to have a beautiful postcard for life. This is gonna be something that my daughter one day will see when she’s, I don’t know, sixty, and it will be really, really fun to her to remember and to hear ourselves. It was such a great opportunity.”
That sweet note was the perfect way to end the Gael Garcia Bernal interview. You would be hard pressed to find a nicer guy than Gael Garcia Bernal. He’s proud of his Mexican heritage, loves his family, wants to do good, and is thrilled to be a part of Disney Pixar’s Coco.
COCO in is in theaters November 22nd! I’m thrilled, because 19 family members and I bought tickets to watch Coco on Thanksgiving.