Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Black Panther Costume & Production Designer Interviews #BlackPantherEvent

Black Panther was an amazing movie and let me tell you, the production design and costume designs are amazing! I do not think that people give enough credit to them! Luckily, I was given the chance to interview two amazing ladies and let me tell you, they are amazing!! We interviewed Costume Designer Ruth E. Carter and Production Designer Hannah Beachler!
Photo credit Natasha C. Nicholes / HousefulOfNicholes.com

First of all, who are these ladies? Let me tell you more!
Meet Production Designer Hannah Beachler!
Photo credit Natasha C. Nicholes / HousefulOfNicholes.com

She designed BeyoncĂ©’s stunning visual concept album “Lemonade,” for which she won the 2017 Art Director’s Guild Award for Excellence in Production Design for Awards or Special Events and earned a 2016 Emmy® nomination for Outstanding Production Design for a Variety Nonfiction Event or Award Special.

Meet Costume Designer Ruth E. Carter!
Photo credit Natasha C. Nicholes / HousefulOfNicholes.com

She has garnered two Academy Award® nominations for “Best Costume Design,” for Spike Lee’s “Malcom X” (1993) and Steven Spielberg’s “Amistad” (1998), as well as an Emmy® nomination in 2016 for the reboot of “Roots.” 
Carter has worked in the industry for over three decades and has been credited with over 40 films and counting. Carter and Lee have worked on over ten films together beginning with “School Daze” and including “Do the Right Thing,” “Malcolm X” and “Old Boy.”  
Being able to hear in the minds of these ladies was just amazing! Let me share with you my favorite questions and answers below!

They were both excited to work together on this set! As with every film comes research!
Photo Credit : Disney Hannah Beachler at Treur River South Africa

Hannah: "So, I did reach into Nigeria, Lagos. Did a lot of research in Nairobi and the bigger cities around -- and Kenya and in South Africa, Joburg, Cape Town just for some of the architecture. And I looked at lotta older architecture. So, that’s really where my process started really big. Where are we? And then it was like what is the typography of the land? Next step is where does each tribe live on that land and why? And what is each tribe’s history. So then I go down and dot through each tribes’ history, and like this is why they live here. There is a story and a reason behind every single thing you see  on that screen coming from me and coming from Ruth."

Photo credit Natasha C. Nicholes / HousefulOfNicholes.com

They had a vision board of designs with masks from different tribes and more on it too! To get ideas for the designs they also had shoppers! 

Ruth: "I had one that was in Africa, in South Africa. I had one in Nigeria. I had a shopper in South Korea"

Photo credit Natasha C. Nicholes / HousefulOfNicholes.com

If you notice when you watch the movie, there are these blankets! I will give you a backstory on them!

Ruth: "Lesotho Village they’re one of the last to be colonized, and so they have held on to their traditions. And one of their traditions is this blanket that was given to them from England. So, you know, it is a kind of a part of the beginnings of their colonization. But there’s this beautiful blanket that the King of Lesotho embraced for his village and was like in the 1800s. So, this blanket represents the Queen. They have these different designs that they do, and they’re magnificent. They’re beautiful.And the Border Tribe they use these blankets, based on Ryan Coogler’s trip to South Africa and to the Lesotho Village where he stayed -- and he fell in love with these blankets. So, he was like, Ruth, you have to get these Lesotho blankets. I was like okay. I’m gonna get ‘em. So, my South Africa shopper went to the company that made them and we got them in in all colors, you know. And then we had to get them all cleared, because they all mean different things."

They had 300 blankets and they camera tested and they could not be used and had to be shaved down! They worked hard and over Christmas even stayed late many nights! They ended up burning them to get it to work too! Talk about dedication!

Photo credit Natasha C. Nicholes / HousefulOfNicholes.com
About the king's costume:

Ruth: "The king is royal. The king is the king. We decided that, you know, the panther suit, well, the new suit was going to be a newer technology, more streamline, more beautiful, less for us than the Civil War one was. And so, that translates into his everyday wardrobe. I tried to pick things that I felt that would be body conscious. You see he wears a lotta more knits and sweaters -- so that you see his arms."
Hannah Beachler on Throne Room Set during Prep

What is their favorite set?
They love Sherry's LAB!

Hannah: "She’s the smartest person on earth, man or woman. And so we had to reflect that. But we also wanted to reflect in the big graffiti piece that you see in the centerpiece. We brought in gentleman, Brandon Sadler, who has done a lot of murals for the Afropunk Festival. He’s out of Atlanta"

Ruth E. Carter on set

Photo credit Natasha C. Nicholes / HousefulOfNicholes.com

I loved hearing the minds of these ladies and what went into the movie! Black Panther is out in theaters now! GO  SEE  IT !

Friday, February 16, 2018

Black Panther Products Available NOW! #BlackPantherEvent

HAPPY Black Panther day! I am happy to announce that it is in theaters as of last night! WOW! You do NOT want to miss out on this, that's for sure! If you have been living under a rock and don't know what it is about, we can't be friends anymore. (Totally kidding!)  Black Panther is an amazing movie!

Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER follows T’Challa who, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king. But when a powerful old enemy reappears, T’Challa’s mettle as king—and Black Panther—is tested when he is drawn into a formidable conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. Faced with treachery and danger, the young king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people and their way of life.

With every new movie comes amazing new products and all though my kiddo got too excited to wait for me to take a photo of my products, I am going to make it easy for you to shop them below!

Black Panther Reusable Tote
Buy It $2.95
Black Panther Figure Set
Buy It $14.95

Black Panther: The Young
 Prince Book Buy It $16.95
Black Panther: The Battle for Wakanda  Buy It $5.01
Black Panther Warrior Falls
 Pop! Buy It $12.95
Black Panther Pop!
Funko Pop! Marvel: Black Panther Nakia Buy It 
Funko Pop! Marvel: Black Panther Erik Killmonger 
Funko Pop! Marvel: Black Panther Shuri Buy It 
Black Panther Wooden Push Puppet Buy It 
Black Panther Chair Cape
Black Panther Pin Mate 
Wooden Figure Buy It
Black Panther Nakia Pin 
Mate Wooden Figure Buy It

Black Panther Erik Killmonger Pin Mate Wooden Figure Buy It

Black Panther Okoye Pin Mate Wooden Figure Buy It

Black Panther Klaw Pin Mate Wooden Figure Buy It

Remember to go and see Black Panther in theaters now! You won't regret it that's for sure!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Answers I love from BLACK PANTHER' S Andy Serkis (“Ulysses Klaue / Klaw”) & Winston Duke (“M’Baku”) #BlackPantherEvent

What an amazing time I have had! Being in the same room with Andy Serkis (“Ulysses Klaue / Klaw”) & Winston Duke (“M’Baku”) has been downright amazing!

Let's talk characters!  Andy Serkis is (“Ulysses Klaue / Klaw”)! Who is this character?
Ulysses Klaue is an illegal arms dealer, smuggler and gangster operating out of South Africa, whom we met in “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” He is after Wakanda’s vibranium and in the Black Panther’s crosshairs.Basically, his character is a bad ass villain! 

Winston Duke plays (“M’Baku”) in The Black Panther!
M’Baku is the formidable leader of the Jabari tribe, a group of Wakandans who have shunned the use of vibranium and removed themselves from mainstream Wakandan life. In the wake of T’Chaka’s death, M’Baku is faced with the choice of challenging T’Challa for the throne in order to return Wakanda to its isolationist ways. His character is...DREAMY haha!

The question came for Andy: 
We kind of love you but we love to hate your character so much. Tell us what it's like to bring to life these crazy characters that people want to root against on screen?

Photo credit Natasha C. Nicholes / HousefulOfNicholes.com

Answer: "He's one of the world’s takers, he just grasps and pulls and brings it all to himself. But you kind of to make that character live and be human, I wanted to make him sort of strangely someone you might like to hang out with. And then- and that sort of tension for me is more interesting than playing him as a complete bad ass, you know, who’s just threatening and nasty and you don’t- and then he gets killed and then good. So it's, constantly as an actor you're wanting to challenge the perception of good and evil."

Photo credit Natasha C. Nicholes / HousefulOfNicholes.com

Fun fact: This is Winston's FIRST FILM! His proud mom was at the press junket!

How Winston feels after watching the film: 
"Well for me a major thing especially after watching the film last night is an excitement, it's an excitement to know that people and not adults but children are going to be exposed to narratives like this before they're fully developed and before they've ingested and consumed placed narratives before they're fully formed, which is going to help them see their world differently. It's going to change their paradigm from a really young age and they're going to be consuming this in a way that they're not seeing, I hope a four-year-old isn’t watching this, even though they might be watching this with an awareness of race. But they might be and that's just the world And they're watching this and going man I could be like that and man T’Challa looks like my uncle, man T’Challa looks my cousin, Michael B. Jordan looks my dad, Winston looks my dad Winston looks like my cousin, Winston looks like me and they'ree getting to see that. And children in Tobago are getting to see that, people in Trinidad, people in Brazil, people in Latin America, people all over the diaspora are going to get to see this and develop agency."

Photo credit Natasha C. Nicholes / HousefulOfNicholes.com

Question:Tell us more about your character, M’Baku.

Answer "I feel what was a great opportunity for me with M’Baku was I was given the opportunity to create a new language within that world essentially. And the one thing that Marvel did great that really grounded and created a new world, a new life for M’Baku – it was a departure from the comics in a sense that it’s no longer this M’Baku being the leader of this religious minority.He’s not the leader of this religious cult, he’s now the leader of an established grounded tribe. So that gives you a lot more agency, it gives you a lot more presence, it gives you a lot more strength and ability within that world. And creating that society that lives outside of Wakanda proper was something that was really great."
Photo credit Natasha C. Nicholes / HousefulOfNicholes.com

I am stoked to have been in the same room with this talent! 
Photo credit Natasha C. Nicholes / HousefulOfNicholes.com

Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER opens in theaters everywhere on February 16th! 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Marvel Studios' BLACK PANTHER Global Junket Press Conference #BlackPantherEvent

The Black Panther Press Junket has been hands down the best event that I have ever covered or done.
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 30: (L-R) Actors Winston Duke, Martin Freeman, Andy Serkis, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Danai Gurira, Lupita Nyong'o, Michael B. Jordan, Chadwick Boseman, Angela Bassett, and Forest Whitaker, director Ryan Coogler, President of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige, and moderator Nischelle Turner attend the Marvel Studios' BLACK PANTHER Global Junket Press Conference on January 30, 2018 at Montage Beverly Hills in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

With all press events come press conferences! We were able to be front and center with the cast and producer/writer and more! The press conference started with introducing everyone to the crowd! Nischelle Turner -Emmy winning Entertainment Tonight Host moderated the press conference! I am going to share with you my favorite questions!
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 30: Actors Lupita Nyong'o (L) and Michael B. Jordan attend the Marvel Studios' BLACK PANTHER Global Junket Press Conference on January 30, 2018 at Montage Beverly Hills in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

Question: Lupita, when they were introducing you all last night before the screening started, you did like this little dance, like of excitement, and I felt like she can barely contain herself, she’s so excited. What was going through your mind, and how were you feeling when you knew the lights were about to go down, and we were about to experience Black Panther?

Lupita: "I mean, I’d been waiting a long time for this. And I was just so, so, so excited, because this was a movie that we all felt a lot of ownership of, and that we thoroughly enjoyed making. And you know, when you make a movie like this of this scale, so much happens between the time you perform it and the time you see it, you know - all the computer graphics stuff. Wakanda was built in, you know, in a room with Ryan and the incredible design team, you know. And so to see it alive, to see it almost like three dimensional was what I was looking forward to. And of course, to see it with everyone."

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 30: Actor Chadwick Boseman attends the Marvel Studios' BLACK PANTHER Global Junket Press Conference on January 30, 2018 at Montage Beverly Hills in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

Question: Chadwick, I asked you this last night, and it was something that surprised me, I didn’t know. I said to you - when you got the call to play Black Panther in Civil War, did you know what was going to happen? And you said, ‘Oh, yeah, I knew.’ You just didn’t know.

Chadwick: "Okay, I had to make sure because the initial phone call from Kevin Feige, Louis D’Esposito, Nate Moore and the Russo Brothers was one where they essentially said, ‘We want to bring your character into the Marvel Comic Universe - as a stand-alone, but this is the best way to introduce him in Civil War.’ So I was aware of it. And I think when I was shooting Civil War, I was not aware that other people weren’t aware that this was going to happen, because it was so - such at the forefront of my mind, you know, and when we did the introduction at El Capitan. So - I’m sorry that you didn’t know that.  But at the same time, I love the fact that it’s a surprise to people."

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 30: President of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige attends the Marvel Studios' BLACK PANTHER Global Junket Press Conference on January 30, 2018 at Montage Beverly Hills in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

Question: Kevin, why Chadwick for Black Panther?

Answer: "I think you hear people say this all the time when you’re in a setting like this. But he was the only choice."
"We were - it may not have been this fast, but in my memory, we were sitting around a table, we were coming up with the story for Civil War - Nate Moore, our executive producer, thought - suggested bringing in Black Panther, because we were looking for sort of a third party who wouldn’t necessarily side with Cap or side with Ironman. And almost instantly, we all said Chadwick. And in my memory, although maybe it was the next day, we got him on a speaker phone right then"

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 30: Director Ryan Coogler attends the Marvel Studios' BLACK PANTHER Global Junket Press Conference on January 30, 2018 at Montage Beverly Hills in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

Question:  This movie has been trying to be made for so long. I don’t believe in coincidences, so even though I know some people would have seen it gotten made a lot time ago, this was the time for this movie to be made, with this cast, with this director - right here. I mean, you did something special, Ryan. I know you were really nervous and excited, but once you saw it last night and you heard the response from the audience, what did you think? What did you think?

Answer: "Oh, man, I felt - I just felt incredibly blessed, you know, to have had the opportunity to make the film this way, to make the film with this studio, you know, working with Kevin and his team - Victoria Alonso, Louis D’Esposito, and Nate Moore, who Chadwick was just talking about - has been like - which is an incredible opportunity. And it’s not something I ever imagined, you know, would happen. And it’s good to work with some of my, like my - you know, my mentor, and these people who I’ve watched, you know, for my whole life, and some friends that I’ve made through this process. I mean, it was - you know, it was incredible, when I had like 50 of my family members there, all from the Bay area; they were like, talking at the screen."

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 30: Actor Forest Whitaker attends the Marvel Studios' BLACK PANTHER Global Junket Press Conference on January 30, 2018 at Montage Beverly Hills in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

Nischelle: I told you this last night, but it was five years ago, right about now, that I met you when you came to Sundance, and you were doing Fruitvale Station. You were talking about Fruitvale Station. No one knew who you were. I remember, you, Forest, Michael B. Jordon - all of you all, and it was like - Forest, I think you - I even remember you saying, ‘Like, this man is the truth. Like, just wait ‘til you see what he’s going to be able to do.

Answer:": Yeah, I mean, I knew it from the moment that I met him. I mean, when he started to express himself, and I could feel, like, the center of, you know, of what he wanted to communicate to the world, and how he wanted to touch the world, and it really was a really powerful thing to see. And then I think when he started to talk to me about his ideas - at that time, he was in school, I remember thinking, you know, this person, if he’s given the right space, he’s going to, you know, do something that can change, you know, our lives in some way. And I thought that Fruitvale was that thing. That was the thing that he suggested, one of the projects he had, and really believed in it. And I was fortunate enough that he felt comfortable with us, like, producing that for him, and working with him on it. It’s - for me, it’s - I’m just blown away, you know, just watching his growth, every time, to see him really - how he’s able to just manifest so much importance, and you know, in socially relevant moments, inside of things that we want to sit and watch. And so it’s been quite a powerful experience for me last night to watch that."

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 30: (L-R) Actors Lupita Nyong'o, Michael B. Jordan, and Chadwick Boseman attend the Marvel Studios' BLACK PANTHER Global Junket Press Conference on January 30, 2018 at Montage Beverly Hills in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

Yeah - Michael, I see you nodding your head. And I feel like this movie had so much intention
Answer: "Last night was the first time I saw the film. And I think I had a little bit of that - you know, I was - I call Ryan - you know, the night before - or the day before - day of. And I was like, ‘Man, I’m anxious; I’m nervous, man. I don’t know, you know, kind of like what to expect.’ And he says, ‘Look, man, just look at it and try to be a fan. Just watch it, you know what I’m saying, and try to enjoy it.’ I was like - and in the back of my head I’m like, ‘Yeah, that’s never gonna happen.’[LAUGHTER] ‘But I’m gonna try.’ And when I sat down with my family, you know, and this family, and you know, and then - and the audience, and I had that same type of reaction. It was like, man, this is what it feels like. There’s like, there’s nothing that I could have - I couldn’t describe that feeling before actually sitting down and watching that film. And seeing yourself on screen - not me personally, but people who looked like  you know, empowered, and having those, you know, socially relevant themes, but in a movie that you want to sit down and watch, and you can enjoy, that Marvel does so well. So I think it was a really good balance, and everybody won; everybody did amazing, amazing jobs in performances. And it was an incredible film last night."

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 30: Actor Angela Bassett attends the Marvel Studios' BLACK PANTHER Global Junket Press Conference on January 30, 2018 at Montage Beverly Hills in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

Question: Giving props to the ladies of Wakanda. But how proud of you all were - to see yourselves up, being so powerful, and so beautiful, and so regal on that screen?

Angela Basset: "Extraordinarily so. And so pleased that this story, you know, written by Ryan, and Joe Robert Cole, and Marvel, that it supported that. You know, it - you know, in African culture, you know, they feel as if there is no king without a queen."
"And I think in this story, it highlights the queen, you know, the warrior, you know, the general - the young sister, you know. So I was so proud to have my daughter, and my son there last night, because in their faces, and in their spirit - and they were feeling themselves."

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 30: (L-R) Actors Letitia Wright, Danai Gurira, and Lupita Nyong'o attend the Marvel Studios' BLACK PANTHER Global Junket Press Conference on January 30, 2018 at Montage Beverly Hills in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

DANAI GURIRA: "Yeah, okay, I’ll talk. Yeah, when Ryan sat me down and talked to me about his vision, and the story, and the characters, and the women, I was just floored, you know, because you don’t actually get to hear that often. You know, you don’t actually get to hear that often. You know, you don’t actually get sat down and hear that type of a vision. And then it embodied with us being on the continent, women from the continent, but very developed, very complex. It was amazing. I mean, it was just like, this is going to - like, this is something else - like, I just want to watch it. I get to be in it?"

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 30: (L-R) Actors Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, and Danai Gurira attend the Marvel Studios' BLACK PANTHER Global Junket Press Conference on January 30, 2018 at Montage Beverly Hills in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

Question for Letitia: She wanted to know what your favorite weapon or gadget was, because she thought that was so cool.

Answer: "I think T’Challa’s suit’s quite beautiful. And - but I think the gauntlets is pretty dope, because her personal little thing."

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 30: Actors Martin Freeman (L) and Andy Serkis attend the Marvel Studios' BLACK PANTHER Global Junket Press Conference on January 30, 2018 at Montage Beverly Hills in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

Question: "Hi, my name is [PH] Dovetta with Black Girl Nerds. I’m going to throw a question to Bilbo and Gollum. I saw him hiding over there. I just wanted to ask you’re in this incredible experience with all of the African talent, African descendants talent, actors behind the cameras, crew, how did that or will it do you think affect your world view and your view as artists from, you know, your culture?"

Answer: ANDY SERKIS: "Actually we were just talking about that earlier on and it was very funny ‘cause you reminded me of a story of Ryan saying to us before we were about to do our scene. Ryan came up to us and said, you know, I’ve never actually directed two white actors before. And probably not, probably ever, it was hilarious, it was kind of hilarious, but at the same time it was just like fuck that’s tragic, you know.LAUGH] It was kind of insane and kind of like weird, but it really was, I mean it was an incredible experience working with Ryan. He is one of the most brilliant, you know, wonderful, warm, humble, incredibly clever, articulate visionary directors and just to be part of this was just, well for me, I mean I don’t know what you thought of it."

Question "Hi everyone, my name is [PH] Arie Adams. I’m from Love, Peace and Tiny Feet. Congratulations on a wonderful, wonderful movie and I can say as a Liberian, the first generation of Liberian American, I felt that pride seeing this movie ‘cause it’s definitely not the Africa I grew up seeing on TV. My question is for you Chadwick. I read that it was especially important for you to have Black Panther speak in an African accent. Can you elaborate on that a little bit as far as your thoughts are for this and why it was so important?

Answer: "That’s a lot. I will try to be as quick as possible. You know I think as actors this is separate from the movie, but there is, when you’re trained you’re trained very often from a European perspective. What is considered great or classical is very often British and it’s certain writers and I happen to come from a background that does not believe that, you know. I went to Oxford to study, but I went to Howard and we were taught to respect our writers and our classics just as much and believe that it takes the same skill level and same technique and sometimes techniques that are a little bit different to pull that off. And so I think you have to be, you have to tell the stories and be true to yourself as an artist. And in this there’s no reason, you know, for it because there was a time period where people were asking me questions about whether or not an audience could sit through a movie with a lead character who spoke with that accent, you know. And it was not Kevin by the way, so just making sure you know that.  People outside Marvel as well and so I became adamant about the fact that that is not true. That the intonations and melodies inside an African accent are just as classical as a British one or a European one and that all of the emotions and aspects of a character can be shown and expressions can be shown through that accent and we have to take this opportunity to show that and he just wouldn’t, if he had never been conquered, if his ancestors had never been conquered and he’s never been conquered and Wakanda is what it is, he doesn’t have to go to Oxford to study. He doesn’t have to go to Cambridge or Yale or any place to study. He actually got his education at home and he would not then assimilate a language that is the colonizer’s language in order to speak to his people. So he had to speak with an African accent."

I hope you enjoyed reading as much I did being there! Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER opens in theaters everywhere on February 16th! 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Olvera Street, Interview with Anthony Gonzalez (voice of “Miguel”) & #CocoBluRay now on DIGITAL!

As a part of celebrating the release of Coco, we were able to explore more of the culture and check out Olvera Street.  Olvera Street, known as “the birthplace of Los Angeles,” is a Mexican Marketplace that recreates a romantic “Old Los Angeles” with a block-long narrow, tree-shaded, brick-lined market with old structures, painted stalls, street vendors, cafes, restaurants and gift shops. Olvera Street was created in 1930 “to preserve and present the customs and trades of early California." Many of the merchants on Olvera Street today are descended from the original vendors.

I was so excited to explore and have fun! For holidays the merchants go all out with Mexican music, dancing and celebrations on such days as: Los Tres Reyes, Blessing of the Animals, Los Angeles City Birthday, Cinco de Mayo, Mexican Independence Day, Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe and Las Posadas. It was amazing getting to see the culture and the vendors and the atmosphere was just AMAZING!

After we explored, we went to Dinner, drinks and a Q+A with Anthony Gonzalez (voice of “Miguel”) at El Paseo Inn! This was to celebrate the release of Coco on Bluray! As soon as we walked in, we were greeted by Anthony and a Mariachi Band!

Anthony also sang to us! It was so sweet! We were also able to interview him! I will share with you a few of my favorite questions and answers!

Question: How do you identify yourself with your character?
"Well, when I first went to audition for Miguel, I really wanted to do this role because well I identified myself so much with him. And that is because we both have this passion for music. I grew up with music, singing with my brothers here in La Placita Olvera. And just to be part of a movie where I can sing because I've been doing that since I was four years old, is amazing. So that's one way I identify with Miguel. Another way I identify myself with Miguel is we both know how important our family is and we know to really do our traditions. Just like Miguel’s tradition is to celebrate the Day of the Dead. And I actually have celebrated the Day of the Dead as well because my grandfather- my grandfather passed away when I was six years old, but well in the Day of the Dead it was a chance for me to be with him again and connect with him. And that's another way me and Miguel connect."

Question : Now that the movie has come out, how do you feel it's changed perspective on the Day of the Dead?
"Yeah in fact I think it's made a big change in our community because there's some people like people tell me, wow I didn't even know this was a holiday. Now I'm going to start celebrating it, because well, my father and my uncle passed away and I can be with them again and connect with them, it's a celebration. And yeah that's actually my home school teacher told me that her daughter didn't even know this happened. And her friend passed away and then now that she knows about the Day of the Dead she can be with her friend again, which is amazing. And I think that has been a really good change in the community."

Question: What was your favorite scene from the movie?
"Well that's a good question. I have a lot of favorite scenes. One is like I love all the scenes where Miguel is interacting with Mama Coco, I think that's just so sweet, like I used to go like this and now we're like this which is way faster, I love that. I also love when Mama and Mama Imelda agrees to tell give Miguel his blessing. But the only condition is that he can never play music ever again, and then he says okay. But then right when he goes back he gets a guitar and then he goes straight back to Mama again. ] And another one I love is when Miguel is getting ready to sing Poco Loco and then Hector teases him about the grito and then the first time he tries it, he does horrible but then when he does it on stage, he nails it."

Question: I know you shared what you learned from the experience, but what do you hope other kids take from this film?
"Well I hope that they take really the that the Day of the Dead is not like Halloween, it's a time for a celebration, it's a wonderful celebration that anyone can celebrate, not just like from where- not just Mexicans can celebrate but anyone can celebrate it. Because it's a day where you can connect and really remember your family members that passed away. And I think that's what I hope that people take away from the movie."

Question: While you were recording as Miguel, did you ever think before the movie came out that it would turn out the way it did?
"Oh so like when I first watched the movie, it was like fifty percent animated fifty percent scratch it was like images and pictures. And I actually had no idea I was going to be part of- I had no idea when I first saw it like wow, I'm in this movie, it's a big deal it's amazing I love it, but I still didn't know how other people would react to it. And once the movie came out, I was just so amazed and shocked that everyone was loving it. And even my director, Lee Unkrich, told me that there's people telling him that they're watching it eight nine times, like and like before like a week it came out, and it's just amazing how people are really taking it very well. And I had no idea it was going to go this far and I'm so happy. And again I always thank God for all the blessings he gives me."

Question: With the impact of this film on your culture, did you know that going into the project?

"Yes I did because really what this movie is about is like celebrating this wonderful tradition that Mexicans celebrate. And it's a wonderful celebration, a lot of colors, a lot of food, a lot of like it's happy, it's a happy celebration. And I did know it was going to make a wonderful impact, but I didn't know it was going to make that big of an impact, and just to see that a lot of people really took the message and learned a lot about this wonderful tradition, I thought was amazing. And yes I'm still shocked and speechless. Thank you so much."

I am SO THRILLED with how this day went and getting to meet Anthony! 

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