Unveiling the Voices Behind the Characters of Coco

Pixar Animation’s computer-animated fantasy film Coco (2017) was a critical and commercial success. With a six-year production schedule and a $175–225 million budget, Coco grossed $814.3 million at the global box office. The animated film was inspired by the Day of the Dead, a Mexican holiday celebrating family and friends who have died.

Coco tells the story of Miguel, a 12-year-old boy who accidentally finds himself in the Land of the Dead. With the help of his deceased great-great-grandfather, Miguel returns to the Land of the Living and reverses the music ban in his family. Coco also made history as the first feature film with an all-Latino top cast with a budget of over $150 million. These are the voices behind the characters of Coco (2017).

Anthony Gonzalez as Miguel

Anthony Gonzalez as Miguel in Coco

Miguel is the star character of Coco, who was a 12-year-old with a passion for music. His persistence to be a musician will lead him into the Land of the Dead and uncover an age-long secret that’ll help bring closure to his family. When Anthony Gonzalez was cast to voice Miguel, he was only supposed to play the guitar. However, director Lee Unkrich discovered Gonzalez was also an exceptional singer and had him sing and perform the character’s songs. Gonzalez wasn’t the initial actor cast to voice Miguel. With production stretching for six years, the first actor grew into puberty, and the role had to be recast. Gonzalez received praise for his performance as one of the voices behind the characters in Coco.

Gael García Bernal as Héctor

Gael García Bernal as Héctor in Coco

Besides Miguel, Héctor is the next major character in Coco. Gael Garcia Bernal voiced the character in both the English and Spanish dubs. Héctor is introduced as a charming tricker who agrees to help Miguel meet his idol and supposed great-great-grandfather, Ernesto de la Cruz. Miguel later discovers Héctor is his real great-great-grandfather, and together, they reverse the music ban in the family. Bernal began his professional acting career in 1989, over two decades before he voiced Héctor.

Benjamin Bratt as Ernesto de la Cruz

Benjamin Bratt as Ernesto de la Cruz in Coco

A more popular voice and face on the Coco cast is Benjamin Bratt. The actor voiced the famous Mexican musician Ernesto de la Cruz. While alive, de la Cruz was revered for his musical genius with his guitar and lyrics and was still famous in the Land of the Dead. Ernesto de la Cruz becomes the movie’s villain when it’s revealed he poisoned Héctor and stole his songs and guitar. Bratt has had a successful TV and film career. He’s easily recognized for playing law enforcement officer/agent roles. Some of his starring roles include Demolition Man (1993), Miss Congeniality (2000), Catwoman (2004), Snitch (2013), Ride Along 2 (2016), and Doctor Strange (2016).

Alanna Ubach as Mamá Imelda

Alanna Ubach as Mamá Imelda - Coco voices behind characters

Alanna Ubach voiced the character of Mamá Imelda. Although deceased, Mamá Imelda plays a crucial role in Coco. Feeling abandoned by her musician husband, Héctor, she bans and forbids music in the family. Things stay that way until her great-great-grandson Miguel chooses to be a musician. Ubach’s delivery as a voice actor is a testament to her acting prowess. Some of her other notable works include Renaissance Man (1994), Legally Blonde (2001), Meet the Fockers (2004), Batman: Gotham Knight (2008), and Bombshell (2019).

Renée Victor as Abuelita

Renée Victor as Abuelita in Coco

Although Mamá Imelda banned music in the family, Abuelita made it her duty to enforce it. Abuelita is Miguel’s grandmother and has ensured generations stay away from music. Renée Victor was one the voices behind the Coco characters, voicing Abuelita. Victor has played several minor and supporting cast roles throughout her acting career. Some include Confessions of a Shopaholic (2009), Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014), Superfly (2018), and Moe (2022).

Ana Ofelia Murguía as Mamá Coco

Ana Ofelia Murguía as Mamá Coco - Coco voices behind characters

Ana Ofelia Murguía voiced the film’s titular character, Mamá Coco. Mamá Coco is Miguel’s great-grandmother, who was also the daughter of Imelda and Héctor. For most of the movie, the character sits and moves around in a wheelchair. Ofelia Murguía has had an acting career of almost 50 years before she was cast in Coco.

Alfonso Arau as Papá Julio

Alfonso Arau as Papá Julio - Coco voices behind characters

Although a minor character in the film, Papá Julio is an important member of the family. He’s Mamá Coco’s deceased husband and Miguel’s great-grandfather. Alfonso Arau voiced the character. Arau is a Mexican actor, filmmaker, and singer. While Coco isn’t his first voice-over role as an actor, it became the highest-grossing film of his career.

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