The 2017 Pixar animated film Coco features a young boy named Miguel who has dreams of becoming a musician, despite his family’s ban on music. Miguel serves as the protagonist of the film, and throughout the story he goes on an adventure into the Land of the Dead to find his deceased idol, the famous singer Ernesto de la Cruz.
One of the most iconic scenes in Coco is when Miguel performs the song “Remember Me” in front of his family and the people of his village. Miguel sings with a powerful, emotional voice that captivates the audience. This raises the question – who is the talented boy voicing the character of Miguel and performing the songs in Coco?
The Voice of Miguel
The voice behind Miguel is provided by Anthony Gonzalez, who was just 12 years old when he landed the highly coveted role in the Pixar film. Gonzalez is an American child actor and singer who was born in Los Angeles, California in 2004. Despite his young age, Gonzalez possessed an impressive singing voice and auditioned extensively for the part of Miguel starting when he was just 9 years old.
Gonzalez sang multiple times over the course of two years during his auditions for Coco. He performed songs from famous Mexican artists like José Alfredo Jiménez and Jorge Negrete to showcase his vocal range. Producers were searching for a male child singer who could not only act, but bring authenticity to the traditional Mexican songs featured in the film. Out of hundreds of children who auditioned, Anthony Gonzalez impressed filmmakers the most with his talent and voice quality, landing him the career-making role.
Performing as Miguel
In order to portray Miguel, Anthony Gonzalez had to learn how to speak with a Spanish accent and take on the character’s mannerisms. He worked extensively with Pixar’s voice and dialect coaches during filming to develop Miguel’s accent. Gonzalez also studied guitar and had a teacher instruct him on how to move his fingers to mimic playing the guitar convincingly during scenes.
The biggest challenge was performing the film’s songs in both English and Spanish. Gonzalez sang versions of songs like “Remember Me” and “The World Es Mi Familia” in multiple languages. He worked closely with Grammy-winning composer Michael Giacchino and famed Mexican musician Germaine Franco to rehearse the film’s soundtrack. Gonzalez’s standout number is his rendition of “Remember Me,” which features the young actor hitting emotional high notes and holding them out impressively.
According to the film’s music coach, Gonzalez could match the singing voice of adult recording artist Miguel just at 12 years old. His innate musicality and vocal control at such a young age impressed everyone working on Coco.
Impact of Coco
Coco was widely praised by critics and audiences for its representation of Mexican culture. The film introduced viewers around the world to musical styles like mariachi and bolero. Gonzalez’s voice was instrumental in authenticating the music and captivating viewers.
Beyond his singing, Anthony Gonzalez landed the lead voice role in a major Pixar film – a rare accomplishment for a child actor. He beat out hundreds of other children during the mass audition process. Gonzalez’s voice acting won over producers and allow him to bring the character of Miguel to life.
Following Coco, Anthony Gonzalez’s singing and acting profile rose significantly. He has since performed “Remember Me” live on major TV shows like The Late Late Show with James Corden. In 2018, Gonzalez voiced the character Rico in the Pixar short film Float. He continues to voice act and sing, while also managing a normal childhood and school schedule.
In summary, the talented young boy who voiced Miguel and sang the iconic songs in Coco is Anthony Gonzalez. He was just 12 years old when he landed the coveted role, beating out hundreds of other child actors through an extensive audition process. Producers were impressed by Gonzalez’s vocal ability and highly emotional singing voice. Gonzalez worked closely with the film’s team to perfect Miguel’s accent and learn complex songs in both Spanish and English. His breakout performance in Coco launched the promising child actor’s career. Anthony Gonzalez remains a gifted singer and voice actor, though still balances his budding career with a regular childhood.
Miguel Character Overview
|Become a famous musician like Ernesto de la Cruz
|Passionate, determined, charming, stubborn
|Grandmother Coco, dog Dante, Héctor
Anthony Gonzalez Profile
|September 3, 2004
|Los Angeles, California
|Miguel in Coco (2017)
|Other Notable Roles
|Rico in Float (2018)
|Singing, guitar playing, voice acting
Miguel’s Songs in Coco
|Ernesto de la Cruz
|Opening and closing scenes
|Un Poco Loco
|Miguel and Hector perform in plaza
|The World Es Mi Familia
|Miguel sings on stage during competition
|Miguel and Hector bond in jail cell
|Opening of film during Dia de Los Muertos
Coco Movie Synopsis
Coco tells the story of 12-year-old Miguel Rivera who dreams of becoming a famous musician, inspired by his idol Ernesto de la Cruz. However, Miguel’s family has banned music for generations due to their ancestor leaving to pursue music. When Miguel discovers clues that Ernesto de la Cruz may be his great-great-grandfather, he enters the Land of the Dead during Dia de los Muertos to find de la Cruz and break the family curse.
In the land of the dead, Miguel teams up with charming trickster Hector to find de la Cruz. Miguel meets his ancestors, discovers secrets about his family history, and comes to appreciate the importance of honoring his family traditions. The film features Mexican cultural elements like Dia de los Muertos, mariachi plazas, Frida Kahlo, and paletas.
Coco was produced by Pixar and released in 2017 to critical acclaim. It grossed over $800 million worldwide, becoming one of the highest-grossing films of all time. The movie won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song (“Remember Me”).
|Los Angeles Times
Impact on Mexican Representation
Coco was praised for its respectful and authentic representation of Mexican culture. The cast was predominately Latino, including Anthony Gonzalez as Miguel. Mexican and Mexican-American artists were heavily consulted to get cultural details right. The film presented Mexican traditions like Dia de los Muertos in a positive, educational light. Many felt Coco was an important contribution to representation in mainstream animation.
Coco had a significant impact on music, animated films, and representation. The soundtrack introduced global audiences to Mexican musical styles and talents. Miguel’s songs became popular for fans to cover. The movie demonstrated that animation could tackle meaningful themes like family, legacy, and acceptance. Coco also set a new standard for thoughtful and non-stereotypical representation of Latin American culture. Anthony Gonzalez’s emotional performance was central to the film’s success.
In the acclaimed Pixar film Coco, young actor Anthony Gonzalez provided the singing voice of protagonist Miguel Rivera. Despite being just 12 years old, Gonzalez impressed filmmakers during the audition process with his vocal talent and ability to connect emotionally with musical numbers. His singing contributed greatly to the authenticity of the traditional Mexican songs Coco brought to the big screen. Gonzalez’s breakout vocal performance launched the child actor’s career and allowed him to make a lasting mark as the voice behind one of Pixar’s most iconic characters.