Edward James Olmos is the voice of Chicharron in Pixar’s Coco
Edward James Olmos has a cameo appearance in Pixar’s Coco, now playing in theaters every where, as the voice of Chicharron. Not to give too much away but his role and what he shares with the audiance is very pivotal to the whole story line of Coco. The story of Coco would still be about the Day of the Dead with out his character BUT you would not FEEL the same about it with out him. Pixar is all about the FEELINGS. As much as I loved the different characters of this movie I feel the character of Chicharron has the biggest impact on me. I dare you not to cry.
Here is our interview with this great talent of an actor:
Did this movie make you cry?
Thinking about my grandparents, my great-grandparents. Thinking about it just conjures up the reason why we are who we are. You start to get into your memory of where you come from and who made you that way and especially with your parents. You start with them, but this was very emotional for me. Even right now thinking about it I get emotional.
How would you like to be remembered?
Amongst my family, that they’ve shared enough time with me and that I shared enough time with them and remember the times that we spent together. Just to remembered in a way that empowers them would be nice.
What statement does the film make?
It’s pretty simple. The film itself is very direct in making you feel that the Day of the Dead is a very needed moment in everybody’s life. Everybody has their own way of dealing with their past and where they come from. Each culture has their own way of doing it and it’s wonderful when you learn about it but this is the first time that I’ve ever seen this explained so simply.
And that’s why I took the role. My part is a cameo, but it’s very intrinsic to the story. When you really realize what happens when no one thinks of you anymore.
How did you draw on your own experiences for the role?
They invited me to Pixar and asked me about this movie that they were making and I said I’d love to. I went down and I saw their studios and I saw their creative space and it’s beautiful. I went down there and they told me the story. I sat down and I knew my little portion of it which was directly related to the characters I worked with. I know about the Day of the Dead and we have celebrated the Day of the Dead since I was born and it’s an integral part of living inside of a Mexican household. Halloween was different. The moment of Halloween as a celebration of our death. Wwe would always go and celebrate the Day of the Dead with my great-grandparents, my great-great grandparents. And we’d always go around where they were all buried at the Evergreen Cemetery in East L.A.
What message do you have for people who may be scared to go see the film?
I think we have right to be defensive of our culture because the art forms have a tendency to exploit. They romanticize, glamorize, exploit the material. They try to make money with it and in a way. This is a business. The entertainment business, but in a case like this, this is probably the most effective and the most important film that’s come out of the Hollywood system because at this moment.
For us to be at this level right now and be able to sit here and be happy about something that touches every single person no matter where you come from. All it does it make you think about where you come from and who you are. Without being able to understand where you come from, it’s really hard for you to be here. You’re constantly wondering. Say you’re an orphan and you don’t know anything about your past.
Do you have any special memories of Day of the Dead from growing up?
It was a party. It was a celebration of life, of living, with bringing, conjuring up the understanding of those that got you there. You’re just saying thank you to them. Thanks for bringing me to this space and here we are around your, your tomb, your gravesite. We put flowers and little candles, their picture and their food. I bring my dad his menudo. We just sit there and laugh. And cry. There’s a lot of crying and especially the older you get. The closer you get to being in the hole, the closer you are to understanding what life really is and we’re all that close.
How is this movie now shaping your own experience with your family?
It always has been a part of my family. Day of the Dead has always been an integral part of our family, but in essence, this is an ability to understand that this will live for the duration of humanity. This piece of art will be around as long as any piece of art can be around. It’ll be passed on, so I’m very grateful.
Coco is now in theaters!
See some of the Coco merchandise in this post.