Coco co-director Adrian Molina on Disney Pixar making a queer animated movie: ‘I’m all for it’
Adrian Molina, the co-director of Coco, has revealed he’s “all for” working on a future Pixar animation revolving around a queer story.
“I think you’d have to have someone with a really great idea,” the 32-year-old storyboard artist and screenwriter explained in a recent interview with The Huffington Post. “It would have to be a compelling story that had universal appeal [and] there are so many beautiful stories to be told and so many characters to explore. I’m all for it.”
Molina added: “What I’d love to see is the diversity of stories that can exist about queer people. Many people have this experience in many different ways. I want to see many interpretations of that. I think that’s possible. There are plenty of brilliant artists who are up to that challenge. Even having to define it as queer storytelling ― it’s all just storytelling. I’d love to see so much of it you can’t quantify it.”
“The purpose of storytelling is to be able to inhabit many experiences. As humans, we all feel pain, sorrow and longing, in addition to joy, elation and connection. These, I think, are things we find comfort in knowing are common across cultures, identities and experiences.”
Coco tells the story of a young Mexican boy named Miguel who dreams of becoming a musician, despite his family’s objections. But when an attempt to perform in a local Day of the Dead talent show has him ending up in the afterlife, Miguel finds himself on a journey full of love and self-discovery. Since its release, it has sparked up lots of discussion about the importance of all kinds of representation onscreen, from race to gender and sexuality.
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When the hugely-popular Disney Pixar film won the Oscar for best animated feature film in March 2018, both Molina and producer Darla K Anderson thanked their same-sex partners during their acceptance speeches. When it was his turn to speak, co-director and producer Lee Unkrich said: “With Coco, we tried to take a step forward toward a world where all children can grow up seeing characters in movies that look, talk and live like they do.
“Marginalised people deserve to feel like they belong.”
Speaking about how Coco‘s inclusive message can resonate with LGBTQ audiences, Molina told The Huffington Post: “I think the struggle Miguel goes through ― between having this personal passion, this intuitive sense of the person he is, but being unable to show that, and the way he works through his conflict ― [can speak] to the journey of a queer person.
During the interview, Molina, who has also worked on films such Ratatouille, The Good Dinosaur and Monsters University, also touched on his career at Pixar – and particularly working alongside Anderson, whose wife is fellow producer Kori Rae – had a positive influence on him.
“I didn’t come out until I’d already started working at Pixar, and my very first producer was Darla,” he noted. “She was an out, powerful and vocal woman in a crazy, creative workspace.
“Being able to show up at a studio and see her as an example of someone who was just being herself and doing a great job, that this is possible. Having that freedom and safety really allows you to do great work.”