Actor Benjamin Bratt was determined to sing his heart out in new animated movie Coco after facing constant ridiculing from his own kids over his vocal talents.
The Miss Congeniality star voices fictional Mexican musician Ernesto de la Cruz in the film, about a young boy’s journey through his family’s past during Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) holiday festivities.
The role required Benjamin to show off his singing – something his daughter Sophia, 14, and son Mateo, 12, teased him mercilessly about during the shoot.
“In this particular job, I was required to sing, and I’m not a singer,” he admitted to Good Morning America. “I’m a decent actor, but I’m the guy who, in the car when I’m listening to the radio, my son and daughter say, ‘Dad, please, don’t sing!’, and over the process of me making this film, they were mocking me left and right, because they don’t know what it is I’ve done.”
Benjamin is proud of the performance he delivered for Coco, and he is hoping his kids will be impressed when they watch the movie this weekend (24-26Nov17) as part of the family’s Thanksgiving holiday celebrations.
“Even though I’ve been telling them, ‘You wait, you’ll see. I can sing,’ they don’t believe it, so on Thanksgiving weekend, when I take them to see the film for the first time, that’s the one thing I’ll be able to lord over them,” he smiled. “‘I’m a pro now, paid professional singer, bang! Get over it!'”
Aside from the musical aspect of the gig, Benjamin enjoyed the challenge of bringing his character to life onscreen with just the tone of his voice.
“It’s a fascinating experience (working in animation), and it’s uniquely challenging in that, as an actor, you’re denied two of the main things that you rely upon to deliver a performance, which is your body and your facial expressions – that’s eliminated,” he shared. “It’s you alone in a booth, with a set of earphones and a microphone. What you’re attempting to create is a full body experience out of thin air.”
Coco, which was directed by Lee Unkrich, also features the voices of Gael Garcia Bernal and Edward James Olmos.