Benjamin Bratt says 'Coco' shows the 'beauty that exists within the Latino culture'

Bratt appears on "Popcorn With Peter Travers" to talk about his role in "Coco."
18:46 | 11/24/17

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Transcript for Benjamin Bratt says 'Coco' shows the 'beauty that exists within the Latino culture'
Angela and his need not mean yeah. And it is not. Asking about. He is not. Well I mean yeah. If you. You do you want that smaller than the one who can put that hat into the because your book all anyone has been talking about. Why have you come here. And. Your view creepy grandson. I Huntley and some. Hi everybody I'm Peter Travers welcome to popcorn where we tell you what's happening at the movies and there's a pig farming so c'mon what else you can say you. Just forget it it's called Coco. My guest today Benjamin Bratt plays a poll are the commitment to park. It's like he's alive and then he's not but I'm not going to explain that I'm gonna welcome you Benjamin to explain. What Coco is to the world. Nice to see you first saw it S cocoa is quintessential Pixar. In that it's it's going to be a wild adventure it's gotta be funny and in it will likely move you. What I think we did anything I can nothing like artwork the difference in this case is for at long last they're setting against the backdrop of Latino culture specifically. Mexican culture. Around the celebration of the Day of The Dead which is a beautiful. Recognition of those who have come before us at the time once a year around Halloween time. Where people put on alters. Remembrances of the people who passed on. So that's the context in which this story unfolds Gail who's a twelve year old leave the story. Has has a passion to become the talented musician very much like his his idol and asked groups. Which is the person I play this this this guy is he's he's the Mexican Frank Sinatra. I mean this is a guy who is as famous for his thing is is where is. Star turns in Mexican cinema. Problem is he's dead an excuse. That was the great when they often. Locate arrangement you know the but I thought. I did and got it. So what happens through the magic of of Disney Pixar films is is Miguel. Through some set of mysterious circumstances ends up in the land of the dead and comes face to face with the news would his personal hero. That sets them off on the journey with the way things discovered himself hours from. Informs who we will be in the future as a man it's a beautiful beautiful story and actually won that. I'm really proud of because of its what I think is truly authentic depiction of a lot of the subtleties and the beauty that exist within you know culture. To me it's always the case the more specific some but he gets right artistically. The walking universe that is in the yet but I agree what you see in this movie though is are people I am. What really moved me about seeing it that way it was. Grandma grey crown everybody in under the same right babies. In all living in the same place right now and the family was so crucial. And that's what we've lost so yeah I think it. If it cannot be discounted how. Profound it is. Two as a young person in particular is a young person of color grow up and not have images of yourself. Reflected back to you. On the stories that for the rest of the world enjoys Americus and a cinema. Or even the two US gave up until more recent years has not been. Accurately reflective of what we know to exist which is this is incredibly diverse and complex society that we live in and it always has been. You underscore the affected that the current. Divisive rhetoric that's that's. It does get released in the time that we live it during a trump presidency where we keep hearing my immigrants described. In the worst way pots. Well listen. I won't I'll put it this way. Claremont are at war I want to hear who are most highly elected officials there are interest in building walls and creating those views him in and enhancing those divisions. Art and in particular his story on the usher was intent of the filmmakers. Keep it creates a kind of bridge. It's a reminder to all of us at the end of the day we all are more alike than we are different we all year and to have a sense of identity to understand where we come from. Two to know who it is that we are. Any idiot in the face of going out and pursuing a passion or dream as is the case of young Gil and something I can relate to his young man when it first started acting. You can do that and perhaps even achieve your dream or even in the face of failure. At achieving it still remain true to who you are. And that's something that's relatable. On a global level. So I'm I'm not only excited to be. In the film I'm also excited that. I'm also proud that it once and for all of is a kind of reintroduction to the world on the complexity of who we RS people. Well it is for you a lot of where you come from now Europe on your mother's side it grooving and she's proving right. So my mother as a as a girl of fourteen he was into the warship of her grandmother who was a domestic worker for a wealthy Americans now. She was brought to San Francisco well you know enclave of Pacific heights in 1950. Two years after her arrival her grandmother passed away. So when my mother met my father they had five children together. From my earliest remembrances my mother's teaching to swerve the importance of family. And for the most part I was raised by a single mother they divorced when I was four years old and so. As a professional nurse by training at a certain point in and we fell on hard times I was a wealth circuit for about three years. And you know there were times when the water was turned off the lights were turned off. But through it all I don't have any sense of sadness or. Even are members of struggle really because there was always the warmth of familial. And that's something that she instilled in us that I now find myself. Unconsciously teaching to my own children my wife Lisa sought to she's she's an actress one quarter Anderson yeah if you. And so our children. Naturally household it's not something we've insisted down and educate it's just part of that world and it's part of the world that. But most of us including you living here in New York City recognize this is the world we live in and that's what makes it beautiful and interest in. And strong and this other narrative that's being. Pushed out there by the dominant culture release those in power. Want to keep those divisions highlighted. It's just false it's just completely false and never been historically accurate and there's a lot of stereotypes to that there can be played in two you know and people being. You've played both sides of that you've been through on the cop side you know right how many. One orders have you done and be more than under yeah it was a hundred episodes. No that's a various astute observation and as a young actor. Now thirty years ago when it came down out of graduate school to start in 1987. Obama had just come out this summer prior so there was some interest in payments the sleeping giant seems to be waking up how can we kind of capitalize on this so. The door crypt open just a little bit but by and large those early roles that was offered. Word drug dealers or gang bangers or. Now I've been very fortunate. Since since those humble beginnings to be able to makes it and now some low understand the the importance of taking on your own authorship. Of your stories I've made a couple of blows my brother to that and he's writer director mr. on this one very. As wells and of the film called on the home. But. You know. How are we are we at a point now and in modern society and within the industry where things are starting to change I think so. I think some too much slower degree when it comes to American cinema. But if you look at the streaming landscape for the television landscape outside a particularly on certain network TV. It's and it's a pretty optimistic outlook in terms of its reflection of what we notary system which. Should heed this taken so long don't know it's great to enjoy the fruits of that. But I got beat by really really like to move you made about me go opinion arrow where he was. This is he part of this culture but it became a stories about and artist. And this fall of one. And what it does need to be close right in. Very difficult. Two project to a large audience and a yet to reach. The part of the audience that you're trying to reach first moon is everything that cocoa there's going to be a lot of people that he would just because it's picks up. And what happens to them after its is that they can take it home and live with it and discuss. I agree and I and for myself that's the hope and again. Are. And I think this is a piece of art I actually think it's a masterpiece that things their best and no that's. Sounds like Graham talked foot. Their nothing of the Pixar if not. Genius crafts people they know how to tell a story the united well. And they've truly outdone themselves in this regard it's visually stunning comment I've seen and look as beautiful as this does. And the one thing I've always appreciated about their story telling is they're not afraid in in the context of being. The great entertainer to all ages all walks of life. And they never back off of emotional impact they actually see it as. An important component to their stories and they employ up to the nth degree in this film and it takes lieu of the patients who wants to get there. It reminds you. Of just how. Simple life can be in terms of what our real needs of this this need to. Have a sense of belonging to understand what we come from it's a beautiful message your own kids who are teens now I have a twelve year old woman who fifteen year old daughter. Not interest in. Anything at all that I knew that in them but. I got on with this one. Kind of got to own these days they haven't seen it you couldn't get him into an early screening Hun that was it you didn't have any of that Paul didn't have that nothing else. Now you can have to stand on line with the rest of the world to come and say well you know the full plan as eminent imminent by a block of maybe fifty tickets and just have their friends and. This is on the really really proud I you know look. I'm Workman have a very a couple of blue collar background while I was at ten or is this sheet metal workers union man. So my and my whole approach to. This body of work that have put together in the last three decades is really like building a foundations like. Laying brick and mortar. So sometimes you take. Great gigs that have a purely artistic spirit whom some time to take it in because you gotta keep food for the table it's going to be really this is one of those jobs where. It kind of checked all the boxes. You know is incredibly enticing to work with people the contractor. Leon Christian as a director. Darlene Anderson as the producer and an Andrew Molina. Was of Mexican American descent as a co director. I believe them upon first meeting they said they want to tell a story that it accurately reflected what they've come to learn about. Mexican culture was. All the beauty and artistic oppression and language and I think familiar traditions that it. It your own that we thinking it. Didn't grow up the same way. They're more accepting you know they don't feel like outsiders I think your 100% well when I was a kid I didn't I didn't have anyone on the big screen that looked like soap. I attached all my idolatry to actors like. Bruce Lee for one's absolutely. Just because he was there. Tirelessly cool that guy but Clooney's was early movies clearly questions during excuse Charles Bronson he Marvin. You know the chino and their brand of course. But no one that specifically looked like me but yet you do you grow up looking and think the world is reflected that way that that talent going that way you're going. And battle to get if you don't see an image of yourself and how possibly can you have an organ that is something you're here. And you're able to do that I didn't I didn't get that lesson. I think the other thing that's really huge thing about what's going on with your career now on the old people remember you from so many needs not just law and order that you just had. A couple of scenes with Sandra Bullock in miss congeniality. The winning theater I'd crack up Erica it's just with applicants used to think. You wanna kiss immediately if I wanna gorges where he shot once in their map it was a session of a Snickers bar stickers she thinks -- yes I kiss yes but it's just yet you know there's a share this with the you have never shared with real or else it's a scoop. Scoop we shot an alternate ending to that seen. Which is instead of the stickers bar we actually planned a big kiss on. But we discovered in the edit it came too early in the story that you wanted to keep this. The temptation. Magic do and have comes of the but this thing I was saying before interrupted myself because I had to bring up miss congeniality. Was biggest fans of you in the music world. I mean. Your character in cocoa he's not just the singer. He's great thing and the most famous finger all American history early in the world you know this is it. He's one of the great. So was it just chasing him around the house all the time is that what. Listen there is there is incredible bitter irony in all of this because I'll tell you right now it and I've said this. I've said this since I was a young man I would trade any. Any ounce of artistic ability within me. As a performer to be a singer. Above being a musician about being an actor because it's the one. It's the one talent that. Translates across all different languages and cultures you bring it with you wherever you go you don't you descriptive entertain someone you don't need an instrument or electrical hook up to perform. And yet. I've never believed that I had the skill. Never believed I knew I didn't have. Well it has been coddled and how does it and how are you dealing ironically it happens I just think it's great to that your others you know this they show you're doing started the game I'm surrounded by professional. Westerners think people there's nothing but music in line with chief the three girls. And James. Evan Ross I don't know there is such character he's such a great inches being guy on the periphery of this he's never really come. Sent her to do it that's right but he just sees it and feels all you have been a good time I am you know we've talked about Lee Daniels here in the. Loves to push the envelope. Oh with pushed both personally and artistically and that's what drew me to working with them on this particular project. Some would also fascinated me was. Shared with an early on this idea that I believe that a from the show star is loosely based company's. Own life when he first moved to Los Angeles and was a man who's acting talent. It is Dario records are not giving them those school option but he. Was suffering from substance abuse that time and although he had the vision of an artist who recognize talent had a cultivated. He could help himself he would always derail himself and so that's kind of alignment now with this character the hope is because clearly Lee is redeemed himself and gone on to bigger and better things. He said to me there's no character in any Mattias that is it may is that I bet there out there that's just the way it's gonna happen. But this is the first time you've been that you don't really now that we ended. I don't know that yes it and we didn't panic and I want out no hitch due a little's management remember me because this movie is. Going to be huge the song is going to be nominated for an Academy Award which means. They're gonna say eighty years Benjamin. Rica we want you on stage at the Kodak some disease you know I don't know what though my Snow White moment. And you know it I know we go to talking about a bomb blows special thing I didn't say that that I've I've and I wanna avoid arsenal led I don't know but I don't ask for the fall I'm just looking a little bit of remember me. Because it's such a great group madam boon the goal line have to say but bio remember me. Don't let it make you cry. Or even if harmful auto hold you remind. Icing secrets do these nine. You all know it's all come on it is when you go see the movie people. You're gonna get high notes like you've definitely I don't know how they came out of but they did you know. I tortured you says that he recorded every song and that my character sings and I'm sure. I'm sure the geniuses at Pixar the special sauce. To enhance sonic we whatever we lay that's okay when you look at it you think I'm great. Let me tell you don't want Elliott I'm gonna tell my kids at long last you can no longer tell me in not saying to the car radio it is because sound that. About paid professional thing off Mike dropped it paid. Publicity she did you do it ended up with good.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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