Our Interview With Alanna Ubach From Disney Pixar’s Coco!

Hey All!

I recently had the amazing opportunity to sit down with the fabulous Alanna Ubach, who voices Mama Imelda in the new Disney Pixar animated film Coco! You may recognize Alanna from one of her many fantastic roles that she’s had over the years. My favorites include Sister Act 2, Legally Blonde or Meet the Fockers. She was one of Elle’s friends in Legally Blonde! I sat down with Alanna during the press conference for Coco and it was such an honor to meet another fellow Puerto Rican working in Hollywood. We had the best time chatting about this amazing new film and about her incredible career as an actress.

I first had to know of course how she got involved with Coco.

ALANNA UBACH:

This was like any other audition. I usually put myself down on tape. I have voice memos on my iPhone and I usually record an audition, send it over to my agent, and they’ll email it over to Pixar or what have you. I read the scene ahead of time and I couldn’t understand what was going on. She lost her photo on an ofrenda and she’s complaining? Where is she the DMV? I don’t understand! I was reading it aloud to my husband and he was like “who is doing this?” and I was like it’s Disney and Pixar. He immediately said she’s dead. Your character is dead and she’s trying to find the living to find out why her photo is missing from the ofrenda. He put two and two together like that! (Snaps her fingers.) I think I might have been the only person who auditioned who had one step ahead of everyone else, since I actually knew what was going on in the film. Thank you husband!

Those husbands do come in handy!

I then wanted to know if she based her character on anyone in her own family.

ALANNA UBACH:

Yes, my Tia Flora. She was my great great Aunt. She was very stoic and proud. She always had a full face of makeup on at 8 o’clock in the morning. I never saw her with out her high heels on. She passed away when I was about 12 or 13 and I even remember her funeral. (She motions that her great aunt was posing fabulously in the casket.) She was looking even fabulous in her casket. She was a very passionate woman, who had been married twice and was just a liver. I was honored to play a character that I thought this is where I will inject the spirit of Tia Flora.

I’m sure Tia Flora is looking down and is honored by this performance! I next chatted with her about the importance of music in her home growing up, since music is a huge influence on the main character in Coco.

ALANNA UBACH:

Music was huge part of my life growing up. My father always said he was tone deaf, which was so strange to me. I didn’t understand what tone deaf actually meant when I was a kid. My mother on the other hand a beautiful piano. She had this beautiful piano in the living room growing up and my mom would always play the piano during parties. She was wonderful. My mother really does have an ear for music. I myself can’t pick up an instrument for the life of me. I myself married a music man. My husband is a music producer and he can pick up any instrument, But I have the rhythm and I love to sing, so that’s where I’m best musically.

Here favorite song to sing in Coco was La Llorona, which is her characters main music solo in the film. I then wanted to know if anyone inspired her to become an actress, much like the main character in the film was inspired to become a mariachi by his great great grandfather.

ALANNA UBACH:

You hear little stories about your grandparents when you’re growing up and I used to hear my grandfather was great a mimicking people.  When I was a little girl acting would be something that I wanted to do, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do, I just knew that I loved imitating people. So I like to think it came from my grandfather and he inspired me.

I had to ask her if she could summon her own spirit animal, what kind of mix would it be and her answer was hilarious!

ALANNA UBACH:

Half Beyonce and half blue whale with a quarter Jude Law and a little dragon!

I hysterically laughed at this answer!

Lastly, I asked her as a fellow Latina that is like myself who essentially looks caucasian, does she actively look for roles that showcase her culture?

ALANNA UBACH:

Yes, the passion I have for performing comes through in one way or another, but I have no choice to allow my culture to be the vessel of everything that I do and everything I portray. The average American who has not spent a lot of time in Latin cultures and in Latin American countries, especially Mexico, which is such a giant country, they don’t know there was a giant influx of Europeans that went through those countries. Same thing for Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, so we can look all different shades, sizes, and colors. We even had Jews who settled in Argentina and Cuba. A lot of people forget about that and don’t know that. It’s really funny that when anyone thinks Mexican or Puerto Rican, they immediately think…

I interrupted and said “they think we all look like Jennifer Lopez”, To which we both shared a big laugh, since obviously we know that’s not true. We truly bonded over our pride for our culture and we know we can showcase our culture with the best of them!

Thanks so much to Alanna for sitting down with me to chat about this amazing film! It was a honor to meet her and a dream come true!

Don’t forget COCO opens in theatres everywhere on November 22nd! Get you’re tickets now! You don’t want to miss seeing this beautiful film in the theatre with Olaf’s Frozen Adventure!

Stay tuned for my review of the film Wednesday!

For more info on the film:

Like COCO on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PixarCoco

Follow COCO on Twitter: https://twitter.com/pixarcoco

Follow COCO on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pixarcoco/

Visit the official COCO website here: http://movies.disney.com/coco

 

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