It’s not my job: we tested ‘coco’ director lee Unkrich about taco bell.

Director Lee Unkrich won an Oscar in 2011 for toy story 3.

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Jason Merritt/getty images.

Lee Unkrich helped make many pixar films, including his oscar-winning “toy story 3”. He went on to make a film that almost killed everyone who had already died – his new movie, “coco”, around the day of Diade Los Muertos.

Thanks to cocoa’s respect for Mexico’s actual culture, we naturally want to ask him: taco bell.

Now we invite people to do an easy thing to do a difficult thing. Lee Unkrich helped make a lot of pixar films and, most importantly, his “toy story 3”. So he caught up with a movie, almost everyone was dead, and he almost killed a bunch of cute toys. His new movie “coco” was released this week and we are happy to talk to him. Lee Unkrich welcome to wait… Don’t tell me.

LEE UNKRICH: hey, Peter. Thank you for having me.

(applause.)

SAGAL: there was a lot of fun in the show. Now, you’re a big filmmaker. You go to the movie school and I know, because I’m watching you on Twitter, so you’re especially a big fan of kubrick in the movie “shiny”.

UNKRICH: I am. Is. “Shiny” – the first time I saw it when I was 12.

SAGAL: yes.

UNKRICH: my mother took me to the cinema. It changed my life. The movie made me want to make a movie myself. And, you know, when people hear the command all of these beloved family movie guy, is a very terrible Stanley Kubrick (Stanley Kubrick) sparked by the film, they are always surprised. But this is a fact.

Sager: and that is, of course, the cause of the brilliant, warm axe murder in toy story 3.

(laughter.)

SAGAL: so what was the movie that made you say, yes, that’s what I wanted to do?

 

UNKRICH: I think it was the first time I felt the hand of an artist behind the camera. I think at that time in my life, movies were just entertainment. It was the first time I saw filmmaking as an art form.

ROXANNE ROBERTS: almost all of the animated movies and children’s films have these various adult jokes, and these adult jokes quote all kinds of movies and things that writers and directors like.

UNKRICH: yes. I didn’t know they did, but we made a lot of orders in the pixar movie. And part of it is that we spend so much time making them. I just spent the last six years of my life making cocoa. And you have a lot of free time on your hands.

(laughter.)

UNKRICH: we all still, you know, kids in their hearts. And we’re just — we’re sometimes mischievous, hiding something hidden, and quoting other movies and jokes. And…

Robert: can you tell us one in cocoa?

UNKRICH: in “cocoa” – well, just putting things on the topic, I know that in every movie I’ve directed, I’ve hidden some references to “lightning”. Some are in “coco”.

SAGAL: ok. I’m asking this. So there’s some in cocoa.

UNKRICH: yes.

SAGAL: we’ll let people find that. Where is the “shiny” in toy story 3?

UNKRICH: in toy story 3, there is a license plate on the number 237.

SAGAL: well.

UNKRICH: there’s a Kleenex box with a “The Shining” carpet. There’s a bunch of stuff in that movie, and there’s a lot of hidden things here and there.

SAGAL: oh, very cool.

UNKRICH: yes.

SAGAL: I swear to you I’ll ask you what we see and like “Coco”. But I have one last question.

UNKRICH: yes.

SAGAL:… About toy story 3. So you’re at pixar. You come here, you are a story editor, as a director. You’re like – you helped a lot of movies before you were in charge of a movie, right?

UNKRICH: yes. I started as a film editor from the first toy story. Then I edited the “bug life,” and I started co-directing. I co-directed “toy story 2”, “monsters inc.” and “seek nemo,” before John lasseter asked me to direct “toy story 3.”

SAGAL: when he’s here, this must be a big problem – here are some of the most beloved characters that have been created in movies over the last 40 years. What do you do with them?

UNKRICH: yes. Well, you know, when John first asked me for guidance, I was very happy at first, with a smile on my face. And then I have this, like the darkness over me…

(laughter.)

UNKRICH:… When I realized I was in charge of the sequel’s two most popular movies.

SAGAL: that’s right. You did a good job. All the characters in that movie will be burned. It’s a very serious thing for a kid’s movie. Do you have any obstacles?

UNKRICH: you know, we don’t have any. And, you know, I think people just think it’s a violent scene, but it’s an emotional honesty. This is the correct conclusion of the film. I’ve shown the scrolls – storyboards for my own children many times. And, you know, they love that scene. But they were not traumatized. I think adults are very emotional, and when they look at that scene, they think about death. But that’s not the way kids are going through it. So the children than adults And I think a lot of adults are feel like – and especially their parents think they might want to protect their children from their own may have strong feelings.

SAGAL: yes. And the little boys are walking – oh, they’re going to burn. Cool.

(laughter.)

SAGAL: ok. “Cacao” – you say – it took you seven years to make this upcoming movie. The film is a celebration of death in Mexico and around the world. Where did you get the idea? You’re in Mexico. Who are you, huh?

UNKRICH: you know, I’ve always been interested in Dia DE Muertos. And I — you know, I want to know more. And, what is my the deeper understanding of the traditional – this is about the duty, we must remember our relatives, pass their story to the next generation, and to ensure that their memory will never die – it just feels like a very powerful general idea, we can explore and making a very funny film, the film can be fun, music, and you know, full of adventure and bright-coloured colour, and do you know a lot of comedy, but at the same time, there is a real emotional core, that is what we always find in pixar movie. Because we want — at the end of the day, we want the audience to feel something.

Sager: yes – I know that pixar movies take a long time. But have you got – I don’t know how best – will it run out? You’re in the third grade. Are you still three years old?

UNKRICH: you know, it’s not exhausting. This is a marathon, not a sprint. You know, we have to find stories we’re passionate about – we can stay interested for a long time. The challenge is that sometimes we have a very funny joke that makes us all laugh in the room. And then, like five years later, we really started to play with jokes.

(laughter.)

UNKRICH: and…

SAGAL: really?

UNKRICH:… We just need to believe in ourselves, remember five years ago we thought it was funny…

(laughter.)

UNKRICH:… I hope the audience will find it interesting.

Roberts :(laughter)

SAGAL: ok, Lee Unkrich, congratulations on the movie, it’s great. But we didn’t do it with you. We want you to play our game…

BILL KURTIS: tortilla Cocos.

UNKRICH: ok.

SAGAL: so your movie “Coco” pays homage to the true Mexican culture. So we think we’re going to ask you a slightly different company. That would be taco bell.

(laughter.)

SAGAL: answer three questions about “Mexico”, quotation marks, and restaurant chains. And you won an award from one of our listeners, the voice mail they chose. Who does Bill Lee Unkrich work for?

KURTIS: Janet Roseff from Dobbs Ferry, New York.

SAGAL: are you ready?

UNKRICH: ok, let’s do it.

Sager: all right – let’s – do you go to tacebel? Did you go there for inspiration when making movies?

(laughter.)

UNKRICH: I can say I didn’t go to Taco Bell for inspiration.

SAGAL: ok.

UNKRICH: but I lived in taco bell all my life.

Sager: of course, between midnight and 3 a.m., just like the rest of us.

(laughter.)

Sager: the first question – over the years, not all taco bells are sharapas and soda. They’re being sued by a famous law firm. What’s the claim? A, they tortured their famous chihuahua with food from Taco Bell; B, taco bell flavoured beef is not actually beef, it is a kind of strange oat mixture pulp; Or C, despite the name, actually no restaurant has a clock.

(laughter.)

UNKRICH: well. You know, I think – go with B.

Unidentified female: B.

SAGAL: you’re going with B, and that’s right. That’s right.

(bell, palm)

SAGAL: Taco Bell beef – in fact, they’re suing to say it’s not beef, Taco Bell has a strong reaction, of course it’s beef. But they also changed their list of ingredients, emphasizing that there was something else besides beef. The law firm withdrew its proceedings. The next problem – taco bell doesn’t just get drunk at 3 am, put something in your stomach and suck up all the jelly.

(laughter.)

Sager: what can you do at least some taco bell restaurants? A, married complete with corn bread catering bag…

Roberts :(laughter)

SAGAL: B, keep cool with Taco Bell…

(laughter.)

SAGAL:… Or C, with the Taco Bell Academy?

(laughter.)

UNKRICH: oh, my god. So, I’m going to get rid of B, and I’m going to go with A.

Sager: you’re right. You can get married, of course…

(voice)

Sager: Las Vegas – if you go to the taco bell in Las Vegas, go upstairs and they’ll marry you.

The last question – companies generally do well. Their doritos are a great success. But in 2007, they tried some failed events. How was it before? A, they launched an AD campaign saying it was good because it was bad.

(laughter.)

SAGAL:… B, they try to attract tofu by using a vegetarian. ).

(laughter.)

SAGAL:… Or C, they’re trying to open a restaurant in Mexico.

(laughter.)

UNKRICH: what’s the first one?

SAGAL: they launched an AD campaign saying…

UNKRICH: oh, no.

(laughter.)

UNKRICH: I can’t imagine that. Why don’t we go to B?

SAGAL: no, it’s actually c. they tried to open a store in Mexico, but they didn’t succeed. What happened was they opened the two restaurants in Mexico. They had to call their Mexican tacos because mexicans didn’t support them.

(laughter.)

SAGAL: so they are called tacostadas (ph). Both restaurants closed within two years. As far as we know, there are 15 taco bells on the island of Guam and not in Mexico.

(laughter.)

SAGAL: Bill, what did Lee Unkrich do on our quiz?

Curitis: in our calculations, you still win, lee – two of the three.

UNKRICH: wow.

(applause.)

SAGAL: this may be the first of many awards to come next year.

UNKRICH: ok, thanks Peter.

SAGAL: Lee Unkrich is a writer and director of Pixar. His latest movie, “coco”, was taken from me, and this is a classic pixar film. It opened nationwide on November 22nd. Lee Unkrich, thank you so much for being with us… Don’t tell me.

(music sound)

Sager: in just one minute, bill gave it all to the limerick challenge. Please contact us at 1-888-waitwait. Wait, we’ll be back in a minute. Don’t tell me from NPR.

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