Colorful Storytelling in The Book of Life

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The Book of Life premiered this past Sunday in Los Angeles to much fanfare! My daughter had seen the commercials and was eagerly awaiting this film. I was fortunate to attend the star-studded event with my family.

Mariachi music played as the actors posed on the red carpet.

(Left to right: Ron Perlman, Diego Luna, Kate Del Castillo, Ice Cube and Danny Trejo)
(Left to right: Ron Perlman, Diego Luna, Kate Del Castillo, Ice Cube and Danny Trejo)

At one point, Diego Luna playfully captured a selfie with the mariachi band.

Diego Luna

Before the theater lights dimmed, writer/director Jorge Gutierrez and producer Guillermo del Toro, introduced the movie to the audience. Jorge explained that this was a very personal movie for him, as it tells the tale of several stories that he heard as a kid.

The movie opens with a busload of school children who are on a museum field trip. Their tour guide Mary Beth, takes them to a secret room where the magic of The Book of Life unfolds.

THE BOOK OF LIFE, a vibrant fantasy-adventure, tells the legend of Manolo, a conflicted hero and dreamer who sets off on an epic quest through magical, mythical and wondrous worlds in order to rescue his one true love and defend his village. 



This movie is about much more than a love triangle between Maria (voiced by Zoe Saldana), bullfighter Manolo (played by Diego Luna) and the heroic soldier Joaquin (voiced by Channing Tatum).


The Book of Life is a colorful celebration of life and family. To be honest with you, I have had limited exposure to the cultural holiday of Dia de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead). After watching this film, I now have a better understanding and appreciation for it. This wonderful movie teaches us to remember our ancestors and to acknowledge where we come from.

Not only does the film give us some insight into this culture, but it is wildly entertaining AND has a great soundtrack! It features a cool rendition of Radiohead’s “Creep” and a fun version of “Just A Friend” sung by Cheech Marin and Biz Markie, among many others.

When I sat down with the cast and creators of The Book of Life, Jorge Gutierrez talked about wooing the various bands. He said “So, eventually we sent the bands little moments. We would cut storyboards and I’d show them how I would love to use the song.  And obviously I would say we’re going to do a bolero ranch version of Creep and we’re going to do a ranchera version of I Will Wait from Mumford and Sons. And so, I’m not sure what the bands thought when they first got these requests. Creep was the first song we got, which is a big, big deal.” He went on to explain that having Radiohead was key to convincing the other bands to jump on board.

When asked about his singing experience in the movie, Diego Luna said “I never sang before but I trained with an amazing coach. It was amazing.  I used to rehearse in my car.” Interestingly enough, Diego said that Creep was his favorite song from the movie because he “got to play the rock star for a little while.”


The Book of Life opens nationwide on October 17, 2014.
Visit the official website
Like ‘The Book of Life’ on Facebook
Follow @BookofLifeMovie on Twitter #BookOfLife

I attended a media event for The Book of Life. Images courtesy of 20th Century Fox. All opinions are my own.

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