Pixar's massive 2017 film Coco was a step in a more inclusive direction for the studio, but the film's co-director Adrian Molina would like to go a few steps further. In an interview with the Huffington Post published on Thursday, Molina said he's "all for" a queer-inclusive animated feature, which is territory Pixar has not yet explored.
Molina, who is openly gay and thanked his husband at the 2018 Oscars when Coco took home the award for Best Animated Feature, co-directed the film with Lee Unkrich. The movie follows a young boy named Miguel (voiced by Anthony Gonzalez) who dreams of being a musician, despite his family's years-long ban on music. Miguel finds himself wandering through the Land of The Dead, where he learns his family's true backstory.
Molina told HuffPost that he believes the movie's plot hits home for many members of the LGBTQ community. "I think the struggle Miguel goes through – between having this personal passion, this intuitive sense of the person he is, but being unable to show that, and the way he works through his conflict — [can speak] to the journey of a queer person," Molina said.
The director also echoed the feelings of the film's openly gay producer Darla K. Anderson, who said at the Oscars (where Coco won Best Original Song as well) that creating a queer-inclusive animated film would be "dream," according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Of Anderson's remarks, Molina said, "I’m exactly of the same mindset," and when asked what he thought it might take for an LGBTQ-inclusive animated feature to get the go-ahead, he told HuffPost, "I think you’d have to have someone with a really great idea.... it would have to be a compelling story that had universal appeal. There are so many beautiful stories to be told and so many characters to explore. I’m all for it."
Perhaps Molina will indeed be the one to make it happen. After all, fans of all backgrounds flocked to Coco, which centered around Mexican culture and became an important benchmark for Latino representation on-screen. Molina, who has Mexican-American heritage, told HuffPost that being a part of different minority groups himself helped inform his work on the project. Said the director,
Having grown up where — at multiple times for multiple reasons — I had an inner conflict, and I didn't know exactly how to vocalize how I was feeling, it made me empathetic to the fact that you never really know what's going on in someone’s life. Having lived that experience really allowed me to be in tune with the human spirit and the struggles that can go unspoken."
So far, 2017 and 2018 has seen significant progress for LGBTQ-inclusive films, from Love, Simon becoming the first teen film from a major studio to feature a gay lead, according to The Guardian, to the sob-into-your-popcorn love story Call Me By Your Name earning major awards recognition. And while the adorable 2017 animated short, In a Heartbeat, about a romance between two boys, got some serious attention online, there has yet to be a queer-inclusive mainstream animated film on the scale of a Pixar movie.
That kind of large-scale representation, though, is integral to progress. Love, Simon director Greg Berlanti, who is openly gay, told Bustle in March that making the film was significant to him for that reason. "It became more important to me along the way, when I started to realize this is a kind of progress that needs to happen," Berlanti explained.
According to THR, Anderson hinted that an LGBTQ-centric film might be in the works at Pixar, but there's no confirmation as of yet. It also remains unclear whether Molina or Unkrich would b the ones lending their movie-making magic to the project. But if Coco is any indication, there's no doubt that the filmmakers could create a great movie that'd resonate with so many people.