Interview with Jorge R. Gutiérrez, Director of Book of Life

You must have read about our Book of Life viewing party scheduled for Monday 16th February, which is when the DVD, Blu-ray and Digital HD versions will be available.

I was also most fortunate to interview the Director, Jorge R. Gutiérrez over telephone. It’s a pity it was not a face-to-face interview.

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Jorge was lovely to speak to and I could hear his enthusiasm about Book of Life filter through. The essential theme of the film – family.

What was your inspiration for the film?

My inspiration was my family. My grandfather was a great storyteller and he was tell us great stories of his own for example – how he met grandmother. He always told me not to let let the truth get in the way of a good story
Did you always know that you wanted to make an animated film?

Yes, I always wanted to make an animated film. I enjoyed going to the cinema with my family to watch animated films and talking about it later. Pinocchio was a great example especially the wooden toys. I also enjoyed the character of Woody from Toy Story.
How long did the the film take to complete?

I pitched the movies 15 years ago. 20th Century Fox decided to do the film and then it took 3 years from start to finish. I think the studio was a little nervous as it was different to the normal films.

It is essentially a Mexican theme. How did you chose the actors to play the characters? 

I knew from the onset that I did not want only Mexican actors. I wanted the film to be global and incorporated many American actors. The whole set became a party.

Though there are strong Mexican customs and ways projected – I didn’t want the film to culture centric. Thus you have Diego Luna as Manolo but Channing Tatum as Joaquin.

What is the message you want your audience to take with them after watching Book of Life?

The big message in the movie is – no matter where you are from, don’t let others dictate your story.

I like messages in the movies – most animated movies have a moral.

I made the film for my son and my father.

Are you looking to do anything else beyond animation?

I want to do at least 2 more animation movies before I look at features. With animation you get to stay children – professional children. I enjoy going to a theatre full of kids and hearing them laugh.
Any scoop on your next project?

I haven’t officially announced it but it’s – Mexican Kung-fu movie – a blend of cultures. This will be ready in 3 – 4 years time.
What is different in the DVD version?

With a DVD you always have special features and you get to watch it over and over again.

When people take a film home and watch it over there are a thousand things that you don’t catch in the cinema.

The Book of Life is like Mexican sweet bread to share with the family.


I enjoyed hearing Jorge share his feelings about the film and wish him all the best in his new venture. We’ll be waiting for it to hit the cinemas.

Credit: The Book of Life is out on Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D and DVD on 16th February from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.

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