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Cheech Marin, Ron Perlman and Oscar Award Winning Composer Gustavo Santaolalla Talk Joining 'The Book of Life' Movie

First Posted: Oct 22, 2014 09:41 AM EDT
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"The Book of Life" has brought Mexico's Day of the Dead to colorful, animated life, and now those involved with the movie are discussing what drew them to the film.

In an interview with Fox News Latino, Cheech Marin, who plays Mariachi band member Pancho Rodriguez, said that as a descendant of Mexican parents, the Day of the Dead was part of his childhood. His family would put alters throughout their home to "ask them for money," Marin said.

The actor described "The Book of Life" as "wonderful and colorful." This is thanks to director Jorge Gutierrez, known for Nickelodeon's animated series "El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny River," who drew inspiration from Latin American art and folklore.

"I knew his show," Marin said. "Actually my grandkids got me into it, so I was familiar with the art. ... We have a real diverse cast of Latino and non-Latino. Ice Cube, [who voices the Candle Maker,] has a part, and he was great."

Ron Perlman is another non-Latino actor who lent his voice to the movie, playing Xibalba. The actor has worked with producer Guillermo del Toro since 1991 and is familiar with the Day of the Dead. In an interview with JoBlo, he said the holiday brings "magic and positivity" by adding positivity to the concept of death and reminding people to think of their ancestors every day.

"Their spirits live on," he said. "It's something worth sharing with United States audiences, and the way they figured out how to do it in terms of the colors and the vibrancy -- the actual execution of this film -- it's pretty cool."

Marin was also drawn to the movie because of the variety of music. Composer Gustavo Santaolalla, who won the Oscar for Best Original Score two years in a row with "Brokeback Mountain" and "Babel," is responsible for the movie's elaborate tunes.

Gustavo was approached by Gutierrez himself.

"The fact that Jorge was also a big fan of my work as a Latin alternative producer. ... You know, he said that I sort of composed, or worked on, the soundtrack of his life, because he quit his job with this song, his wife had taken him to a concert and he lost his virginity with this song," he said with a laugh to Music Times. "So we connected really good and I really, really loved his artistic vision and the story and the somatic of the story, which I think was deep and really unusual for an animated movie."

"The Book of Life" hit U.S. theaters on Oct. 17.

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Follow Scharon Harding on Twitter: @ScharHar.

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