If two recently released art pieces for the Guillermo Del Toro-produced Book of Life are any indication, the upcoming film should be a vivid visual experience. In a new interview with the Hollywood Reporter, co-writer/director Jorge Gutierrez offers two stunning concept images (featuring kaleidoscopic city streets and ornate skies) for the upcoming Fox Animation film (see one above), while also discussing his vision for the project's bold look.
Gutierrez, who co-created the Emmy-nominated Nick series El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera, says his plan for Book of Life is to conceptualize the movie's artwork and carry over that precise style to the big screen – a process which he says rarely happens in the film industry. One of his main inspirations is the book series "The Art of..."
"I saw every single one that [came] out and my biggest heartbreak is that I see all this glorious art, and then the movie doesn't look like that!", says Gutierrez. "The mandate of this movie was: Our 'Art of' book is going to look exactly like the movie. And every artist poured their heart and soul into that idea."
The film – set during the Day of the Dead Mexican holiday – follows a young man, Manola, who travels through three worlds to find his true purpose in life. Throughout, he struggles between obeying his family's wishes and following his true passions of playing guitar and chasing after his dream girl.
Gutierrez notes the importance of the story's personal nature, which is inspired by the folk music and films of his Mexican heritage. "All my favorite albums, all my favorite books and films, they are all personal stories that take place in a very specific culture but that are universal," he explains. "So I wanted to make something that happened in my family but make it for the world."
Book of Life is scheduled to hit theaters on October 17th. It features an all-star voice cast, including Channing Tatum, Zoe Saldana, Danny Trejo, Christina Applegate and Ice Cube.