For the last two and a half years, BYU graduate Emron Grover has created clothing for… skeletons. He leads a team of “digital tailors.” Grover’s job is to clothe fake Pixar people.
His latest animated movie is Coco, a tale weaved around a Mexican holiday called Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. It is a sacred day to celebrate the lives of those who have passed on. Many celebrate Day of the Dead by painting their face like a skeleton.
Grover said his director has an unusual motto: “Embrace the skeleton.” Meaning, “We didn’t want to shy away from the fact that they were skeletons, and we really wanted to show off and contrast the human world from skeleton world.” Grover gave the skeleton men open shirts and vests, or no shirt at all, to expose the ribs. For the women, he cinched dresses around vertebrae to emphasize the skeletal shape.
But don’t bother trying to count all of the costumes–Grover and his team built over 690 costumer variations.
You will also see BYU graduate student Thomas Ellsworth’s subtle influence in the movie. “Nothing I did will show up directly on screen. I mostly got to interact with the people and not with the actual film, which was interesting,” he said. Ellsworth programmed lighting tools for the animators. “It made it faster and easier for them to light,” he said.
Grover hopes you’ll leave the film feeling a little closer to those on the other side. “I hope they find a connection with their family… how their ancestors have shaped who they are, even without them knowing,” he said.
Pixar released the film in Mexico the weekend before Day of the Dead. Unless you want to take a quick trip to Mexico, you will have to wait until November 22 to see it.
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