NEW YORK — Like the character he plays in the film “Coco,” Anthony Gonzalez has always wanted to be an artist. But unlike the role he plays, the young actor has been lucky to have the full support of his Mexican family.

“My parents have always been there for me,” said Gonzalez, one of five siblings born in Los Angeles to Mexican parents. “Without them I would not be in a Disney-Pixar movie.”

“Coco,” which opened Wednesday in the United States, is Pixar’s first feature film with a minority lead character, and one of the largest American productions ever to feature an almost entirely Latino cast.

It takes place in Mexico during the holiday Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and follows Miguel, a 12-year-old boy with the heart of a musician born in a family that has prohibited music for generations. After fighting with his family, Miguel slips into a wondrous netherworld where he depends on his long-dead ancestors to restore him to the land of the living.

“I never thought I’d be working in a Disney-Pixar movie at my age. I grew up watching these films!” Gonzalez, who recently turned 13, said in reference to hits like “Toy Story,” “Up” and “Inside Out.” “Being there at this age is a wonderful, very beautiful experience.”

He may be starting his professional career as a tween, but his path to “Coco” started way earlier, singing Mariachi with his modest family at El Mercado de Los Angeles and competing in singing contests in his hometown, Mexico or Miami – all while his parents struggled to get their children, most of them aspiring musicians, training and financial help. Gonzalez and his two brothers attend the Colburn School. His two older sisters are in college.

“I have no words to explain this. This is a dream – something you never expect,” Lilian, the Gonzalez’s matriarch, said.

“You come to this country with so many dreams and what can I say? We struggle every day. To me, this is very hard because, honestly, this is something we never dreamed of, but we always wanted to support our children.”