If there’s one movie you need to check out this holiday season, it’s Disney’s Encanto. Not only is it rich and vibrant when it comes to the way it looks and sounds, it tells the story of a huge family and the vastly different dynamics in it that can destroy a family or uplift them to heights they’ve never known before.
Remezcla got the chance to speak with the cast and crew of Encanto and honestly, we’re even more excited for theatergoers to get in on this experience when it lands on November 24, 2021.
Stephanie Beatriz, who plays the lead Mirabel, identifies with her character on so many levels. Let’s start off with that. And it makes sense when you consider how this is the first time we’re seeing a character like hers being at the forefront of such a huge movie.
“I identify with Mirabel. Her glasses, her hair, the shape of her nose.” Beatriz explained before going deeper, “But beyond how she looks, her awkwardness, her sense of not belonging, and feeling like she doesn’t really have anything to add.”
For Beatriz, this is a feeling that has stuck with her all through her life. From her adolescence to adulthood, she’s battled with a feeling of not belonging. And honestly, it’s a familiar feeling that many in our communities go through when it comes to the Latine experience.
Beatriz also identifies with Luisa, the eldest sibling of the Madrigal Family. While Mirabel is trying to find a way to fit in, Luisa is trying to take the weight of her family’s burdens on her shoulders. “I felt that way as an older sister. I felt like, “Everyone is counting on me. Everyone’s depending on me.”
Jessica Darrow, who plays Luisa aka the buff lady of our dreams, echoes all these sentiments, relates to Luisa, and is proud to play such a unique woman. “Not only do I relate to her on such a deep level, I also understand that women characters like this, who represent such a specific type of woman [are important]. And what makes her so specific is the fact that she’s different in so many ways and not the convention type of beauty. But what makes her so loveable is that she’s so unapologetically authentically herself and she knows that she’s the shit.”
Even Lin-Manuel Miranda, the superstar songwriter who came on to do all the music for Encanto, jumped in on the conversation about Luisa aka another puzzle piece that makes this movie something anyone can enjoy. First of all, he knew that he had a great responsibility in general when it came to the music in this film. But there was something about Luisa’s song that intrigued him.
Miranda realized early on that, “I had to create the most hardcore beat for her; that Disney’s ever heard, anyway. And then reveal the soft underbelly of that.” Because this is more than just a song to Miranda. As he explained, “Surface Pressure” is “my love letter/apology to my own older sister. I’m the baby of the family. I got away with everything my sister couldn’t get away with. And I saw that burden and those responsibilities first hand. So that comes from a very lived place.”
Isabela Madrigal, the other sister of the bunch, also brings a different dynamic to the sisterhood bonds in Encanto that anyone can relate to even though she is a hard part of the movie to get used to…at first, at least. But that doesn’t make her journey any less interesting or worth watching.
Diane Guerrero, who voices Isabel, is very aware that some might be thrown off by her character. She told Remezcla, “I get it. It’s hard to look at this girl who’s just like, “I’m perfect in every way.” But there’s more to Isabel than meets the eye.”
For Guerrero, it’s all a front, an armor Isabel wears to protect herself. “And I honestly think that if you think about her a little deeper, if you look a bit deeper, she’s really angry. And she’s sort of sad that she has to carry this and no one else sees her beside her exterior.”
At the end of the day, and at the end of this interview, each character in Encanto is unique, interesting, and builds such a complex picture of what it means to be part of a family. And we’re not just talking about Latine families. We’re talking about all families.
No matter who you are, where you’re from, you can connect with Encanto. Be it from the feeling of not belonging, to carrying the weight of the world, or to put up an armor to protect yourself from the world. Encanto has it all. And it’s absolutely why you should watch it when it premieres on November 24, 2021.