‘Encanto’ Director Charise Castro Smith Talks About Making a Story for Young Latinas

Lead Photo: Disney
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Encanto‘s Luisa isn’t the only character we’re in love with when it comes to the upcoming Disney movie. There’s Mirabel Madrigal, played by Stephanie Beatriz from Brooklyn Nine-Nine. She’s the star of the film and the one Madrigal who wasn’t gifted powers like the rest of her family. And director Charise Castro Smith is one of the directors at the helm of guiding this young Latina on her journey of self-discovery.

Remezcla got a chance to speak with Castro Smith and she was happy to share what parts she connected with the most when it came to Mirabel. The easy answer is a lot, especially when it comes to this funny and awkward 14-year-old girl trying to find herself in a world where she feels loved but out of place at the same time.

“I really sort of related to her in a lot of ways just like…remembering being that age and being at that point in your life where you’re really trying to figure out your identity and maybe even having questions of self-worth and trying to answer those questions about “What is my worth?” and “Where do I belong?” and “Who am I?”

Who Mirabel is as a person is part of the reason why Castro Smith wanted to work on Encanto and what drew her in from the very start. Castro Smith explained, “I was so interested in this character who was so imperfect, human, vulnerable, awkward, and strange. She was such a big joyous part of working on this film, for me. I think she’s a character that a lot of people will be able to relate to and a character that I think a lot of people are going to love.”

Castro Smith also understands that Encanto is going to inspire a whole new generation of young Latinas, especially those who have never seen themselves represented on such a large platform as Disney. And just the thought of that makes her tear up and hope that young Latinas do see themselves in this movie.

“It’s so special that this movie is representing people that don’t get screen time; that their stories haven’t been told so much. So it literally means the absolute world to be that Mirabel will be able to be a role model and someone who lives in someone’s imaginations for years and years to come.”

And this isn’t something that just hit her during this interview with Remezcla. It hits her every time she thinks of this movie and the advice one of her mentors gave her when she first came on board. “Early on when I was working on this movie, one of my mentors said to me, “Write a story that you would want your daughter to see. And that was really what I tried to do. So I…it’s really meaningful to me.”

Encanto is set to be released on November 24, 2021.