Ever since the first trailer for Encanto dropped, the internet has been all over the Madrigal family. Some were absolutely in love with the lead Mirabel, voiced by Stephanie Beatriz. From her embroidered clothes to her glasses and curled hair, she felt like someone that we all know and love. Same thing Abuela (Maria Cecilia Botero), Isabela (Diane Guerrero), and little Antonio (Ravi Cabot-Conyers.) But for many, including myself, Luisa (Jessica Darrow) absolutely stole the show.
Maybe it’s the muscles…no, it’s definitely the muscles. There’s just something so refreshing about someone who can bench press you in a Disney film who somehow still manages to look feminine and comfortable in her own skin. That right there has drawn the attention of many who want to know all about Luisa, how much we’re going to get of her in Encanto, and how important it was for this movie to explore the differences in our communities.
Jared Bush, one of the directors of Encanto, explained this importance to Remezcla by saying, “One of the benefits of putting a giant extended family on screen was that there are so many different types of people, certainly in this large family from Colombia, where there’s naturally this amazing mix between European and Indigenous and African [communities] coming in together as one family. We definitely wanted to put that across on screen.”
And it shows in the way that this blended family looks, from their hair to their clothes, skin tone, and body types. It’s different than what we’re used to seeing on our screens but it’s also the reality of the world we live in today and something we should see more of. Bush went on to say, “In a lot of movies, there’s sort of this homogenization that happens. But we didn’t want to do that for this story. It didn’t feel right.”
Luisa is part of that need to bring something different to Encanto. She’s the older sister who carries the weight of her family on her shoulders when she’s not lifting pianos for exercise or carts because she’s a member of the community who wants to help out any way she can. Mesh that all together and you’ve got a complicated young woman who people want to see more of. And the directors…oh, they’ve noticed the heart-eyes we’ve been throwing her way.
Bush told Remezcla, “I loved that! Especially reading people saying, “I love buff Encanto lady!” or “We don’t know what her name is, but buff Encanto Lady!” And we were like, amazing! Of course, she’s fantastic and we love that because Luisa is such a fun character.”
And for those worried about how much Luisa we’re going to get considering she’s not the lead, Bush said, “I think there are so many different kinds of characters that you can put on screen. And one of the joys of Encanto is that we get to spend time with them for the whole movie. It’s not a buddy movie where you meet the family and the character goes away from a quest to do something. We wanted to spend time with them.”
Byron Howard and Charise Castro, who were both nodding along to everything said about the new love of our lives agreed with Bush and said, “There’s a lot of her.” and, “Wait until you see the rest of what’s to happen.”
Encanto is set to be released November 24, 2021.