Disney’s milestone film tells the story the a magical household who live in a Colombian “encanto.” We obtained the scoop on exactly how filmmakers ensured things continued to be culturally authentic.


Encanto, the new film native Walt Disney animation Studios, is bursting through magic.

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That lot was clear from the roughly 30 minute of footage the was previewed in ~ the SCAD Savannah movie Festival last week, including around 15 minute of that rousing opening musical sequence, one more memorable tune written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, and a enraged of the scene that starts to expose the dark an enig that drives the film’s narrative.

Bursting through magic, however, isn’t just a wink in ~ the Disney tradition. Magic itself is at the love of Encanto, which hits theaters Nov. 24, simply in time for Thanksgiving. Set in Colombia, the film takes place mainly within the confines of a family house the was constructed on what the society reveres as a location of magic, an encanto.

Don’t think of europe wizards, wands, or enchanted objects, in the way that we could be familiar with after ~ generations of Disney films—though a living, breathing, fantastical house is a centerpiece.


The idea the encantos in Colombia ties magic to emotion, in the legacy of magical realism. If you’re acquainted with the job-related of Latin writers prefer María Luisa Bombal or the Colombian-born Gabriel García Márquez, then you have a sense of the spirit that cascades v the film—a real-world setup in i m sorry the wonder or mythological exists and also is embraced alongside the mundane.

At the begin of Encanto, v a lively music number pulsing with Latin flair, we’re introduced to the Madrigal family. As explained through song by 15-year-old Mirabel (voiced by Stephanie Beatriz), each member the the generation-spanning clan is gifted. Luisa (Jessica Darrow) has actually superhuman strength. Tía Pepa (Carolina Gaitan) controls the weather v her emotions.


When a new child in the household comes that age, they are guided by Abuela Alma (María Cecilia Botero) come the door that will certainly bestow on lock their distinctive gift. The clip unveiled in Savannah included the stunning sequence in i m sorry young cousin Antonio (Ravi Cabot-Conyers) receives his: the ability to talk through animals.

The Madrigal house and also the hamlet in that is orbit is one enthralling fantasia. As presented in the teaser footage, flower bloom top top the whim of a sister, Isabela (Diane), whose gift is to do the people prettier. Luisa can move mountains, literally, to aid out the townspeople. Rain and also sunshine come and go according to mood. Animals and humans commune thanks to Antonio, and also the house, as much a character and also member of the household as any type of Madrigal, is in constant movement, transforming chin in conversation v the emotional demands of family.

It’s vibrancy in ~ its most vivacious—a kaleidoscope the color, music, and élan all rooted in the diverse tenets the Colombian culture, where nothing is a monolith and a plethora of experience beg for representation.

That there’s such striking beauty, joy, and, yes, magic all roughly her provides Mirabel’s fact all the much more crushing. She is the just member the the Madrigal family without a gift. Amid a constellation of especially relatives, she is not special. Exactly how does a person in such a circumstance and in such a family find a purpose, find her worth, and learn come thrive?


But as buoyant and also as exuberant as points seem in the magical Madrigal estate, there are cracks—actual cracks, threaten the foundation of the house—that just Mirabel appears to have actually the keen eye to see. It leader her under a path trying out what had happened to her mysterious estranged Tío Bruno (John Leguizamo), the family members secrets that no one will talk about, and also what is in ~ stake if they’re revealed—or, perhaps also worse, continue to be buried.


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(L-R) Co-directors Byron Howard and Rich Moore and producer Clark Spencer, winners of the finest Animated feature Film compensation for Zootopia, attitude in the push room throughout the 89th yearly Academy Awards in ~ Hollywood & Highland center on February 26, 2017, in Hollywood, California.


“What our film is trying come say is the you’re only getting this sliver of knowledge of the human being closest come you,” writer and also director Jared bush tells The everyday Beast. “You have to ask those questions. And at the same time, as soon as asked those questions, you need to be vulnerable enough to be able to answer them.”

Bush and co-director Byron Howard had previously operated together ~ above Zootopia, the Oscar-winning animated feature from 2016 around an underestimate rookie bunny police officer who works come uncover, against odds and expectations, a substantial conspiracy. Their goal was to evolve and add depth of personality to the idea of what a “talking animal” movie can be. Both lifelong musicians, they next wanted to use those same principles to the tradition of animated musicals.

Bush had previously worked with Lin-Manuel Miranda on Moana. The multi-hyphenate creator had involved him and Howard v the lofty, however vague desire to do a Latin American musical for Disney. What followed was a five-year collaboration rooted in family exploration, cultural community-building, and copious research.

Once they came down on the idea of setting the movie in Colombia, a location renowned together the crossroads because that the diversity of Latin culture, the trio, together with Miranda’s father, Luis, traveled to Colombia come soak in the feeling of place. After that experience, they activate from a position in i m sorry authenticity would certainly be key.


When Encanto premieres, it may rank together the most monumental initiative from Disney come celebrate social authenticity, rooted steady in the Colombian experience. It’s also arriving at a time once demands for inclusivity aren’t just louder than ever, but scrutiny end whether it’s done appropriate is harsher, too.


The team hired Charise Castro Smith, who is Cuban-American, to occupational with castle on the script and serve together co-director. Beforehand in the process, before Colombia was even officially the setting of the film, Bush and Howard assembled what they referred to as the “Familia.” These were lunchtime gatherings that took place regularly over the year of production and also were born out of an open invite to Disney animation employees to comment on their families and also relationships, which became incredibly an useful as members whose family members are from different parts the Latin America sweet in.

Another source was what they dubbed the Colombian cultural Trust—a collection of journalists, architects, musicians, artists, documentarians, and even botanists who advised ~ above the authenticity the everything: accents, skin color, the music, the miracle realism, house design, wardrobe, and an ext intimate things, like how family members members can talk to every other, what they can eat, and details down to just how Mirabel’s curls might fall.

After presenting the exclusive footage to those gathered at the Savannah movie Festival, shrub sat down through The everyday Beast come preview much more of the film.

Encanto is Disney Animation’s 60th title, but, as a milestone, it’s far-reaching beyond a number. The level of cultural representation is historic, and also its message around family runs deeper than some can expect from the studio. Bush talks around the pressures of gaining it right and also why, that hopes, in enhancement to being swept away by the glorious Colombian culture celebrated, Encanto might serve as a tiny bit of family members therapy for all of us.


I’m yes, really interested in the beginning of the “Familia” group that to be recruited from across the company. That’s obviously not a normal practice for a studio like this. What was the offer you offered to recruitment this group?

Knowing the we wanted to begin with families, us really just said, “Okay, who desires to come and also talk around the families?” and it was a the majority of people. But we additionally wanted come hear family through a Latine, Latinx lens, i beg your pardon is yes, really important. What we discovered was that there’s this unbelievable universality that everyone had with your families. Ns think early on on, because that a many us, us realized the a most times in the past, Disney may have actually talked around family as “it’s always going to it is in great.” and we said, yes, the is great. But what are the much more complex, difficult things to speak about? and how can this movie do that?


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You said during your presentation that the beginning point for all of this study was looking right into your family and digging into the points that you hadn’t known about them.

I was blown away, actually. My father is rather of a historian and also has pages and pages—like hundreds, countless pages—of family members history. I was initially thinking, “What am ns gonna learn around my family members from 100 years ago?” What ns did not mean was to discover out about my family members now.

What did girlfriend learn about your household now?


One that the key conversations the actually readjusted things a lot and really notified this movie was when I was talk to my sister. My older sister, in college, was an impressive athlete, a gymnast… choose crazy amazing. She additionally wanted to be an artist. And I to be saying to she that ns was therefore thankful the our parental let me move from Maryland come Los Angeles v no plan, that they would simply say, “Go follow her dreams.” and also she was like, “Yeah, that’s no what mom and dad did because that me.” i realized, together the earliest child, she was sort of a guinea pig of what ns got, and that her experience farming up was very different from mine. It had never developed to me. I was in my forties once I realized simply how different our childhoods had actually been. That literally go out my mind.

Did you unearth any kind of other secrets, favor Mirabel go in the film?

I learned stories about my granny on mine mom’s side and how she grew up. They were stories where it feels prefer you’re analysis something from someone else’s family. There to be a story about someone who maybe they thought he either passed away or disappeared or gained taken come witness custody. I was like, what is happening? however it was all best there. I just never believed to questioning those questions, i m sorry is what our film is trying come do—you’re gaining this sliver of expertise of the world closest come you. You need to ask those questions. And also at the very same time, as soon as asked those questions, you have to be vulnerable sufficient to have the ability to answer them.


“You need to ask those questions. And also at the exact same time, when asked those questions, you need to be vulnerable sufficient to be able to answer them.”
I haven’t watched the complete film, but I need to imagine themes might center about how, yes, that scary to find out the darker, more uncomfortable parts around your family. Yet maybe it’s actually healing, too.

Oh, yeah. I’d say that for this movie. Other we certainly want come talk about was, yes, several of those things room really hard. But it offers you one unbelievable window into the human being that you love, and also an amazing amount of empathy. I think, honestly, so countless of united state don’t display ourselves completely out that fear, or because it’s uncomfortable, or yo’'re just worried the you’ll be judged. You’re holding all of these things, but those points really are actually what define you a lot of the time. Yet you simply don’t share it.


In so countless Disney animated films, particularly ones that have young girls as protagonists—typically young princesses—the suggest of the story is the thing that makes them special, or odd, or magical. It’s practically subversive in this instance for Mirabel’s thing to be the she isn’t special, at the very least not in the eyes of those around her.

Something I can really relate to no issue where i am, but definitely in ~ Disney Animation, is that ns constantly feel choose I’m surrounded by every these extraordinary superheroes and I nothing feel choose I measure up up. It is something we talked about a lot early on on and also realized, oh, ns think everybody feels the way. Ns think that’s an ext the default. An ext than “I to be awesome” and “I’m king of the world” is like, “I think every these other civilization have that figured out, and also I don’t.” certainly with society media, that’s exactly how it is. So ns think having a personality that might be us, that might really it is in the flawed, imperfect, plain one among the extraordinary yes, really felt like something relatable. All of our movies room our therapy to some extent, and that’s what this was for me.


Especially in 2021, when something like this comes out from Disney, it puts a major spotlight on the initiatives toward authenticity and cultural representation—and accuracy. I’m curious come hear an ext about the formation of the Colombian cultural Trust. What concerns or anxieties did you have, perhaps particularly as a white creator, once it concerned making certain this was done right?

Well, they to be big. I think what a lot of world don’t know is us didn’t start thinking that us were walking to set this movie in Colombia. As soon as Byron and also Lin and I an initial started, Lin just said, “I desire to do a Latin American musical because that Disney.” that’s all us had. That could have been set anywhere. Yet we essential to discover a place that felt like a genuine location. Us didn’t want to invent a fantasy location. We want somewhere where normally you’d have all these different people. We wanted to discover a place where us felt prefer we could carry as countless different varieties of people, ethnicities, cultures, music, art, everything, and it would certainly feel organic. And also Colombia preserved on comes up together the location to carry out it.

And from there, i guess, started a five-year crash course in learning around Colombia and Colombian culture?


That’s why it to be so vital to have actually both the “Familia” group and also the Colombian social Trust. Ns think a most people believe that those teams come in and basically tell united state what we’re not doing right. It’s actually not that. We’re every in that together, do the efforts to construct something as a group. So ns think it was about having an immense amount of trust through everyone so that anyone can say whatever they desire and, even much more importantly, deserve to bring brand-new things to the table. It’s not simply saying, “Oh, that shouldn’t look like that. That must look favor this.” the was, “Have you taken into consideration doing this? because this would feel yes, really good, or could really, yes, really resonate.”


At what point did the principle of encantos get in the mix as something to develop this stare around?

I have to offer credit come the “Familia” group. That come from that team we speak about. Us were really excited around magical realism, and we obviously read a lot of those works. However in among our “Familia” groups, one member talked about a book that referenced several of these pueblos mágicos, which space what room sometimes referred to as magical towns. They’ve been sort of spiritual areas forever. She stated they contact them encantos. She confirmed it to us in the book. Byron and also I looked at each other and were like, it is the surname of the movie. It is what it is right there. That could have only taken place from the group.

Is that when the idea that the residence would it is in magical and also a key character come about?

I want to to speak we had actually a miracle house earlier than that. However I execute remember us were at a museum in long Beach law research, called MOLAA, the Museum of Latin American Art. This was at an early stage on. Us didn’t have actually magic in the movie yet. Ns remember see a picture of Frida Kahlo. That was one of the couple of color photos they had. She was standing beside two deer. There was something around the way that she to be standing through them, and the method they’re interacting with her, prefer she had actually this link with animals and also could actually connect with them. I was like, oh, wait a minute. Probably our personalities can have actually magic. We knew we were going come have household archetypes. Maybe we might flush lock out and also make lock something a small bit much more fantastical.


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One thing people are already picking increase on simply from the town hall the trailer is the the personalities have a range of skin colors. There are dark-skinned Afro-Latino personalities prominently featured. Complying with the recent backlash Lin-Manuel Miranda received for not featuring black color Latinx personalities prominently in In the Heights, civilization seem to be grateful for that.

That was critical, and something that we talked about with the “Familia” group from the beginning. It is something we heard constantly, that there’s a huge, broad range. If you’re going to tell a story around a family, bring as numerous of those human being into the story as you probably can. Especially in Colombia, yet in the Latin neighborhood itself, that a very wide spectrum, and also that’s miscellaneous that we haven’t always put on screen. That was vital to us.

What go you discover from the process of make Moana and also the power, but likewise the responsibility, of placing on screen characters that room from backgrounds, cultures, and with skin tones that hadn’t been seen before on a Disney scale?

Widening your perspective is vital and provides the movie better. I think that the trickiest thing is not relying top top what is intellectually correct, and more what feel right. Like, in your bones correct. Those are very different things. That was really vital for this movie.

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Finally, what go this movie average to you?


I think a most us need to understand our families better. Family might be her actual family. It can be your friends. It could be your community. I think, together people, we don’t really watch each other all the time. So i’m hoping that people will watch this and also want come ask questions. That’s really crucial to me. For Mirabel’s journey, special, a character who feels ordinary among all these extraordinary members of her family, the really hits home for me. I hope that human being realize not just are they special and also unique and extraordinary for different reasons, yet I hope they will see that the person throughout the way who looks prefer they obtained it every together most likely doesn’t either. They’re also going through their very own struggles. I’m hoping that human being will consider thinking around that, asking them this questions, or offer them a break. Shot to at least understand and also realize that you’re only seeing this tiny, small piece the somebody. If we might see more, it’s a way for united state all to connect far better and try to know each various other better.