ENCANTO. Disney’s latest animated film, Encanto, comes out on 33 november 2021. Meeting with directors Jared Bush, Byron Howard, and co-director Charise Castro Smith.
Get ready to discover the fantastic Madrigals! Encanto, the latest animated film from Disney studios, tells the daily life of this Colombian family, each member of which is endowed with extraordinary magical powers… with the exception of Mirabel, who must find her place among the other Madrigals. This cartoon, in theaters on 24 november 2021 , dissects the complexity of family relationships as a Disney film has never dared to do so far, while offering a stunning visual spectacle.
Unsurprisingly, it is the pundits of Mickey’s studio who are at the helm of Encanto. The animated film is directed and written by Byron Howard (Zootopia) and Jared Bush (Vaiana, Zootopia). Charise Castro Smith, who has worked on projects such as The Haunting of Hill House (producer) or Raya and the Last Dragon, completes the team as co-director. All three agreed to answer our behind-the-scenes questions about the latest Disney movie. Find their interview below.
How the idea of the plot of Encanto came to you, and how did you come to write the character of Mirabel?
Jared Bush: Byron and I were finishing Zootopia, we knew then that we wanted to make an animated musical film together. I had just finished writing Vaiana with Lin-Manuel Miranda [Hamilton, Le retour de Mary Poppins…] and he confided to us that he wanted to make a Latin American sung animated film. We started looking for what we had in common: a large, extended, complicated, sometimes difficult but also wonderful family. The more we discussed it, the more we realized that we didn’t know that much about our family members, when we were convinced of the contrary. This idea that maybe we didn’t know each other that much in our respective families pushed us to tell this story, which deals with differences in perception. Once we had Charise Castro Smith join us, we were able to combine these themes with the tradition of magical realism that she found in Colombia. it allowed us to tell a story that was both epic and intimate.
What were your cultural influences and inspirations ?
Charise Castro Smith: We were very inspired by Colombia and this tradition of magical realism. But we were also guided by the complexity of the family relationship. The central problem of this story is a trauma that took place a very long time ago but which still impacts the life of each of the characters, fifty years later. It was one of the influences that really inspired us: to stage without restraint all the complexity and the beauty of family relationships, then to mix it all and bring it to the big screen.
What was the biggest difficulty encountered on this film? Or maybe the hardest scene to create?
Charise Castro Smith: We made this film during the coronavirus pandemic. Our production team therefore worked entirely from home. Normally, we are all together in the same building, there, everything is done in 800 different houses (laughs). Our producers have a lot of credit for having succeeded in moving us forward and for helping us to create in these very particular circumstances.
The scene that has evolved the most over time has certainly been the one where Mirabel sings her song, “Waiting on a miracle”. We had to do the whole movie first to find out what its emotional journey would be, and then go back and really set the tone and the content of that song, because it’s a pivotal moment in the movie. Lin-Manuel Miranda gets a lot of credit, again, because he really crafted a unique track compared to other Disney heroine songs. She is sincere, she comes from the heart. It’s a scene that changed a lot during the making of the film, but it was worth it.
What is your favorite Encanto song and why?
Byron Howard : Oh my god… Maybe “We don’t talk about Bruno”. When we first heard it, it was so catchy… It stayed in my head for two years and I’m still not tired of hearing it!
By showing the complexity of family relationships, the film almost seems to be addressed only to adults who can identify with these relationships… What is the message you have? wanted to pass on to your audience, and in particular to the youngest?
Byron Howard: How we perceive our family and how they perceive us is a difficult question to ask anyone, whether either an adult or a child. Sometimes, no matter how old you are, you don’t necessarily have more ideas on the subject (laughs). What I love about Encanto is that all these characters have several layers that make them complex: a resilience, tragic or happier experiences that they don’t necessarily talk about all the time, maybe because we don’t don’t ask them or because it’s not pleasant for them… I think there is a richness in family relationships that you don’t necessarily appreciate, unless you look for it.
That’s why we’re very lucky that this movie comes out during the holiday season, because it’s the most family-friendly Disney family movie. Families are going to get together, watch this film… We are very impatient to discover the discussion that may arise from Encanto: “Which Madrigal are you in the family? Are you the rock of the family, the one who creates disorder, the one who’s the gossip?” It’s an idea that amuses me a lot. Just the idea of bringing families together, that they discuss the film, it’s very exciting, and it can be done with adults as well as with children.