60th Disney animated film, Encanto is currently in theaters. We met its directors, who reinvented Mickey’s recipe.
It’s a tradition with Mickey Mouse. If we have tended to forget it, the end of the year is a big meeting for the firm with big ears. For years now, Disney has made it a point of honor to offer a new film as Christmas approaches. This year, the studios are offering us a trip to Colombia, alongside Mirabel and all its smala.
The Madrigal family have been blessed. For several generations, each member of this family has been offered a gift during a special ceremony. All ? Not really, little Mirabel is the only one who did not have power. But when the Encanto’s magic is threatened, she is convinced that it is destined to save her.
A colorful journey
This is the first time that Disney has set down its suitcases in Colombia. 5 years ago, Byron Howard and Jared Bush decided to meet around a new project, some time after the release of Zootopia. The two filmmakers quickly agree on the story they want to tell, that of a family and the links that unite each of its members.
For this, they decide to center their plot around one and the same place, a magical house. If this unity of place should logically facilitate their task, the two filmmakers quickly faced a problem: that of making the film a showcase of Latin culture while little exploring the country in which the story takes place. Byron Howard explained to us that this is where the idea came from to use the house to explore all of its lands, rather than writing an initiatory journey.
“We went to Colombia and found out how vast it is. We wanted to represent the country as much as possible and the house was the best way to do it. We had the idea of using the rooms to represent different places in Colombia. Antonio’s Room is inspired by the Chocó-Darién forest, while Isabella’s room represents the Medellin Flower Festival. ”
A family affair
This diversity does not apply only to the decorations. Encanto’s story is less that of Mirabel than that of her entire family. For director Charice Castro Smith, the main challenge of the film was to explore the bonds that unite all the characters and allow everyone to identify with these archetypes. “You have the big sister, model child, perfect and who never does anything wrong; the strong and responsible sister who has the impression that she has to carry everything and then there is Mirabel, this young girl who speaks from an open heart. She is tender, sweet, weird at times and funny. The goal was to give them all the opportunity to shine. ”
A challenge in times of pandemic
This bond, which unites the different characters, is also at the heart of the creation process, explains Byron Howard. It is also their friendship that gave birth to Encanto: The Fantastic Madrigal Family. “I love working with this guy (Jared Bush editor’s note). We met, what, ten years ago? And from that moment I had the impression that he was a hidden brother. 5 years is a lot of years spent developing this project, but I think it’s because we work with people we love. ”
During the pandemic, Byron, Jared and Charice as well as all the teams had to find another way to communicate. This is what the producer of the film Yvette Merino explains to us.
“A lot of people thought it would be a matter of weeks, but of course things didn’t turn out like that. When we found out it was going to be further than we expected, we had to find a new way to do it, as animation is a very collaborative process. That was one of the big challenges, to keep that common inspiration when they can’t see each other. We made it so that everyone could have a way of connecting with other team members, of having a constantly open zoom conversation to chat. ”
The least we can say is that despite the distance, Disney has managed to hatch its magic with Encanto: The Fantastic Madrigal Family. It remains to be seen if this whole little family will return to our screens for an animated series or a film. Disney likes to capitalize on its successful licenses. For Yvette Merino, everything in its time. “We’re focused on this one so far, it’s been a lot of work. We are always open to see where the world takes us. We create these stories and these universes to live in for 90 minutes and as lovers of the 7th art and we would like to see how this story continues. But for now, we are not there yet ”.
In the meantime, you can find Encanto now in the cinema.
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