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Magic was in the air on Wednesday evening at Hollywood Boulevard’s El Capitan Theater for the premiere of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Encanto. Set on a purple carpet, the Encanto voice cast and crew — many of whom were meeting in-person for the very first time — gathered for a celebration of family, music and Colombian culture.
Encanto follows the Madrigals, a magical family who live in the mountains of Colombia in a charmed village called “the Encanto.” Every child in the family is blessed with a unique gift except for Mirabel (voiced by Stephanie Beatriz).
“I never in a million years could have imagined this moment at all,” Beatriz told The Hollywood Reporter on the carpet. “For many of us in the United States, and all over the world, you watch media, you watch TV, you watch films, and you go, ‘Wow, I love that story. I connect so much with that hero. Too bad there’s nobody that looks like me as the hero.’ And that is changing. The world is changing and part of that change is insanely iconic forces like Disney Animation deciding that they’re going to set their movie in Colombia about a Colombian family.”
Directed by Byron Howard, Charise Castro Smith and Jared Bush, Encanto’s songs were written by Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and accompanied by musical scoring from Germaine Franco — the first-ever female composer to score a Walt Disney Animated Studios film.
“The idea of Colombia, [it’s] an amazing place: the environment, the music, the people, the culture. I think a lot of us miss that because we hear the other side of it,” Franco said, referencing the country’s political unrest.
“[Encanto] shows all the kindness of my country,” added Mauro Castillo, a Colombian native who voices Felix in the film. “I always dreamed to be in the cast of an animated movie, but this is too much for me. It’s about Colombia! It’s a chance to share more about our diversity.”
“As a Latina woman, I’ve always grown up obsessed with Disney films and I’ve always wanted to meet a family that felt closer to mine,” said cast member Jessica Darrow, who voices character Luisa. “I didn’t know that I would have more tears to cry but they just keep coming, surprisingly.”
Moana star Auliʻi Cravalho, who voiced the titular character of the 2016 hit Disney animated film, was also in attendance at the premiere.
“With representation, we just get even more vibrant films,” said Cravalho. “Walking this carpet and hearing everyone cheer for their favorite voice actor and speaking in Spanish. It’s just such a celebration of culture.”
As for Encanto, Cravalho is optimistic for the success of her fellow Disney friends and family. “Fingers crossed for the Oscar this year because we got snubbed with Moana,” she laughed. “I’m holding out on that EGOT for my guy [Miranda, who also wrote songs for the Moana soundtrack].”
Although the premiere did not require masks while on the carpet, proof of vaccination and on-site COVID-19 testing were required for all attendees. Prior to the start of the screening, Colombian singer Carlos Vives performed for the crowd.
Encanto hits theaters exclusively on Nov. 24.
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