Enchanting 'Encanto' celebrates Latin culture with help from Lin-Manuel Miranda

BySandy Kenyon via KABC logo
Wednesday, November 24, 2021
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Sandy Kenyon previews the new Disney animated film "Encanto."

A new animated film opening in theaters in time for Thanksgiving features a family who lives in an enchanted house in a mythical place called "Encanto."

Each child in this family has been blessed with magical powers -- except for one daughter named Mirabel, and therein lies the heart of this enchanting tale.

The new picture is a musical with original songs from Lin-Manuel Miranda, who created "Hamilton."

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Miranda found success writing tunes for "Moana" and wrote more for this new musical.

"Encanto" is rooted in the culture of Colombia, just as "Coco" was firmly planted in Mexico. Both movies focus on family, and Miranda brought members of his real family to a screening on the Upper West Side.

"This is so much about sibling relationships," he said. "I drew on my relationship with my sister a lot, so I mean, I hope people like the movie, but I'm going to be watching my sister watching this movie."

Even more important to Miranda is the reaction of his two young sons.

"I have a 7-year-old and a 3-year-old boys at home, and they're the first and final audience," he said. "They will tell me, 'Daddy, this is boring,' or I'll catch them humming a song that they've heard me writing, and I'll say, 'OK, it got stuck in their head, we're in business.'"

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To write these tunes, the composer went to the source.

"Visiting Colombia and researching its music and culture was like meeting a cousin you've never met," he said. "There are things that our heritages share, and there are things that make it distinct. There's a family resemblance."

The family man has a way of making cast members feel welcome, said Ravi Cabot-Conyers, who provides the voice of Antonio, a young man who can talk to animals.

"He is so funny, so fun, so energetic, so kind," Cabot-Conyers said. "He helps people."

The two directors of "Encanto," Jared Bush and Byron Howard, made "Zootopia," and Howard co-directed "Tangled."

This great family entertainment from Walt Disney Animation Studios, owned by the same parent company as this ABC station.

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