Walt Disney Animation’s latest classic film is “Encanto”, which tells the tale of an extraordinary family, the Madrigals, who live hidden in the mountains of Colombia, in a magical house, in a vibrant town, in a wondrous, charmed place called an Encanto. The magic of the Encanto has blessed every child in the family with a unique gift from super strength to the power to heal—every child except one, Mirabel (voice of Stephanie Beatriz). But when she discovers that the magic surrounding the Encanto is in danger, Mirabel decides that she, the only ordinary Madrigal, might just be her exceptional family’s last hope.
Recently, I got to speak with one of the film’s producer, Clark Spencer, where we discussed how different making “Encanto” was during a pandemic, how he feels about the film being released in cinemas for Thanksgiving and on Disney+ at Christmas, plus if we could see some more “Encanto” content on Disney+ in the future.
Check out the exclusive interview below:
Roger: Could you give us a general idea of what Encanto is all about?
Clark : Encanto tells this story of a family, the Madrigals, who live in this mountainous community of Colombia, and it’s really a magical place they live. It’s called an Encanto and everyone in the family has been blessed with a gift, whether it’s the power of strength or the power of healing, everyone has a gift, but one, Mirabel Madrigal. She’s the only child who didn’t get one, and it’s her journey to try to understand, why didn’t she get one? Through this journey of discovery, she’s going to understand, actually we all have something extraordinary within us, we just may not see it, and that’s the thematic of it that I really deeply love.
Roger: That’s cool. I was going to ask, obviously, over the last two years, it’s been very different, so how was it different making this movie than previous animated films?
Clark: I’ve had the privilege to work on five animated features for Disney animation from Lilo and Stitch all the way through Zootopia, and all of those films we created under one roof, in a building together. Animation’s an incredibly collaborative medium, but with this production Encanto, when we actually started production, we had moved to our homes. Over 650 artists separated from each other, working from their homes, balancing work with family, with animals that might be showing up in the middle of meetings, made it a challenge, and it wasn’t anything that if you had asked me, could you do this, I would’ve said it was possible, but what is extraordinary about a) the human spirit and b) with technology is that, people who are passionate about something, we’ll figure out a way to get it done.
When I look at the end result, I think it’s truly stunning what got created, and I’m so proud of it. It’s probably the most visually complex movie we’ve ever made. It’s a complex story from the standpoint that there’s 12 characters we have to track. We have eight songs from Lin Manuel Miranda. There are a lot of elements to this film and it’s just come together so beautifully.
Roger: Yeah, it is a fantastic film, and obviously with the movie coming out for Thanksgiving next week, and then it’s going to be arriving on Disney+ on Christmas Eve, I will say, how exciting it is that so many people are going to get to enjoy it this holiday season.
Clark: I think this is so exciting, which is we get two moments to share this film with the world. One, when we release it theatrically on November 24th around the world and then we have this incredible moment on December 24th, where we’ll hit Disney+ where audiences can see it together, and it’s about making sure that our films and our stories are where our audience are in terms of their ability to watch it. I think this is such a great film to watch during the holiday season. It’s a story about family. I think holidays are always about family. It’s a story about trying to say, do we really know who our family is? Do they know who we are? It opens the door for conversation, which is kind of the perfect moment during the holiday season to try to get to know each other a little bit better. What do we really know about our family members? It’s joyous. It’s funny. It’s got music to it, but it’s deeply emotional, too. I hope the whole family comes together and watches it.
Roger: I know I’m going to be making all my family watch it on Christmas Day. Is there going to be any further adventures of the family, because I’d love to see that at some point.
Clark: One of the amazing things about Disney+ is it gives us that opportunity to extend our stories, to bring characters and worlds back to the audience, but also emotionally, it lets us do it ourselves because one of the hardest things in making a movie, you spend five years creating these stories and these films, is to say goodbye. Right now, as Encanto gets released to the world, it’s that moment, bittersweet, which is we’re excited to share with the world, but we also know it’s the end of our journey, but with Disney+ it doesn’t have to be, and that is the exciting thing. When I look at what we’re currently creating for Disney+, we have Zootopia plus we have Baymax, so coming from the world of Zootopia and coming from the world of Big Hero 6. We have Tiana and Moana, both long form series with music that just is going to be fantastic. We get that chance again. We get the opportunity to revisit these characters and these stories that we love so deeply and hopefully, let our audience get to experience them again, too.
Roger: I’m really hoping we see a little bit more. My final question really is, if you could have once special gift, what would it be?
Clark : Oh God, that is such a great question. I think that I always, not to go to the super emotional side of it all, because there would be a lot of fun gifts you could have in life. I always feel like the gift of bringing people together would be great. I think that at all times in our life, whether you’re five years old or you’re 25 years old or you’re, I won’t say how old I am, my age. It is about trying to ensure that we all really understand and respect and have empathy for each other. In a way, I think that would be a gift to bring to the world.
Roger: Thank you so much for taking the time out to speak to me today. I really enjoyed the movie. Can’t wait for everyone to watch it.
“Encanto” opens in cinemas this Wednesday 24th November 2021 and will be coming to Disney+ on Christmas Eve.
Are you looking forward to watching “Encanto” this holiday season?
Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom.