Terrific Tales from Encanto’s Vibrant Voice Cast

By Courtney Potter

Meet the Madrigals—a family who lives hidden in the majestic mountains of Colombia. Their home is an Encanto, a truly wondrous place brimming with enchantment that’s blessed every child in the clan with a unique gift… well, every child except one: 15-year-old Mirabel (voice of Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Stephanie Beatriz). Upon discovering 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.

With musical numbers by Tony® Award-winning and Oscar®-nominated songwriter Lin-Manuel Miranda, Encanto—Walt Disney Animation Studios’ milestone 60th animated feature—will begin enchanting audiences in just a few weeks’ time! Recently, D23 was lucky to hear directly from the majority of the film’s incredible voice cast, including Beatriz, John Leguizamo (voice of Bruno), María Cecilia Botero (voice of Abuela Alma), Diane Guerrero (voice of Isabela), Jessica Darrow (voice of Luisa), Angie Cepeda (voice of Julieta), Mauro Castillo (voice of Félix), Carolina Gaitán (voice of Pepa), Adassa (voice of Dolores), Rhenzy Feliz (voice of Camilo), and Ravi Cabot-Conyers (voice of Antonio). Read on for their thoughts, as well as a peek into why being a part of Encanto was so meaningful.

Beatriz on how she relates to her character, Mirabel:
“Mirabel doesn’t have a gift, which I find extremely relatable,” the actress explained, “because there have been many times in my life where I felt like I didn’t belong, I didn’t measure up, I wasn’t talented enough to be there. I had that sort of ‘imposter syndrome.’ But I also discovered by getting older, and working more and more on trusting myself, that I do have something to offer, and it is special—I am myself. Not everybody’s gonna love [it], that but the people that do are gonna love it really hard.”

She continued, “Disney has this incredible tradition of crafting [female] protagonists and their stories who are these girls and women who are really brave, really good at heart, want the best for everyone around them—and are willing to go on these sometimes really dangerous, crazy, magical adventures to get what they want. And I’m really proud to be part of that legacy—to honor the work of all of the women that have come before me that have been in this position, and also hopefully add something new to it as well.”


Leguizamo on voicing Bruno, one of the more mysterious members of the Madrigal family:
“Bruno is that relative that always says the wrong thing at every party,” admitted the Emmy® and Tony Award winner, chuckling. “[The one] who wrecks every holiday because they’re always talking too much.  That’s who I am. I’m Bruno… I had that bit of an issue. I was always talking too much, saying everything people were afraid to say; I would say it! My mom would say [in Spanish], ‘Please just be quiet, stop talking!’ I was the black sheep of the family. So, I relate to Bruno.”

Botero on feeling close to her character, the matriarch of the Madrigal family:
As the well-known Spanish-language television actress explained, “[Abuela Alma] is the one who [protects] the family, the one that keeps the family together… [And] I think I am the abuela, for all my nieces and everybody. What I really like about Abuela Alma is that she’s not a typical grandmother. She’s [strict] sometimes, but she also so tender and so lovely.”

Cepeda on falling in love with her character, Mirabel’s mother, Julieta:
“Julieta’s very kind, [and] she’s warm,” the actress explained, “and she cares so much about her family, and for the people in her community. She has this gift [where] she heals people with the food that she cooks, and she does that for all who need it. And she also has this special relationship with Mirabel; she knows how Mirabel feels about not having a gift, and [recognizes] the fact that she feels that she doesn’t belong—and she’s always there for her. I relate to that… I have a lot of nieces and nephews, and it’s so important for me to be there for them, and to try and [offer] some kind of guidance. Because I know how that feels—when you feel awkward, when you feel like you don’t belong, when you’re insecure. So, I try to be that rock in my family as well. Family’s everything for me. And I also love cooking!”

Darrow on why she embraces her character Luisa, one of Mirabel’s sisters:
“I love Luisa so much, because of how much we are alike,” she admitted, laughingly adding, “We are both tough crybabies, y’know? We’ve got the tough exterior, but a soft, mushy center. We’re [also] very much the rock of both of our families [like Angie mentioned], I think. We definitely keep it all together—whether it be family secrets or just general ‘moderation’ within the family. We take care of our sisters, our mom, our dad, our abuela. We would both do anything for our abuelas! Luisa’s gift is super strength, and that is both physical and emotional. [I think] she is the emotional superhero of the film.”


Guerrero on what she’s learned from her portrayal of Mirabel’s other sister, Isabela:
“Isabela’s gift is to make things grow: plants and beautiful flowers,” she explained. “And so, with this gift came the expectation that she just had to be ‘perfect’ and beautiful and ‘just so.’ She uses it kind of like a defense mechanism—this [gift] that has worked for her for so long. But I think she discovers that, when you’re growing up, and you’re an actual real human being,” she added, chuckling, “that perfection really isn’t sustainable. I really relate to that in my own life. I used to think that if you weren’t perfect—if you didn’t do things right—then that would just be the end of it, you know? I used to be so afraid to mess up and ask questions and seem like I was in trouble. I think I used it to protect myself [from that] for a long time, as I was growing up. But like Isabela, I’ve been trying to break free from that… I want to evolve.”

Gaitán, who voices Pepa, Mirabel’s aunt, on finding common ground with her character:
“I really can relate to Pepa because I’m a little bit [dramatic] as well,” said the actress and salsa singer. “Sometimes [I’m] a little bit like a drama queen. But most of all, I think it’s about vulnerability—not to be in control of everything. And I really love that about Pepa. She’s emotional, and she allows herself to be emotional. I think that that’s very beautiful about a person, and about a character. And that’s also a gift.  And I think [that relates to Colombia], the climate variety that we have. Pepa’s [Encanto] gift is that she’s always raining or thundering—and Colombia is like that, you know? One city is cold, and you can drive a few hours to another city and it’s super warm. It’s everything in Pepa, and everything about Pepa that I love. And, of course, the music [of the film] as well… I think Colombia deserves so much to be told [about] in this way—because we are all this. We are colorful, we are funny people, we are great people. And also, there’s something very particular that I can notice here in this movie, and it’s the magical realism; you can notice it in every single character.”

Castillo on how he brought his own life experiences to Félix, who married into the Madrigal clan:
“Félix is the soul of the party!” the actor and Latin Grammy® Award-nominated singer exclaimed. “He loves music, and he deeply loves his wife Pepa—and he admires every single member of the family. And he likes food a lot! He’s very much like me; I’m a salsa singer, and I love to dance and to show all the goodness of the Colombian Pacific, the region in Colombia that I’m from. The world capital of the salsa—la capital mundial de la salsa! So, this character has a lot of things in common with me… and I have a very special [bond] with Casa Madrigal and [whole] family.”


Adassa on portraying Dolores, Pepa and Félix’s oldest child:
The singer and actress admitted, “I absolutely love the character. I think that [directors] Byron Howard and Jared Bush and [co-director] Charise Castro Smith did an amazing job creating this character, because she has all the secrets; [her gift is that] she can hear everything. But sometimes, her well-placed heart is a little bit out of order. When she speaks up and she can’t help it… And I love her character, because even though she is a strong part of the family, sometimes she can [go] unnoticed… With Dolores, it’s just everything’s so loud that she has to maintain a certain composure to be able to deal with things around her, in her environment. She means well—she just [sometimes] puts her foot in her mouth!”

Feliz on the fun of bringing Camilo, Pepa and Félix’s shape-shifting son, to life:
“Camilo is someone who’s a little crazy, a little dramatic; someone who’s a lot of fun and has a lot of energy,” said the actor. “Camilo is this entertainer—he wants to make everyone laugh and have a good time. And I feel like that [too]; I’m an actor, so when you get that spotlight, it feels nice, it feels good! So, he’s kind of like that—he’s out there trying to get that attention; he was born for the spotlight. He has a good time, and he’s a lot of fun—but he loves his family.”

Cabot-Conyers on voicing Antonio, Dolores and Camilo’s brother and the youngest member of the Madrigal clan:
“He’s kind of an introvert,” he admitted. “But he also has a really big heart. [In my own life], I can talk with all different sorts of people… [During the film], Antonio finally gets out of his shell and is able to communicate with animals.”


Leguizamo on seeing his such robust Colombian representation on the big screen in Encanto:
“There were a couple of moments that really hit me hard,” the comedian and actor admitted. “As grown man, I was like, ‘Yo, my tears are welling up!’ Because [the film represents] how my Colombian family looks… I mean, it looked like my family—it looked like the way I grew up! And to see that, you just feel like, ‘Oh my god, we’ve arrived…’”

BONUS: Lin-Manuel Miranda on an early inspiration for his work on the film:
“I remember my father, Luis, telling us a story about his grandmother in Puerto Rico,” the Oscar nominee (Disney’s Moana) recalled. “She had lots of kids, and those kids married, and they all stayed under the same roof. And she ‘ruled’ with such certainty that people would bring their paychecks to her, and she would reallocate the wealth amongst the kids—the married couples; her children and grandchildren,” he added, laughing. “And that is the kind of rule that ended up informing Abuela Alma—who really loves her family dearly, but holds it super tight. That’s just where our story begins…”

Experience Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Encanto when it comes to U.S. theaters on Wednesday, November 24.