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'Encanto' stars talk about their own magical families

Yong Chavez | TFC News Hollywood

Posted at Nov 29 2021 08:53 AM

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Central to the story of the animated film 'Encanto: A Magical World' is family.  

Wilmer Valderrama who plays Agustín, the father of the film's main character Mirabel, shares how his parents helped him realize his dreams.

"My father and my mother were so sweet to not call me delusional when I told them that I wanted to be an actor. I was14 to 15 years old. I could barely speak English. First of all, I didn't know how to speak English. So for them, it was like, 'no. Actors speak English. You're never going to be an actor, you know?' And so I was like, 'okay, well, then I gotta learn how to speak English first," Valderrama shares.

"As soon as I learned how to speak English, they're like, 'okay, but it's really hard, you know?' But the good news is that my dad's like, 'okay, let me see your report card.' As soon as he saw that I was getting good grades, it's like, 'okay, as long as you keep getting good grades, you can go and try to be an actor."

The film's Madrigal family includes Diane Guerrero, who plays the beautiful Isabel who can magically grow flowers. Guerrero says the love of her family, especially her favorite aunt, nourished her.

"My tía, my aunt Milena, had such a huge impact on my life as far as having a sense of imagination and the love that she brought to every family member, the generosity, the flavor, the music, the fun," Guerrero says.

Meanwhile, Jessica Darrow's character Luisa has super-strength, a trait that she says was inspired by her own sister. "She was my first best friend. She taught me what it meant to have this unconditional love and I definitely applied that to Luisa in playing her," Darrow notes.

The movie also stars veteran actor John Leguizamo, who believes the film's focus on Colombian and Latino culture was something to celebrate. Leguizamo says in terms of Latino representation in Hollywood, things have improved greatly but not as far as he'd like them to be.

"The 2020 census came out and said that we're almost 20% of the population. I think that's a good marker. I think we should be 20% of the faces in front of the camera and 20% of the face of executives and stories being told because that would be parity," Leguizamo asserts.

The movie is now showing in theaters in the US and comes out in the Philippines on December 8.