For Stephanie Beatriz, the true magic of Disney’s new film about an enchanted household in Colombia is its message of self-discovery.
The actress stars in the animated musical “Encanto” as the only resident of the fantastical Casa Madrigal without a superhuman ability.
“Many of us go through life looking around and going, like, everyone else is just out here doing the most, and incredible and shining, and who am I?” Beatriz told the Daily News. “Do I have anything special to add to the world? The answer is ‘yes,’ but it can take going on a very intense, adventure-filled journey to figure that out about yourself.”
The movie, in theaters Wednesday, depicts Beatriz’s Mirabel as kind and courageous, but self-conscious about her shortcomings in a family where others wield powers such as unbridled strength, acute hearing and the ability to understand animals.
When the magic flowing through their home starts to disappear, Mirabel sees an opportunity to step up as the hero.
“Sometimes in a family, we are maybe like, ‘Oh, she’s the older sister, so she’s the brave one.’ Or, ‘Oh, that’s the artistic one.’ Your family can often assign you a role based on your talents or abilities,” Beatriz said.
“The problem with that sometimes is, to your family, that’s who you are. ... The thing that this film explores is how family structures can sometimes hide you from yourself, meaning that your family expects X, Y and Z from you, but they don’t know that really the possibilities are endless.”
The film’s voice cast features numerous stars with Colombian heritage, including Beatriz, John Leguizamo, Diane Guerrero and Wilmer Valderrama.
Beatriz, 40, credits the movie’s makers for doing “an incredible amount of research” to authentically portray the country and its culture.
“They took very long and intense trips to Colombia, and collaborated with Colombian people and musicians and artists to help create this film,” Beatriz said. “You can see that in the film. Even just the animation is this lushness. Beauty, beauty, beauty everywhere. Every single shot in this film is incredibly gorgeous, and it’s got Colombia all over it.”