Lin-Manuel Miranda & Star Breaks Down Encanto's Luisa

In the latest Disney animated feature -- the sixtieth for the studio -- each member of the Madrigal family (on Abuela's side) develops some sort of magical gift. However, Mirable, the protagonist of Encanto, is the exception to the rule. While anticipated to receive a gift like her siblings and cousins, that gift skips her. Yet, it is Mirable who realizes that something is amiss with the family's magic, so she decides to solve this problem with the help of her family.

Mirable's eldest sister, Luisa, whose gift is super-strength, helps her in her quest. Every magically gifted member of the family helps out their community, and Luisa uses her strength to lift the likes of pianos, donkeys, and buildings. However, as the film progresses, there is more to Luisa under her tough exterior, which both voice actor Jessica Darrow and songwriter Lin-Manuel Miranda delved into during an Encanto press conference CBR attended.

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Miranda commented that Luisa's song, "Surface Pressure," was a "love letter/apology" to his older sister. "You make all your mistakes on the first kid," Miranda said. "That first kid also, inadvertently, always bears more responsibility than their younger siblings. To write from that perspective, and to write what that feels like, was really incredible. I think it reflects my sister in the sense that it's the toughest exterior in the family, and then actually the most sensitive underbelly underneath."

Continuing to dive into Luisa's song, Miranda remarked how Luisa feels like she has to hide that softer side of herself to keep up the appearance of being the strong, big sister. Darrow resonated with this side of Luisa. "I love Luisa so much, too, because of how much we are alike," Darrow said. "We are both tough crybabies. We got the tough exterior, but the soft, mushy, gushy center. We're very much the rock of both of our families. I think we definitely keep it all together. Whether it be family secrets or general moderation within the family. We take care of our sisters, our Mom, our Dad, Abuela. We would both do anything for our Abuela's. Her gift is super strength and that's both physical and emotional. She is the emotional superhero of the film."

Meet Luisa in Encanto this Thanksgiving in theaters.

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Caitlin Chappell (508 Articles Published)

Caitlin Sinclair Chappell is a writer turned editor at CBR. What started as a love for comics, film and television turned into a career after graduating with honors from Lewis & Clark College. Along with her work for CBR, she edits the in-development comic series Half-Dragon, and she read her short story, "The Kabbalist and the Golem," at the 2021 National Queer Arts Festival. Beyond writing and editing, she was the Film School Director at River Way Ranch Camp and the Assistant Director on the play Famous. She can be contacted at [email protected], and her social is @comiccookbook.

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