ETimes sat down with the directors to talk about the film, which has it all – art, magic, music and a lot of heart. From getting us into the process of making Disney’s first ‘ordinary’ heroine with glasses, to debating why Prince Charming is missing out on the action Disney Film set in India, and welcomed Oscar Buzz, producers do it all. Interview excerpts:
mirabelle madrigal She is the first Disney princess to have glasses, no magical powers, and she has bad hair… What was the idea behind her character, and how do you hope she’ll impress young girls and boys?
Jared Bush: Mirabelle is a really fun character. We started it five years ago and long ago, the idea that we would be surrounded by this magical, extraordinary family, but one member would be left out and have no magical gifts. In your life, you look around and everyone looks like they have this together and they have this great life, and you’re thinking ‘How do I measure up? It’s really hard!’
We wanted Mirabelle to embody those feelings because I personally feel that way all the time, and we wanted her to look like that too.
Yes, she is the first Disney heroine with glasses because the journey she goes on is to see her family differently… to see them as a whole and so we intentionally gave her glasses because it was part of her journey And wanted that to ripen in his character.
Her name is Mirabel. In Spanish, to see mira, therefore, was also intentional. And because she’s out, she may see her family a little bit differently and she has this different point of view.
But we also wanted her to be super funny, flawed, weird, a great singer, and all these wonderful things to make her stand out in the crowd. We want everyone to fall in love with him because he is us.
Speaking of magic and family, would you say there’s a Marvel superhero influence here? Given that they all have superpowers.
Byron Howard: One of the things we talked about five years ago was the ‘magical realism’ that tells stories so beautifully. Where real life influences and emotion influences magic. Then we started talking about family roles – rock (who takes whatever and never complains), ideal daughter or son (who seems like nothing is too difficult for them). Then thought of adding magical abilities to these qualities and a perfect way to talk about family roles that everyone can relate to. Also for Mirabelle, who has no specific gifts, being surrounded by extraordinary people where she has her own issues of self-worth and what she is bringing to the table for her family. So we thought of an interesting way to approach the family.
What do you think makes magic real?
Jared Bush: I think this is where magic is born out of emotion and need.
Do you have a favorite magician? And what was your approach to magic in this movie?
byron howard: I like Penn & Teller. But I think the magical properties of the Madrigal family are so unique that even the film looks at magic differently. It also calls into question the value of magic. Surely we don’t have that much magic in Disney movies and there is so much magic everywhere in the world. It was something that we experienced in Colombia, there is magic in the streets and we all really felt that there was something special about that country when we were there. Hope you all see in this movie.
There is no longer any Prince Charming in Disney movies or a knight in Shining Armour. Do you somehow feel that you are reducing the roles of men?
Jared Bush: I’m a father, I have three boys and it’s really important to have men and boys in movies. Every story is different and we always try to think ‘What does this film need?’
In our story, we knew that would be about Mirabelle and her grandmother. But you still have great characters like Theo Bruno, his uncle, who is very important in the story, or his younger cousin Antonio, or even Camilo who is super funny and one of my favorite characters.
So I think it’s very film-specific.
In “Zootopia,” Nick the Fox is one of my favorite male leads we’ve had over the years. It really comes down to what this specific story needs.
There is a lot of discussion about this film at the Oscars. How does that make you feel? And can we expect Disney movie sets in India?
byron howard: We would love to see a Disney movie set in India. Jared and I have both been huge fans of Indian culture from a long time ago and we’re going to have amazing filmmakers coming over the next 10 years telling stories from around the world that we’re excited about.
Nice to hear about the Oscars. We get happy whenever someone mentions an award. But really, we are excited for families to see this film, which we have been watching for the past five years, and for our families to experience it. We are proud of our film and music, the amazing work our crew has done and we hope families around the world enjoy it.
Do you hope this show becomes a Broadway show someday?
Jared Bush and Byron Howard: That would be amazing! Our entire film takes place in a house, it would be perfect for the stage, so if you can call someone, tell them they should.
let’s start with lin-manuel Miranda?
Jared Bush: Yes sure! I have my phone right here, let’s give that a shot.