On Nov. 11 and 12, Disney’s Encanto takes over the Hollywood Bowl. The live-to-film concert experience is set to reunite the original cast, who will be accompanied by a full orchestra and 50-person orchestra for one big animated film-meets-live-performance spectacular. Ahead of the sold out performance, we caught up withCarolina Gaitán, who plays Pepa Madrigal, to talk more about the Hollywood Bowl takeover, the virality of “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” and her love for Los Angeles.
On an Instagram Story, you said this is probably the biggest show you’ve done in your life. How are you feeling?
It's the kind of nerves that you need to have when you do these kinds of things and when you love what you do. And I've been doing this since I was a child, and of course this is iconic. The Hollywood Bowl is something that who doesn't dream of performing there? And this show is going to be very special because people are going to have the chance to be part of it. It's going to be interactive, it’s going to have VR, it’s going to have more than 60 musicians on stage, more than 50 dancers. It's beautiful. It's plenty of different instruments from my country, so the sounds that people are going to hear are different kinds of sounds. And all the cast members of Encanto are gonna be here.
You're going to see a huge Bruno when we sing “We Don't Talk About Bruno,” like a seven-foot Bruno. Kids are going to go crazy about it. And then butterflies are going to be flying all over the place and the monkeys. So even more than just watching the movie, there are going to be many surprises.
What was it like for you, after Encanto came out, to see “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” go viral?
It was insane. I didn't think that it was going to be like that. I don’t think anyone was thinking that specifically that song was going to be what it was. I remember that every single character had their own song. And they were like, “And this is yours.” And then I looked at the lyrics and I was like, “It is not just me. It's gonna be the whole cast here. So maybe it is not going to be that important because I'm not the only one that is going to sing the song.” And then this crazy thing happened, so it's been beautiful to just do what you love to do and put all your passion in without expecting that much.
As a Colombian artist, what has it meant to you personally or to your career to be part of not only a movie as beloved as an Encanto, but one that celebrates Colombian families and culture?
Today I was rehearsing here from my room, and I was thinking that this is so important, so meaningful for us as Latinos and Colombians because this is going to be a Colombian and Latino celebration on one of the most iconic stages in the world. So for us who have been pushing hard for inclusion and diversity, we feel that this is now giving us the chance to say what you need to say and to express ourselves and to show everybody what we are with our music, our sounds, our dancing, our rhythms, our culture. It's such a great opportunity for us and for me, and I'm so humbled and happy to have this chance to be here.
On Instagram, you said you have such gratitude for L.A. What do you love about the city?
I remember the first time that I came; it was seven years ago. It was my first time and I need to tell you that I think if I knew two words in English, it was “so much.” I was filming a series in Spanish. It was an important one. It was called Alias el Mexicano and I remember that our director— I don't know how— he made it possible that they closed Hollywood Boulevard for us for at least three minutes. We did the scene in those three minutes. And I remember seeing the stars and I was like, “Oh my god. This is the first time of many, I hope.” And then I came again and I studied the Meisner technique and I started auditioning, I studied dancing here and then I studied English at UCLA. And then I lived here for a year and a half, and then went back to my country.
I went back to my country and they told me that I was selected for this movie, Encanto. And then all this happened. So it's been magical and I just have gratitude for the city because it's full of surprises. I think it's cool to tell people that— even though LaLa Land tells you that it is almost impossible, it is one in a million— if you work hard and if you study and if you really push your career and if you really have something important to tell, it happens. Someday. It Happens. Something important happens. So just keep trying and keep dreaming.
The American Music Awards take place later inNovember. How does it feel to have “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” nominated?
Oh my god, it's crazy because when I saw the nominations, it's like you are next to Adele and then you're next to Justin Bieber and then you're next to Dua Lipa and Elton John. It's amazing. I think Lin Manuel Miranda’s work behind all this is really important to mention because I feel so privileged to be picked by this ultra creative team that is behind Encanto and to be part of this and to have that feeling of being nominated next to Adele. So for us, Columbians and Latinos, this is such a great moment for us to celebrate what is happening in the United States, making these inclusive selections and making us part of something big.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Encanto Live-To-Film Concert Experience will be available to stream on Disney Plus in December.
Photography by: Giorgio Del Vecchio