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John Leguizamo says Disney gave the 'Encanto' cast surprise bonuses because it was such a big hit

Palmer Haasch   

John Leguizamo says Disney gave the 'Encanto' cast surprise bonuses because it was such a big hit
  • John Leguizamo said that "Encanto" was such a huge success that he received a bonus from Disney.
  • Leguizamo played Bruno in the film, which tells the story of a Colombian family with magical powers.

Disney was apparently so pleased with the performance of its 2021 hit animated film "Encanto" that it gave members of the cast bonuses — at least, according to star John Leguizamo.

Leguizamo reflected on his career for the latest installment in Business Insider's Role Play series, where actors discuss their most iconic film and television roles. For Leguizamo, one of those was Bruno, the reclusive uncle from "Encanto," a Disney animated film about a Colombian family with magical powers.

"It was amazing," Leguizamo told BI. "It was such a big hit that we got bonuses that weren't in our contract — that's how big. Because Disney doesn't give you something that's not in your contracts."

"For them to give us a bonus on top of that after? Whew, you must have been huge," he added.

Disney did not respond to a request for comment sent to its general press line.

"Encanto" was indeed a massive hit. Disney+ said in March 2022 that subscribers who had watched the film streamed it an average of five times, with 180 million global re-watches since its launch. The Nielsen numbers show that it was a streaming hit as well: "Encanto" was the fifth-most watched program on streaming in 2022, falling only behind streaming television hits "Stranger Things," "NCIS," "Cocomelon," and "Ozark."

That's not to mention the breakout success of "We Don't Talk About Bruno," an ensemble number about Leguizamo's character written by Lin-Manuel Miranda. The song hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in February 2022 and stayed there for five weeks.

But past the numbers, Leguizamo told Business Insider that "Encanto" was so remarkable because of the specificity of its story.

"To be so specific, a Latin movie specifically about a Colombian family, and then to have what it looks like in my family, Afro-Latinos, indigenous Latinos in your family that look like that… It was so satisfying, and I'm sure healing, on so many levels," Leguizamo told BI.

The actor told BI that he had a blast working with the film's crew to shape his character, who reunites with his family at the end of the film after years of secluding himself for their protection. That's not even mentioning getting to sing a Lin-Manuel Miranda score.

"To work with Lin-Manuel Miranda, I mean, that's a dream come true," he said. "What a genius. He's a genius, if I can use the G-word.

"It was just such a talented crew," he continued. "I had so much fun improvising and coming up with this character that we made up together as we went along and made him hyper-sensitive, a Sigma male, a sensitive male figure."

There's been no official word on a sequel just yet, but Leguizamo didn't shut down the possibility of his involvement.

"Except I want it to be, all we do is talk about Bruno," he joked.

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