What if Disney’s ‘Encanto’ were a Filipino telenovela?

Images: Rel Disenyo / Junrel Bardon
Images: Rel Disenyo / Junrel Bardon

The magic of Encanto has clearly swept the country as Pinoy fans found a way to watch the newest Disney film even without a Disney+ subscription. And despite the fact that it’s set in Colombia, local audiences related to its themes of love, family (plus lots of music) — so much so that some pretty famous people have already cosplayed as the movie’s characters.

Yet in the vein of Filipinos remaking beloved foreign films and TV shows, what if there was a live-action adaptation of Encanto? Negros Occidental-based artist Junrel Bardon of Rel Disenyo took matters into his own hands by reimagining the movie into a telenovela — featuring his dream casting for the Madrigal sisters.

Social media loved the digital artist’s manipulation of Mirabel, Isabela, and Luisa — the sisters at the heart of the story — featuring popular Pinays such as Maine Mendoza, Nadine Lustre, and Hidilyn Diaz respectively (because no one else can be Luisa, let’s face it).

Aside from flawlessly superimposing their faces onto the characters, he took it one step further and gave their outfits a local twist.

When asked what inspired him to come up with the artwork, Rel told Coconuts, “I really enjoyed the movie and after watching it, I somehow saw similarities (between) Filipino and Colombian culture when it comes to family values and outfits. And (while watching), I really thought that Isabela Madrigal looked like Nadine Lustre in real life. That’s when I thought of making a live-action-inspired art with a Filipino cast, with Filipino traditional outfits.”

Nadine Lustre as Isabela Madrigal in Disney’s Encanto. Image: Rel Disenyo

Rel added that Nadine was the first he cast in his mind as aside from their physical resemblance, he knew that Nadine was also a singer.

“After Isabela, I searched for other famous Filipina personalities that really fit the role of Mirabel and Luisa. I really considered the physical and their real-life personality.”

Maine Mendoza as Luisa Madrigal in Disney’s Encanto. Image: Rel Disenyo

Rel told Coconuts that he immediately thought of Maine Mendoza as Mirabel because of her comical breakout stint as Yaya Dub on Eat Bulaga and her bubbly personality, while Hidilyn Diaz was “unquestionable” as Luisa. “Aside from her strong physique like Luisa’s, she carried the whole country, the Philippines, to (reach) its first Olympic Gold Medal, (just like how) Luisa carried the responsibility and burden of her family.”

Hidilyn Diaz as Luisa Madrigal. Image: Rel Disenyo

Aside from Encanto, Rel has a real affinity for adding a Filipino face to other beloved TV and film characters such as Game of Thrones, which he regularly shares on his YouTube channel, Rel Disenyo. He said that this all stems from the desire to see more Pinoy talent in similar productions.

Rel, who began his artistic journey in high school but shifted to digital art in 2016, has clearly given some real thought into this dream casting and mentioned that he had plans of completing his “live-action adaptation.”

READ: Hidilyn Diaz cosplays as Encanto’s Luisa Madrigal, and the resemblance is uncanny

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