Skip to main content

Lin-Manuel Miranda Explains How Wild It Is Encanto’s ‘We Don’t Talk About Bruno’ Became The Movie’s Biggest Hit: ‘Least Likely Candidate’

Dolores in Encanto
(Image credit: Disney)

Lin-Manuel Miranda became a household name thanks to his prolific work on Hamilton, with a career that’s also extended to the big screen and even the director’s chair. One of his most recent hit is the Disney animated blockbuster Encanto, to which Miranda wrote the beloved songs. Now he’s opened up about how wild it is that “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” became the movie’s biggest hit, calling it the “least likely candidate.”

While there are plenty of bops throughout Encanto’s 109-minute runtime, the quirky ensemble number “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” has surprisingly become the fan favorite. This song features member of the supporting cast, gossiping about a character that we don’t really know. But despite this, it’s an ear worm that’s been made into countless TikToks and memes since Encanto arrived on Disney+. Lin-Manuel Miranda spoke about how remarkable it is that the variety number ended up resonating with the public, saying:

It's straight-up crazy, because it's an ensemble number with characters that are not really the main character, each getting solos. They overlap, and you kind of have to have seen the movie to understand what's going on. So it's just the least likely candidate for breakout success possible. I couldn't have engineered a more unlikely success, but again, it gets back to the biggest obstacle in this movie was hanging onto as many of these characters as possible and revealing them to each other in interesting new ways. I pitched this song as a proof of concept that we could hold them all, because I said, if we do a gossip number, we can hear from the other characters who aren't going to get their own solos.

Well, there you have it. It looks like “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” was key to the crafting of Encanto’s story and soundtrack, according to Lin-Manuel Miranda. The Family Madrigal is a big one, and there’s a large ensemble cast to service throughout the movie’s runtime. “Bruno” was a chance to flesh out the supporting characters, and prove that said cast could function properly throughout the animated flick.

Lin-Manuel Miranda revealed how the sausage gets made while in conversation with Collider about his work on Encanto. He has the potential to complete his EGOT with the upcoming Academy Awards, where he’s nominated for Best Original Song. But rather than “Bruno”, it’s the far more emotional track “Dos Oruguitas.” Luckily for fans of the movie, “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” is expected to be performed at the upcoming ceremony.

Indeed, many of the lead characters of Encanto aren’t featured in “We Don’t Talk About Bruno”, instead being given a solo elsewhere in the movie’s runtime. In fact some of the soloists heard in the track are nameless members of the ensemble. In the same interview, Lin-Manuel Miranda explained how the song ended up making fans of side characters like Camilo or Dolores. As he put it,

I can write a Dolores verse, I can write a Camilo verse, and we can hear what their musical voices sound like without devoting the real estate of an entire tune to them. That was literally the pitch. And the side result of that is you've got Camilo stans, and you've got Dolores stans, and it became actually this on-ramp for all these different folks, everyone has a different part. It's a karaoke number where everyone gets to, it becomes an all skate. I'm so thrilled and happily surprised by it, but it also, it makes people want to watch the movie so they can understand what the song's about.

He’s not wrong, as that’s exactly what has happened in the months since Encanto’s release. Personally I’m a Dolores stan, and will usually take her track when singing “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” in the car with friends. As a reminder, you can see the beloved musical number in its entirety below,

Having so many characters singing at the same time is a long standing tradition in musical theater. Affectionately called the revolutionary number in a reference to Les Miserables, Lin-Manuel Miranda has put his own take on the tradition with In The Heights’ “96,000” and Hamilton’s “Non-Stop.” We’ll just have to wait and see when Miranda writes another one of these bops.

Encanto is streaming on Disney+ now, as is Hamilton and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s work on Moana. Be sure to check out the 2022 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience. 

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his famous actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.