- “My gift wasn't helping the family... but uh... but I love my family, you know?”
- ―Bruno Madrigal
Bruno Madrigal is a major character in Disney's 2021 animated feature film, Encanto. He is the only son and youngest child of Alma and Pedro Madrigal, with the gift to see into the future. Bruno's odd demeanor, affinity for rats, and often doomsaying visions had distinguished him as the "black sheep" of the Madrigals, resulting in his estrangement from the family. Following his disappearance, it became taboo to mention Bruno, who was reviled as a villainous figure by the townsfolk until his deep-rooted love for his family was unearthed.
- “My Tío Bruno they say he saw the future. One day, he disappeared.”
- ―Mirabel in "The Family Madrigal"
Bruno is the youngest of the fraternal triplets and the only son of Alma and Pedro, his siblings being Julieta and Pepa. In addition to being the brother-in-law of Félix and Agustín, Bruno is also the maternal uncle of Isabela, Dolores, Luisa, Camilo, Mirabel, and Antonio. When he was just born, their home was attacked and his family was forced to flee. After his father's death, a miracle was created that blessed the family with an enchanted house and protection from the raiders. Five years later, Bruno and his two siblings opened their magical doors in the house, revealing their powers. Bruno was given the ability to see into the future, which caused misery to his hometown because of his often cryptic visions and their bleak outcomes (such as supposedly having visions that a lady's goldfish would die, a man would grow a gut, and the town's priest would lose his hair). He also was in attendance at his sister Pepa's wedding to her husband Félix, and he tried to lighten the mood by joking that it "looked like rain." Pepa, however, believed he was sharing a vision, and her weather-related powers and anxiety caused her to unleash a hurricane on the previously-sunny wedding day.
Because of his unwelcome gift, he was considered the black sheep of the Madrigal family. Bruno stayed away from the family to such an extent that some of the young people in the family like Luisa, Camilo or Mirabel have very few memories of him. After a young Mirabel did not get a gift on the night of her gift ceremony, Abuela worried about the family’s magic and asked Bruno to see what the future showed. He had a vision with two possible outcomes: Mirabel in front of Casa Madrigal, one with the house intact and the other with the house breaking. Due to the typically negative outcomes of his prophecies, Bruno broke the vision slab and hid himself from everyone to protect Mirabel from being blamed.
His name was then considered taboo among his family (particularly to Pepa, who holds a grudge against him for “ruining” her and Félix’s wedding) and the townsfolk. However, Bruno loved his family too much to truly go away, so he stayed hidden in the walls of the house for 10 years and he spent much of his time within the walls patching up cracks as they manifested. Nobody knew his actual location except Dolores, who said nothing in his decade of absence despite her notoriety for being unable to keep secrets. But after Casita is destroyed and Mirabel reconciles with Abuela, Bruno returns to his family, who welcome him back with open arms. He later joins his family and the villagers in rebuilding Casita, implying that he has also reconciled with the townsfolk.
- The third of Alma’s triplets, Bruno has been estranged from the Madrigal family for as long as Luisa, Camilo, and Mirabel can remember. Gifted with the ability to see the future, he made honest but often doomsaying predictions that proved problematic for Abuela and the rest of the family so he disappeared, becoming the uncle nobody talks about.
As with the rest of the Madrigal family, Bruno was designed to reflect "family archetypes that are immediately relatable". Bruno was one of the characters in the film that had the most changes and designs before reaching his final version. The studio initially created Bruno as one of Mirabel's cousins before changing to her uncle. During the creation process, Bruno in other concepts was also originally going to have a bigger and fatter body, but his costume was always meant to be the old ceremonial outfit that he used to wear when he was having visions of the future for the people that came to see him. Another thing that was not changed, apart from his taste for rats and the theater, was his role as the Black Sheep of the family and to create his personality a lot of research was done on people who are confined and don't have human communication.
John Leguizamo, Bruno's voice actor, describes his character: "Well, Bruno is that relative that always says the wrong thing at every party, who wrecks every holiday, because they're always talking too much. And so, that's who I am. I'm Bruno. I'm that uncle that they try to get rid of. And they do get rid of him in this movie. And I relate to him because I had that bit of a issue. I was always talking too much, saying everything nobody wanted to – was afraid to say… I was the black sheep of the family, so I relate to Bruno."
Due to the nature of his gift of precognition, Bruno has been labeled as someone who “makes bad things happen” by both the village and his family when he is merely the requested bearer of the news. Despite being feared by almost the entire village, Bruno is kind-hearted, caring, fairly comical, and possesses a strong love and loyalty for his family. Although he is described as a monstrous and sadistic person, Bruno is actually a quiet, shy, and kind man who easily becomes nervous or suffers from anxiety, like his sister, Pepa. Bruno is introduced in the film as insecure and avoidant, and believes others’ accusations that his gift only brings problems. However, after he is fully re-accepted into his family, he becomes more cheerful and enthusiastic. Bruno is also shown to be gentle with animals in a way similar to his youngest nephew, Antonio. He befriended the rats living within the walls of Casa Madrigal, sharing what little food he has with them and enjoying their company. When the house crumbles, he takes the rats with him before making his escape. Bruno also takes quickly to Antonio’s animal friends, letting Chispi join the vision and allowing the coatimundi to hang from his shoulder. He was also good to the horse he presumably found and rode on to find Mirabel and Alma after Casita’s destruction.
As a result of living for ten years in isolation within the walls of Casa Madrigal, Bruno developed odd behaviors, such as knocking on wood, stumbling, muttering, and developing two alternate identities — "Hernando", who is “scared of nothing” and "Jorge", who makes spackle — to keep himself occupied in his isolation, along with befriending some rats to keep him company. Yet, despite claiming he is fine with his isolation from his family, Bruno actually misses them and longs to be with them, despite their negative perceptions of him. He also shares a complicated relationship with his mother, Alma, due to his gift not living up to her expectations and, according to Mirabel, she only saw the worst in him. As a result of his mother's difficult attitude, Bruno was intimidated by her and tried to avoid her, even though he wanted to make her proud.
Despite the way his family treated him when he was around and spoke ill of him after he left, Bruno is not spiteful or vengeful, and, like Mirabel, has a forgiving heart. He quickly accepts his mother's apology when they reunite, and is seen happily working with the townspeople who also initially spoke ill of him as they rebuild the Casa Madrigal together. Bruno is very selfless, and his biggest act of selflessness is catalyzed by his love for his family. He sacrificed his reputation and went into self-exile for a decade to protect his youngest niece, Mirabel, from being ostracized and treated the same way he had been after seeing her in a vision of their family's magic disappearing. Bruno was also willing to take the blame for Mirabel after the Casita’s destruction. Initially fearful of being seen by Alma, Bruno revealed himself and was prepared to confront her in order to defend his niece before Alma embraced him, having now realized she and her idealism were the causes of their family's problems.
Bruno's greatest wish is to be able to help his family. Although he was initially avoidant of his mother, he does not feel the same way towards his older sisters. The misunderstanding at Pepa’s wedding arose from his attempt to help her relax and embrace her emotions with an ill-worded joke. When they meet again, he made his first apology to her and Félix for inadvertently ruining their wedding by stressing her out with his comment, and sings to her how much he loves her and he wants her to be herself. With the exception of Camilo — who dramatizes Bruno as a demonic figure and was later confused by his return — the younger generation does not have anything negative to say about him: Mirabel and Luisa still refer him as their uncle despite the taboo on his name, Isabela is the only one to say something positive about him while everyone else sings negatively of him, Dolores empathizes with his problems and chooses not to reveal his hiding in the house's walls, and Antonio sees him as a friend. Bruno loves his nieces and nephews very much, quickly forming a strong bond with Mirabel and, to a lesser extent, Antonio (encouraging the former to set aside her issues with her oldest sister for their family's sake), and getting along with his other nieces and nephew well after he returns home.
Bruno inherited most of his physical characteristics from his late father, Pedro, and has a overly pale complexion. He's a thin and unkempt-looking 50-year-old man with overgrown, curly black hair mixed with gray streaks, a big and pointy yet somewhat rounded nose, whitely clean teeth, a thin un-shaved mustache, and a light beard shaped like an hourglass on his chin. He has green hazel eyes, light freckles on his face, and prominent eye bags. He wears a hooded, ripped up green ruana cuffed at the elbows with hourglass prints over a burgundy shirt that represent his gift, brown and dark pants, and black sandals. When he uses his precognitive powers, his irises glow bright green. His clothes are visibly worn with his poncho being rough at the edges and his shirt collar being unbuttoned and loose, adding to his ragged look.
Powers and Abilities
Bruno has the ability to see the future. To help focus and cope with the taxing nature of his power, Bruno performs a ritual that requires a large, open space to properly see his visions, and initiates it by drawing a circle in sand and burning leaves. Bruno does not have full control of his ability and some visions can come involuntarily.
Once the vision is initiated, Bruno’s irises glow bright emerald-green and the sand circle rises into the air to create a whirling dome of sand. Within the dome, the sand forms glowing green images that contain the visions. These images are not always clear and they do not always progress in chronological order, but when he focuses on certain images, the vision increases in clarity. Someone else can be present within the sand circle and see the visions, and they can also help him focus on certain parts. When the vision ends, Bruno creates a thick emerald slab showing an image of the most significant detail of the vision. Even shattered into pieces the slabs continue to show the images. If the vision has multiple possible outcomes, the slab created can show the different outcomes by being titled at certain angles.
Bruno first appears as an infant in his mother Alma's flashback, shortly after he and his sisters were born to her and Pedro. After his family was forced out of their home, during which his father was killed by soldiers, the family became blessed with magic and was given a new home. At the age of five, Bruno, along with his sisters Julieta and Pepa, were given magical gifts where he was given the ability to see the future. In the present, Bruno is no longer in the Madrigal family since he disappeared years ago without a trace and his name became a strong taboo in the Encanto.
Bruno is mentioned several times in the story by his family and the villagers before he actually makes his proper appearance. In "The Family Madrigal", Mirabel briefly tells the Town Kids about Bruno's ability to see into the future and how he suddenly disappeared from the House one day and became estranged from the family. During "We Don't Talk About Bruno" the Madrigals start talking in different ways about Bruno, starting with Pepa and Félix who remember how Bruno ruined their wedding day. Dolores seems genuinely sympathetic towards Bruno and saying that it was hard for someone to have a gift like his. Having no memories of his uncle, Camilo turns into a version of Bruno with shining green eyes, with an evil grin and surrounded by rats, moving in sinister ways. And just like Dolores, Isabela doesn't relate to Bruno in a negative way and talks about a positive vision of her future that Bruno gave her when she was young.
After it was revealed to the rest of the Madrigal family that magic and the Casita were in danger, Bruno was eventually discovered in the walls by Mirabel, who pursued him through the house. He initially outran her, but went back when he heard her calling for help, catching her before she fell down a hole. He fell into the hole himself, only to discover that it wasn't very deep. Mirabel begged Bruno to explain his vision to her, following him back to the space he'd been occupying adjacent to the kitchen and dining room. Over the time that he'd been hiding there, he had amassed a collection of odds and ends, as well as several pet rats, which he used to entertain himself by training them to act out telenovelas. Mirabel convinced Bruno to explain his vision, but Bruno initially refused to help Mirabel further when she asked him for another vision. She got him to agree when Antonio, with the aid of the rats to whom he could speak, also discovered them and offered up his room for Bruno to use for his vision.
Bruno accompanied Mirabel into Antonio's room, where he laid out a sand circle as part of his ritual. The house continued to shudder around them, prompting Mirabel to urge Bruno to hurry, but Bruno insisted they couldn't rush the future. Once the ritual circle was set up, Bruno warned Mirabel that she might not like what she would see, and expressed fear that she would blame him for causing the future. She reassured him that she didn't think he caused the future. Antonio offered Bruno his stuffed jaguar toy "for the nerves," and Bruno relaxed and began his vision. The vision initially went the same way it had before, and Bruno wanted to quit, but Mirabel insisted on pressing on. She saw a golden butterfly and pointed it out. Mirabel and Bruno followed it, leading to a vision of the candle glowing brighter and Mirabel hugging an obscured figure. The image cleared to reveal Isabela, and the vision ended, leaving a glass tablet with the vision etched into it. Bruno was pleased to see a positive image of Mirabel and Isabela hugging, but when he saw that Mirabel was not happy with it, he threw the glass tablet aside in frustration. Bruno encouraged Mirabel to seek Isabela out and make amends with her, telling Mirabel that she was exactly what their family needed. He then went back into the walls for fear that his mother might find him. Before doing so, however, he invited Mirabel to come visit, and Mirabel in turn promised that after she saved the miracle, she would bring him home.
Later on that day, Casita began crumbling after Mirabel and Abuela Alma had a fight. As the house was coming down, Bruno ran through the walls grabbing his pet rats. He then put a bucket on his head and rammed through a nearby wall, falling out onto the lawn behind the house. After Casita fell, Bruno found a horse and rode out of the valley to find Mirabel, who runs away in guilt and sadness. He discovered her with Alma at the river, and rode up on them, yelling that none of what had happened was Mirabel's fault. He argued that he was the one who gave Mirabel the vision, and that she was only trying to help. Alma is shocked when she sees Bruno since she hadn't seen him in ten years. Bruno insisted that he didn't care what his mother thought of him, only to be suddenly embraced by Alma, who called him "Brunito" and kissed his cheeks, leaving him confused.
When Bruno, Mirabel and Alma returned to the rubble of the house, during "All of You" Alma revealed to the whole family that Bruno hid behind the rubble and directed Bruno to reunite with his sisters, who immediately ran to hug him. Much of the young people in the family were surprised by the sudden appearance of Bruno (especially Camilo who expressed enormous confusion with his presence). Bruno then began a string of apologies, including apologizing for Pepa's wedding and encouraging her to show her emotions freely. Julieta, Pepa and Agustín stopped him and hugged him as they expressed their joy that he was back in the family. With family all together, Mirabel rallied them to fix the house and the entire town also pitched in as thanks for all the Madrigals had done for them. Bruno later helped with rebuilding Casita by working with the people of the town to mark different places with the sand. After completing the house, Mirabel added a doorknob the family made just for her to the front door, which caused Casita to spring back to life, and the magic returned to the entire Encanto. The Madrigals then celebrated the returned of their home and gifts with a family picture. When they smiled for the picture, Bruno was pushed against Camilo and Mirabel while Casita squished the whole family closer together unexpectedly.
- Bruno's birthday is on October 17, which is the date of the start of the Thousand Days' War. It is also a day to celebrate ethnic diversity in Colombia.
- In some early concept art, the character is instead called Oscar. The name Bruno was chosen by Lin-Manuel Miranda in order to fit the lyric "Bruno, no, no, no" into the song "We Don't Talk About Bruno".
- Bruno is the only Madrigal in his family generation not to have a spouse or children due to his hiding in the walls of Casa Madrigal for a decade and his infamous reputation prior to his exile.
- During "We Don't Talk About Bruno", Dolores foreshadows the revelation (and hints her knowledge) that he never actually left.
- During her verse, a figure resembling Bruno can be seen walking along the first floor balcony in the background and bopping his head to the beat of the song.
- Dolores also speaks about him in the present tense ("I can always hear him sort of muttering and mumbling").
- While Isabela is telling Mirabel to be quiet, Dolores says she can hear him now.
- Dolores's knowledge of his presence in the walls is subtly alluded with the painting that hides the entrance to the walls being next to her door.
- Due to their sensory powers, Bruno and Dolores are the only family members that their doors depict with eyes open. They are also the only two to not appear smiling on their doors.
- It is possible Bruno's predictions about Señora Pezmuerto's fish dying, Osvaldo growing a gut, and Señor Flores's hair thinning were actually just observations: Pezmuerto kept her fish in a small bowl, which fish are less likely to survive in; Osvaldo can be shown eating a jar of candy in "What Else Can I Do", in which uncurbed eating habits can lead to weight gain; .
- Though he corrects himself, Bruno was actually right that Mirabel and Isabela would fight, as they have an verbal argument, not a physical altercation, prior to reconciling and hugging.
- Bruno performs several superstitious actions, such as knocking on wood in a rhythmic pattern and reciting the phrase "Knock knock knock knock knock, knock on wood," throwing salt over his shoulder, avoiding stepping on cracks, muttering a healing song to himself, holding his breath while crossing his fingers, going through entrances backwards, and holding an upside down broom out to intruders of his space.
- All these superstitions are associated with bringing good luck, repelling bad luck, and avoiding bringing harm to one's family.
- Bruno performs these rituals to an excess that visually confuses and concerns Mirabel. According to the official script, this is meant to resemble obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
- Bruno's vision of Mirabel being associated with the magic fading or strengthening has different interpretations:
- The Madrigals' declining emotional wellness and unhealthy relationships from the family expectations caused the Casita to gradually crumble, with Mirabel being the main factor as her lack of a gift made her insecurities more prominent and put her at odds with Alma.
- The magic disappearing was inevitable and it would return with a better foundation founded in the bond between the Madrigals as a family rather than by their magical gifts, which Mirabel would influence.
- Coincidentally, following Cinderella, Winnie the Pooh, and Pixar's Luca, Encanto is the fourth Disney animated project that uses the name Bruno, two of which have themes relating to speech, or rather the lack thereof ("Silenzio, Bruno!"/"We don't talk about Bruno"). Cinderella’s Bruno is a hound, Winnie the Pooh’s Bruno is a robot monkey, Luca’s Bruno is a fictional person who tells you to do things, and Encanto’s Bruno is a funny, paranoid man that used to live with rats.
- The green motif for Bruno and his visions are a reference to the belief in Colombia that emeralds can predict the future. His vision tablets are made of solid emerald for this reason.
- When living in the walls, Bruno gained access to water by diverting one of Casita's bamboo "pipes."
- Bruno is similar to Héctor, the deuteragonist from Coco.
- They are Hispanic characters, though Héctor is Mexican while Bruno a Colombian.
- Both their families didn’t like to talk about them at first as they were thought to be bad influences. Two authoritative relatives personally object talking of them while a nurturing one remembers them fondly and misses them. With help from a younger relative (the protagonist) who is similar to them in certain aspects, they are accepted back into their family.
- Living in isolation and estranged from their family, they had unkempt appearances.
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