Jennifer Lee, the creative force behind many beloved animated tales, recently shed light on the intricate process of character creation for Disney’s Wish. At the heart of the narrative stands Magnifico, a character whose journey is both captivating and thought-provoking. But how did the creators breathe life into this character, and what inspired his unique persona?
The Wish Team Wanted To Bring a True Disney Villain
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 21: Jennifer Lee, CCO, Disney Animation Studios, speaks onstage for “Once Upon A Studio” at the Long Lead Press Day & In-Person Presentation for WISH and ONCE UPON A STUDIO at El Capitan Theatre in Los Angeles, California on September 21, 2023. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)
During the preview event of Wish, Magnifico was featured in length. He was a major part of the 30 minutes of footage we saw, and he will undoubtedly be a key element of the film. Magnifico is portrayed by Chris Pine, and harkens back to classic Disney villains. Curious about such a pivotal and intriguing character, Jennifer Lee shared how Magnifico came to be.
“You know, what’s interesting is we talked at length. First, we started with what do we think about for villains that we’d love to do, ’cause how do we be different from the previous films, but also a nod to them. And it really is about getting to watch that journey. So, we knew we wanted to start where you get to watch him make choices where you might meet the best of him, and then hopefully, survive the worst of him.”-Jennifer Lee, ‘Wish’ Screenplay by/Story by/Executive Producer–
The essence of Magnifico’s character lies in his evolution. Unlike traditional villains, Magnifico’s journey allows audiences to witness his highs and lows, making him a multi-dimensional character. This approach not only differentiates him from previous villains but also adds depth to his narrative.
“And so that was there. And Julia Michaels was instrumental because this is the thanks I get as an idea, which, hilariously, is a nod to all moms put up with in the house. We talked a lot about, for her, that she hooked on the idea of a narcissist. So, it comes really simple, down to character and the deliciousness and danger of that. [laughs] And so, for me, when I write, that’s how I had to process is, was from inside out. And the person, the charm of that, that, when tested, people make different choices when tested.”-Jennifer Lee, ‘Wish’ Screenplay by/Story by/Executive Producer–
Music, Narcissism, and Magic
The collaboration with Julia Michaels played a pivotal role in shaping Magnifico’s character. Drawing inspiration from the complexities of narcissism, the creators delved into the psyche of the character, exploring the allure and perils of such a personality. This inside-out approach to character development ensured that Magnifico was not just a caricature but a reflection of real human emotions and choices.
“And so, the playground always comes from character. I think people see different things in it and different societies in it, but that’s just because that’s how we live and who we are. So, we’re really trying to not do one. We’re not. And actually, you’ll see the queen make very different choices from him. I won’t give those away. But it’s really just about what we kept coming back to is, at the core of the person, who’s the most vulnerable in some ways to these things? And Julia was instrumental in that. But boy, that was so fun to do [laughs] once we started building it.”-Jennifer Lee, ‘Wish’ Screenplay by/Story by/Executive Producer–
The essence of Wish lies in its characters, and Magnifico stands as a testament to the meticulous craftsmanship that went into his creation. By focusing on the core vulnerabilities and strengths of the character, the creators have offered audiences a character that resonates, intrigues, and captivates.
Get ready to be mesmerized by Magnifico, when Wish releases exclusively in theaters on November 22, 2023.
Release Date: November 22, 2023
Directors: Chris Buck, Fawn Veerasunthorn
Writers: Jennifer Lee, Allison Moore, Produced by, Peter Del Vecho, Juan Pablo Reyes
Music: David Metzger
Production: Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Animation Studios
Distribution: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Runtime: 92 minutes
Cast: Ariana DeBose, Chris Pine, Angelique Cabral, Alan Tudyk
“Wish” is set in the kingdom of Rosas, where Asha, a sharp-witted idealist, makes a wish so powerful that it’s answered by a cosmic force—a ball of boundless energy called Star. Asha and Star confront the formidable King Magnifico to prove that when the will of one courageous human connects with the magic of the stars, wondrous things can happen.
Have you ever wondered about the intricacies of character development? What makes a character truly memorable? Are you ready to visit Magnifico’s Island of Rosas in Wish? Let us know what you think and be sure to check out more from the press day for the film on our social media!