Back in 2002, Dreamworks was ahead of the diversity inclusion curve with Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, by having the storyline heavily feature Native Americans, including the use of Native American voice actors as well. Nearly 20 years later, Spirit the Mustang is back for Spirit Untamed, and it turns the page to feature the Mexican culture, namely with Eiza González’s voice role.
The Baby Driver and Godzilla vs. Kong actress plays the role of Milagro Navarro, a famous, horse-riding stunt performer who is the mother of Spirit Untamed’s lead, Lucky Prescott. Although Eiza González does not have a major role in the film, the presence of her character represents a theme of the film -- embracing one’s heritage and remembering where you come from.
González was born in Mexico City and got her start as a Latin star before becoming a major name in Hollywood through major films such as Hobbs & Shaw and I Care A Lot. The actress spoke with CinemaBlend about how she has remained in touch with her culture amidst the transition:
The same way as Lucky in the movie, whenever you’re from somewhere else it’s inherently in you. It’s your roots, it’s where you come from and you can’t run away from it. Whether you got the chance like me to grow in my country and my family, or someone like Isabela who spent most of her time here but is Peruvian but inherently feels it within herself. I’m always trying to go back home. It’s super important to recharge my energy.
Eiza González shared the closeness she feels to the young girl at the center of Spirit Untamed, as she expressed the importance she places on staying physically connected with Mexico by returning home whenever she can. She is also very proud of where she grew up and, by remaining true to that, she can well represent her Mexican heritage. González continued:
Something I was talking about with my mother recently, since I just went to Mexico, I was saying there is nothing like home. There’s something that you just inherently know you’re going back to where you’re from. I love Mexico, I love my culture, I love my roots, I love my language, so anytime I get the chance to do that is an experience that I can’t pass. And that’s why I was so excited to do this movie because being able to both portray my culture in such an uplifting way and then being able to speak my language in a movie like this and sing in my language it was such a unique experience and I’m just so proud I can do that and carry my little Mexican flag around the world.
It’s sweet to hear how important Mexico is to Eiza González, along with how active she is about representing it within her career. For Spirit Untamed, she has the chance to reach audiences of all ages, as Milagro’s memory inspires Lucky to understand her own Mexican heritage more deeply.
In Spirit Untamed, Lucky is played by live-action Dora the Explorer actress Isabela Merced, who can relate even more to her considering her upbringing. Merced grew up in Ohio from a Peruvian mother. Lucky is a mixed-raced young girl, who goes off to live with her father (played by Jake Gylenhaal) in the small rural town she finds herself moving to. As she confronts more of her mother’s past, she gets closer to who she is and who Milagro was.