FROZEN took the world by storm. It was just this week that the film crossed the $1 billion mark for the worldwide box office. This last Sunday, FROZEN won the Oscar for best animated feature film. And it’s anthem, the powerful “Let It Go” took home the Oscar for the best original song.
During a very magical trip to Walt Disney Animation Studios myself and a handful of other very fortunate bloggers were able to sit down with the brilliant filmmakers behind Disney’s FROZEN: Director Chris Buck and Producers Jennifer Lee and Peter Del Vecho.
It was rumored that Walt Disney had wanted to create a version of Hans Christian Andersen’s story of the Snow Queen. Chris Buck took this project and pitched it over five years ago. Since production started, the story of the Snow Queen took on quite a vastly different journey than what was originally planned. How did FROZEN evolve into this much-loved animated feature?
The Story of the Snow Queen and Anna
Originally, the Snow Queen was to be more of a villainous character, Lee told us. She said that they really were striving to redefine what “true love” is. Buck told us, “If you go forward, you will find the movie that it needs to be.” And they did. After the sister idea came about, in much later in production, it struck a chord and an emotional pathway. This compelled the story further. This new version, a story love vs. fear instead of good vs. evil, centering around the relationship between sisters, was 2 1/2 years in production.
The Snow Queen’s story became Anna and Elsa’s story. The movie was changed to the perfectly fitting name of “Frozen.”
The Music and the Animation
FROZEN was always to be a musical. And adding music changed the tone of the whole movie, how everything worked together. Lee said that the filmmakers worked every morning for approximately 14 months straight with Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson, the movie’s songwriters. “This is why the songs fit with the story the way that they do.”
This film was originally to be hand-drawn. But with the landscapes of ice and snow and CG being incredible in the last few years, the filmmakers decided to go a different route. The art department spent time in Quebec City, surveying the movement and shape of snow and ice in order to create a world of snow that was beautiful and as realistic as possible. In the movie, the ice castle took 4-5 months to create. That scene was the longest and most intensive. Did you know that a single frame can take as many as thirty working hours?
The clothing and architecture were Scandinavian inspired. The art and lighting crew were sent to Norway to study history and design. What they found there influenced all of the architecture, clothing and even the music of the film.
Any Future Surprises for Us?
“You have to be as efficient as you can, nothing you cut makes it to animation,” says Lee. “It’s weeks or months sometimes in animation. You don’t animate until you know.” One of the most loveable characters was Kristoff. Lee spoke animatedly of a scene of Kristoff climbing a mountain that was originally slated for part of the movie’s intro. He has a whole backstory written in order to keep his character and personality consistent. However, time constraints didn’t allow it to be included in the film. The film doesn’t include a lot of backstory on Kristoff, Sven or other characters. During the interview there was a hint of the possibility of carrying Kristoff’s story on for Frozen fans, telling them how he ended up an orphan, how he ran away to live the life he wanted and about growing up in his non-traditional family. A movie? A book? I guess we will just have to wait and see!
Don’t forget, Disney’s Frozen will be available on Blu-ray and DVD on March 18th! These great bonus features will be included:
The Making Of Frozen (Blu-ray, Digital)
- D’frosted: Disney’s Journey From Hans Christian Anderson to Frozen (Blu-ray, Digital)
- Breaking The Ice - The Real Making Of Frozen (Blu-ray, Digital)
- 4 Deleted Scenes with introduction by Directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee
- Original Theatrical Short – “Get A Horse” (Blu-ray, Digital & DVD)
- “Let It Go” Music Videos by Demi Lovato, Martina Stoessel & Marsha Milan Londoh (Blu-ray, Digital & DVD)
- Frozen Teaser Trailer (Blu-ray, Digital & DVD)
All opinion are honest and 100% my own. Disney provided an all-expense paid trip to cover the event.