‘Frozen’ Directors Put Next Animated Disney Classic On Ice
Anna (Kristen Bell), the star of Disney's 'Frozen'.
Disney and imagination go hand in hand, but Jennifer Lee probably never imagined she'd be bringing the next animated Disney classic to the silver screen for her first directing gig.
Alas, that's exactly where the "Wreck-It Ralph" writer finds herself: directing "Frozen" – a musical, comedy, adventure set in a winter wonderland filled with a magical snowman, head-strong reindeer, mystical trolls, and Kristen Bell. Fortunately, Lee has Disney veteran Chris Buck ("Surfs Up," "Tarzan") as her co-director.
And fortunately for us, we had the opportunity to catch up with the dynamic duo to find out more about Disney's "next classic," which opens November 27, 2013.
[Related: 'Frozen' Character Profiles and Biographies]
So, talk to me, we’re doing the next great Disney adventure, Frozen. What do fans need to know?
Chris Buck: It's a big, epic, comedy. It's set in a Scandinavian type environment. Big adventure; it really is; it's a lot bigger than I thought this movie was going to be in scope and size. Yeah, I mean it’s coming along very well and we’re excited to soon share it with everyone.
Is there more to story that you can share?
Jennifer Lee: We have two very strong main female characters, Anna and Elsa who are sisters, one of them, Anna, is sort of the ordinary hero. She does not have special powers. She’s very funny, perky, weird in good way, and fearless. And then she has an older sister who has a special power, so we have a big super hero sister who is in trouble and has caused some problems. So, it’s very much a film about the ordinary hero who can do extraordinary things, and that’s Anna, and the power of family.
CB: And the family aspect will work for everyone: brothers, sisters, whatever. So, I think we found that emotional connection for the story a while ago and it's hung on and it has become the real lynchpin for most of the story.
Is that what makes it different from the archetypal Disney film?
JL: There's a lot of classic tradition that we don’t want to step on, that we really enjoy about Disney, but we also wanted to make some very strong female characters, which we’ve done, and who we think hopefully girls will really relate to, and not just sisters. They are different types and they have their own powers in a way, and even the one that doesn't have super powers.
I think also that the movie, the story itself is big and complex. It’s not just a simple tale. It’s one that starts with great characters you meet and relate to but they end up on a journey that gets bigger and bigger with a lot of surprises. So, I think we’ve really pushed the scope of the film bigger than anything we’ve done before.
Wow. That’s quite a statement. Where did the initial inspiration for the story come from?
CB: Well, our initial inspiration is from the Hans Christian Andersen story, "The Snow Queen." But we took off from that. I think the only thing we really have left from that is the character that is a snow queen type of character, but we made it our own. So, it’s loosely inspired. And we’ve moved on and made it quite different, and for today’s audiences too.
JL: We wanted to do something that was timeless but timely. So, we’re really playing with scenes that we hope people really relate to in the modern day.