How These Singers Around the Globe Pushed 'Frozen' Over the Top
Watch the Vocalists Behind 'Let It Go,' in 25 Languages:
Over the weekend, Disney's "Frozen" became the highest-grossing animated film of all time, topping $1 billion worldwide and inspiring a #CongratulationsFrozen hashtag on Twitter.
One reason for the film's runaway success? That infectious Oscar-winning song that says it's okay to be yourself — in fact, let it go and belt it out from a snow-covered mountain top while you're at it. It's a message that has proven deeply resonant around the globe.
The fact that the House of Mouse tailored its snowy movie for several non-English speaking audiences, dubbing it in 41 languages total, didn't hurt a thing. Indeed, fervent audiences in Japan were who pushed "Frozen" into the billion-dollar club this weekend, making it the No. 1 movie there three weekends in a row (and counting).
This new in-studio version of "Let It Go" in 25 languages (seen here first on Yahoo Movies), offers a peek into the arduous process of dubbing the film and its songs into 41 tongues, and shows many of the singers who stepped up to the plate to do their dead-on "Adele Dazeem." (A previous verion of the video, which doesn't show the real-life "Let It Go" singers, went viral in late January.)
Translating "Frozen" into so many different languages is exceptionally challenging, says Rick Dempsey, a senior exec at Disney's Character Voices International unit. "It's a difficult juggling act to get the right intent of the lyrics and also have it match rhythmically to the music," he told Yahoo in a recent email exchange. "And then you have to go back and adjust for lip sync! [It]… requires a lot of patience and precision."
Casting the right singers and actors then becomes another challenge. "Idina's voice (or Kristen's voice for Anna) becomes our blueprint. We try to match it as close as possible," said the Disney exec.
Two hundred singers tested for 41 slots. And not all vocalists were fit to act the part for which they were singing. "Sometimes we find a great vocal match with a singer and a great acting match with a different actress," said Dempsey. "There are close to 15 versions out there that have two different talent performing the role."
The casting process was particularly complex because native speakers were required. "It's the only way to really ensure that the film feels 'local,'" Dempsey said.
With all the painstaking work that went into the making of "Frozen," translating included, at least we now know it was worthwhile.
—Matt McDaniel contributed to this report.
Follow me on Twitter (@meriahonfiah)