The Art of Random Willy-Nillyness: I Have Frozen Fever! Interview with the Directors of Frozen! #CinderellaEvent #FrozenFever
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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

I Have Frozen Fever! Interview with the Directors of Frozen! #CinderellaEvent #FrozenFever

Disclosure: I attended the #CinderellaEvent and my expenses: flight, accommodations, transportation and some meals were covered by Disney. All opinions, however, are 100% mine.

Interviewing Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, the directors of Frozen, was so much fun. I could not believe how nice they were. And humble. It seems that success has not really hit them yet. They seemed very surprised by it all.

Then they were asked to create a new short for the Cinderella movie. Having seen the new short, I can say that they did a marvelous job. You can see Frozen Fever, which is adorable, when you see Cinderella. I love that. I remember when I was little that every Disney movie had a short film before it! And you do not want to miss Frozen Fever!

This was a fun interview because the two of them were so in sync and finished each other's sentences. Plus, they were just fun people. Be careful because there are some Frozen Fever spoilers in the interview. And can I just say that I LOVE Olaf!! He is one of my favorite characters ever!

Q: So it’s been a year. How are your lives now?

CHRIS BUCK (CB): How are our lives now? Let’s see…

JENNIFER LEE (JL): We thought they'd be less busy, but they're not.

CB: I still buy shirts at TJ Maxx. Hasn’t changed…

JL: I still find myself going I have to buy another dress? So yeah. So nothing’s changed, really.

CB: No. I mean it…

JL: Yeah…

CB: It’s been overwhelming, the year. We still get Youtube sent to us. I mean, I got one just yesterday. …mashups. All this kind of stuff.

JL: Frozen and the thing.

CB: Yes. Frozen and the Thing together. It’s a Claymation thing. It’s actually very funny. It’s been overwhelming. It really has. We'll get serious right away. Starting with the Reddit Round table. Reddit round table is where a woman wrote in saying that she was in a bad place and was going to commit suicide, and saw Frozen and inspired by Elsa and, and her journey, and she said, and I’m still here. Thank you.

So, you know, we're overwhelmed by that. There are autistic kids that watch Frozen that parents tell us they don’t sit still for anything, and they watch Frozen, and they relate to Olaf. just a few weeks ago friend of ours working at a nursing home, and a senior citizen was sort of internal and not doing much. And she watched Frozen. And then she started drawing again. Because she used to draw when she was younger. And she was drawing the Frozen characters. And her husband was just so grateful she was coming back to life. So you get those are the stories that we go oh wow. And that’s how I think our life has changed.

We always knew that these films had some influence and power. But this one certainly I've never experienced anything like this.

JL: still a surprise every day. It’s still surprising us.

Q: Are you sick of the song?

JL: No. I have to correct that because it was a joke about we actually have parents coming up to us going thanks. You know? And so we just go sorry. Like, kidding. Was like, what are you going do? I always say I think when I’m very old, the last thing left in my head will be Let it Go, and that’s just fine with me.

Q: In the Frozen Fever short, Elsa sneezing is the cutest thing ever. How did you come up with that idea? Or who came up with the idea of her sneezing and snowmen come out?

JL: One of our story artists, he was one of the head story artist on Frozen Fever… I mean Frozen itself. And we were brainstorming all, whatever could be. Blue sky. Anything. It would be nice to focus on Elsa more, We end the film. We had this tragic character. We end the film, she’s free, but we don’t know. And we’d love to play with her magic in a different way, and he just said what if she’s [has] a cold, and the cold wreaks havoc. And we, we just went crazy. It got ridiculous at some points but it was so much fun…

CB: She would have this stuff, but then suddenly, like, spikes would show up like Arendelle. And we’re, like, no, we did that before in the last one.

JL: Create something else. And a sneeze does this, and blowing your nose does that. Like, we had all of these crazy… Does she know? Does she not know? But it was the idea itself was so simple, and fun. You felt it when, when he suggested it. We all just went yes.

CB: And it gave us license to have fun with Elsa.

Q: What brought you to Norway to, to be inspired by Norway?

CB: The original one? Well, our art director, we knew it’d going to be a Scandinavian area.

JL: And that was based on sort of Hans Christian Anderson.

CB: Mike was just going through books. He’d seen a lot of Internet stuff. And he was posting all these pages on Scandinavian, you know, beautiful scenery and architecture, and almost all the post-its were Norway.

So he said okay. Well, you know, we need our, our trip to Norway. Now we don’t say that it’s set in Norway. It helps to have something specific to kind of draw from. So it makes the world very believable. And their ideas in Norway, we’d never have come up with on our own; the stave church, which was very beautiful.

JL: [There is a] real warmth and intimacy to their villages, and then when you get out to the vast Fjords, the contrast is great. And so it really, in the wood, it just lent itself to this beautiful extremes.

Q: I watched the making of Frozen, and so I learned about how Walt Disney had always wanted to do The Snow Queen. Did you have any direction from Walt? Or anything that he had kinda toyed with through the years?

JL: No.

CB: not really. Um, there weren't any transcripts of any of the early story sessions they may have had. They didn't go too far with it. Um, there was, uh, an attraction they were doing down at Disneyland that a Mark Davis, one of the brilliant animators and Imagineers had done designs for. We hadn't seen those until after. Until, like, sort of the making of Frozen, and his wife was taking us through the sketches that he had done.

JL: That was amazing

CB: That wasn’t for a movie. So. Not really. We really didn't have any, any of that.

Q: My favorite parts was when Elsa busts out with the cold.

JL: Just had to.

Q: Something planned?

CB: Correct me if I’m wrong, but I know that a lot of kids, when they sang Let it Go, they sang that. They sang…

JL: They sang a cold…

CB: A cold never bothers me anyway. ‘Cause it’s like a cold, and their lives is so debilitating, and so big that it’s, like, that’s not going bother me. I’m gonna get through this! So, it’s so cute when they do it. And I think of it as a little bit of a nod to that, too.

Q: It seems like you revisited Ana waking up with that hair. Was there a reason? Was it something that a lot of people enjoyed that scene?

JL: Growing up, it always looked at how in a lot of these fairy tales, they do like to show the lead female character waking up! And she always wakes up, like, ahhh! You know, with birds waiting for her and stuff. And I always, you know, woke up with a rat’s nest on my head. Originally we loved it. But of course we had to [do] the hair again, because that’s how she sleeps. So it was more just showing that the dynamic was now. They were back to that place where they could be playful.

CB: There’s even a little bit of drool.

Q: Were there any Easter eggs or anything in the film [Frozen Fever] that you can talk about.

CB: There is one…

JL: There is one! You got to find it.

CB: It’s a Disney character…

JL: You can find him…

Q: You have to find him.

JL: Or her. I said or her! And I said or her.

CB: You know, there might be more…

JL: There could be…

CB: Sometimes the animators put in things that we don’t necessarily see, or they won’t tell us.

JL: It’s usually comes from the animators. They do it as… for fun, and sometimes they'll point it out because they need approval. And other times we’ll just, we’ll, like, oh! Did you know there was a Mickey on that shelf?

Q: [Are we going to see] any of those little snowmen [as] merchandise…

Oh yes you will. I think right before it, it, it opens. Like, the 12th or 13th.

JL: With the [first] film we didn't have expectations set. So I know there was not enough product. I think there will be stuff out there.

Q: [We] saw that Kristoff finally told Ana that he loves her. Is that like a little open for a wedding maybe?

JL: Hey, I’m trying to teach my daughter to take it slow. So I don’t know. So, I’m like, it’s been a year and a half and he finally just said I love you. So, so I don’t know.

Q: Can you talk about the Broadway musical that’s coming up?

JL: Uh, we're in the very early stages. I mean, there will be more songs and Bobby and Kristen have a lot more to do with, with that than I do in that the Broadway musical tends to have the opposite structure where a film has 20 to 25 minutes of song, and, and the rest is little 60 pluses scenes, and the musical flips that. There'll be a lot of great stuff coming, but we're really just getting started.

Q: Real quick as well. If you could sort of talk about, um, how Frozen Fever’s attached to Cinderella.

JL: I have to say it’s huge for me because my first Disney film was Cinderella. Once it came on VHS, I think I played it 50, 60 times so working for Disney was a dream. So to have everything come together and the film I was blown away by how much it, it was in line with the animated film. And yet, you know it went even deeper and it was so beautiful. So there were a lot of, like, very nostalgic tears last night…

CB: But seeing it last night too, it felt like sort of the perfect match with Frozen, and then Cinderella.

CINDERELLA opens in theaters everywhere on March 13th! Watch Frozen Fever before the showing of Cinderella! 

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  1. The new Frozen short sounds very good and right before Cinderella. I heard that they are making a new Frozen, and I am glad that they are not sick of the song Let it Go. I still love that song and listen to it all the time. It is surprising that they are still so busy with Frozen

  2. I thought it was fun. Saw it with Cinderella this week.

    slehan at juno dot com

  3. Two great films, my favorite character in Frozen is Olaf, my kids love the whole Frozen thing. So happy they made another. And the Cinderella movie is a classic.

  4. That's pretty cool that you got to interview them. It must have been quite an experience.