It’s been a year and things have changed at the palace. It’s Anna’s birthday and Elsa is determined to make it a “perfect” day for her sister. Kristoff, Sven, and Olaf help to give her the best celebration ever…but when Elsa catches a cold, her powers may put more than just the party at risk. What do you think happens when Elsa gets a cold? I found out during the red carpet premiere of Cinderella. Frozen Fever is the new Disney Short that opens before Cinderella… in theaters this FRIDAY (3/13)!!!!
As part of my #CinderellaEvent experience, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, the directors of Frozen and Frozen Fever. Director Chris Buck (“Frozen”) helmed the 1999 Disney classic “Tarzan” (with Kevin Lima) as well as the 2007 Oscar®-nominated “Surf’s Up” (with Ash Brannon). His animation credits also include 1989’s “The Little Mermaid,” “The Rescuers Down Under” (1990) and “Pocahontas” (1995). Director Jennifer Lee (“Frozen”) is one of the screenplay writers of 2012’s arcade-hopping comedy adventure “Wreck-It Ralph.” Her screen adaptation of John Steinbeck’s “The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights” is being produced by Troika Pictures. She has an original screenplay in development with Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way, and her original script “Lucid Dreams” was optioned by Wolfgang Peterson’s Radiant Productions.
Life One Year Later
When Chris and Jennifer walked into the room, I could tell this was going to be a fun interview. They were all smiles and ready to joke as soon as they sat down in front of us. We all wanted to know what has changed or happened over the past year? It’s been a year since Frozen, and I know my daughter is still singing “Let It Go.” After some fun banter back and forth (I swear they could be one person how they finish each others sentences)…
JENNIFER LEE: We thought they’d be less busy, but they’re not.
CHRIS BUCK: I still buy shirts at TJ Max. Hasn’t changed…
JENNIFER LEE: I still find myself going I have to buy another dress? So nothing’s changed, really.
…we learned that it’s been an overwhelming year. They have been receiving tons of YouTube clips of “Frozen” ideas, mash-ups. Frozen has inspired many people in many ways…from autistic children, to senior citizens.
CHRIS BUCK: Reddit round table is where a woman wrote in saying that she was in a bad place and was gonna commit suicide, and saw Frozen and inspired by Elsa and her journey, and she said, and I’m still here. Thank you.
CHRIS BUCK: 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 a friend of ours working at a nursing home, and a senior citizen, she wasn’t really, she sort of internal and not doing much. And she watched Frozen. And then she started drawing again. ‘Cause she used to draw when she was younger. And she was drawing the Frozen characters. And just, 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.
Frozen has changed Chris and Jennifer’s life because of the impact Frozen has had on so many people. Who knew that a film could have such power and influence!
Are you sick of “Let It Go”?
Chris and Jennifer laughed…you could tell they still love the song, but Jennifer had a story for us.
JENNIFER LEE: I have to correct that, ‘cause 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 gonna do? I mean, 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.
As a parent, I get will nod a “Thanks” to Chris and Jennifer! My daughter will watch the movie and sing every song over and over again. Good thing I love the movie. Chris did mention a YouTube video called Choke Frozen…have you seen that one? I am going to have to search YouTube and watch it. It’s about her being snowed in with her daughters.
Who came up with the idea for Frozen Fever and Elsa’s sneezing?
Story artists are key to any good story. Chris, Jennifer, and the main story artist from the original Frozen were brainstorming. They decided to focus on Elsa more in this Disney Short. When Frozen ended, Elsa was free, but many people wanted to know what happens NOW?
JENNIFER LEE : We’d love to play with her magic in a different way, and he just said what if she’s a cold, and the cold wreaks havoc. And we just went crazy. I mean, it got ridiculous at some points…
They talked about spikes coming up out of the ground, but they did that in Frozen. Discussing came up about what happened when she sneezed, was it different for a cough, does she know what’s happening or does she not know? They had fun coming up with ideas and finally came up with mini snowmen emerging with each sneeze (which is absolutely hysterical). Oh…and YES they will be coming out with FROZEN FEVER merchandise! I know I will need to buy Kira a mini snowman!
“A cold never bothered me anyway!”
(Have you ever listened to the words your child sings in “Let it Go”??? Many kids actually think that was the wording.)
What’s the future for Elsa and Anna?
Chris and Jennifer just finished Frozen Fever (2 weeks before the L.A. premiere), so at this time there are no plans for any more Frozen adventures. However, they are working on the Broadway musical and helping with the Frozen addition to the parks.
“We are FROZEN busy!”
Inspiration from Hans Christen Anderson
Hans Christen Anderson inspired Frozen’s Scandinavian/Norway local.
CHRIS BUCK: Now we don’t say that it’s set in Norway. But, 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. The rose mauling and specific design.
JENNIFER LEE : …real warmth and intimacy to the 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.
The story and the characters were inspired by, but not copied.
JENNIFER LEE : Yeah. I mean, we knew the Snow Queen was a compelling idea, but in the book she’s evil, and you know nothing about her. She’s very one dimensional, and represents evil. In the original, tonally, though there’s a lot of similarity. And there’s the theme… We found the theme through the book. The theme and in the book it’s sort of love versus negativity. But we translated that in more extreme to literally to fear. So that came from the book, and then it was just a lot more about, sort of this, the setting, and things. But it’s a very different kind of a story, and one that is beautiful in prose. But, you know. It’s not necessarily the most cinematic in terms of structure and things like that. So we wanted to have really three dimensional characters and go deep into them. So we, we made it our own.
Elsa has her Cinderella moment in Frozen Fever. In the short, Elsa has more time for her dress to transform.
Get Social with CINDERELLA & FROZEN FEVER
@CinderellaMovie on Twitter (#Cinderella)
@DisneyAnimation on Twitter (#FrozenFrozen)
Cinderella and Frozen Fever will be in theaters March 13th!
Have you been following my #CinderellaEvent journey? Just last weekend I had the pleasure of going to The Glam Ball by JCPenney, got a sneak peek at the costumes and props at the JCPenney Pre-Premeire Party, then walked the Red Carpet for the first time!
Keep an eye on the blog for more Cinderella/Frozen Fever interviews…coming soon: Richard Madden, Kenneth Branagh, and Sandy Powell!
Disclosure: I was invited on an all expense paid Disney press trip in exchange for my honest opinion and coverage of the #CinderellaEvent red carpet premiere, press junket, and movie review. All opinions are my own.