For decades now, Disney films have been winning over audiences and becoming formative pieces of children’s youth. Many animated Disney features have gone on to have incredible reputations that have far exceeded expectations, but Frozen is a title that’s gone on to reach atmospheric heights. Not only did the touching animated film reach unprecedented levels of success, it’s gone on to spawn its own Broadway musical and its sequel was one of the most anticipated follow-up movies of all-time.
With Frozen 2 now upon us, the fandom for this property has never been higher. Audiences may have all of the words to “Let It Go” memorized at this point, but there are still lots of surprising details about how Frozen’s production came to life and the changes and decisions that took place behind the scenes. Accordingly, Here Are 20 Things That Happened Behind The Scenes Of Frozen.
20 A “Sister Summit” Was Held For The Staff
There are all sorts of team building exercises that films do to improve a sense of community or better understand the characters that they are bringing to life. There was once a point when Anna and Elsa weren't sisters, but after the change was made the production staff held a "sister summit." This was done to understand the dynamic and take a deep look at the psychology of sisterhood.
19 It Was In Various Stages Of Production For Over 70 Years
Walt Disney had worked on and been interested in adapting Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen since 1937. The adaptation was tinkered around with in various capacities over the years, until finally Frozen became a radically different approach to the original subject matter. It goes to show that straight adaptations aren't always the way to go and that it's always valuable to hang onto unfinished ideas.
18 Elsa Changed From An Evil Queen To Anna's Sister
One of the most important and touching aspects of Frozen is the sibling relationship between Anna and Elsa. Frozen went through many changes during its development, but one of the most shocking is that Anna and Elsa weren't originally related. Elsa was positioned as the film's villain and Anna was a peasant who goes to her for help to freeze her heart, which has just been broken.
17 A Live Reindeer Was Brought Into The Studio
There are plenty of unusual perks that come along with bringing an animated film to life, but for Frozen co-director Jennifer Lee, the highlight was the time a live reindeer visited the studio. The reindeer was studied in order to properly nail the mannerisms of Sven, the reindeer in the film. It's a good thing that there weren't any alligators or lions in the movie.
16 The Animators Conducted Intensive "Snow Tests"
Snow is obviously a major component of Frozen's world so the film's animation department wanted to make sure that they did their homework and made the weather effect as realistic as possible. To achieve this, the animators traveled to Wyoming and immersed themselves in snow for two days, even wearing costumes similar to Elsa and Anna to see how they'd move through the snow. That's dedication.
15 Over Six Hundred People Helped Animate The Characters
It's an understatement to say that it takes a village to bring any animated feature to life, let alone one that's on the scale of Frozen. Every Disney production is particularly extravagant, but Frozen went the extra mile. The film gets praised for how realistic its characters and environments look and that's because it took over 600 animators who worked for over two and a half years to painstakingly pull off these impressive feats.
14 They Based The Trolls On Broadway Cast Members
There's a lot of love between the cast and productions of musicals and so it's not exactly surprising to see that there are some fun shout-outs within Frozen to some of Stphen Oremus' stage productions. It's been revealed that the Trolls within the movie are based on cast members from both the Book of Mormon and Kinky Boots, two decidedly un-Disney productions.
13 "Do You Want To Build A Snowman" Was Removed From The Film Several Times
It's not unusual for films to go through changes and experience edits during their production. In musicals, it's especially common to remove entire songs if they're slowing down the film or just messing with the flow. Such was the case with Frozen's "Do You Want To Build A Snowman." It was removed and put back into the movie several times with a consensus not being reached. It wasn't until the very end that it was decided that the number would remain in the movie.
12 Idina Menzel Had To Sing In Front Of The Animators
Frozen is praised for the quality of its animation, but there's so much work that the animators do to help bring a realistic touch to the characters that goes far beyond what the audience recognizes. For instance, when Elsa sings, her abdomen undulates in an interesting way. This is based off the actual movements of Idina Menzel's abdomen when she performs. The animators wanted the singing to look accurate, so Menzel's performance was studied.
11 An Animator Shot Video Of Herself And Her Children For Animation Purposes
It can be difficult to crack the intricacies of how the human body moves and the actions of humans can often be much more taxing than creating some fantastical monster. To help with Anna's movements, animator Becky Bresee actually shot video of herself acting as Anna. She did the same thing with her two kids to help with the scene where young Else and Anna are waking up together.
10 They Snuck In Disney Characters From Other Films
Disney films are notorious for sneaking in subtle nods to previous films, or in some cases even appearances from other characters. Frozen isn't too blatant here, but Rapunzel and Flynn from Tangled can briefly be seen in the kingdom. It's a fun cameo in addition to the obligatory Mickey Mouse sighting.
9 The Creation Of "Let It Go" Sparked Drastic Rewrites
There are many popular and well-done songs within Frozen, but "Let It Go," has definitely taken on a life of its own. After Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez wrote the number it became clear that Elsa could no longer be the film's villain. This is where the changes began to turn Elsa into a sympathetic heroine.
8 Anna's Powerful Opposition To Hans Originally Belonged To Kristoff
One of the most powerful and empowering moments within Frozen is when Anna finds the nerve to punch Hans and give him a piece of her mind. As strong as this moment is, it was originally supposed to happen with Kristoff right after Anna gets frozen. Ultimately the moment took away from Anna's loss, but it means even more coming from her later on.
7 There Was A Much More Masculine Intro For Kristoff That Was Cut
Every character in Frozen does a great job at feeling realistic. It's easy to see why so many people connect with these characters and the messages that they push. Kristoff doesn't always get his due, but he originally had a much more action-packed introduction that was eventually deemed to be too much. The scene had Kristoff scaling heights with pick axes and demonstrating his brute strength.
6 A Lot Of The Cast Originally Auditioned For Tangled
Frozen has gone on to be considered one of the formative princess stories I Disney's library, but before it came along it was their adaptation of the Rapunzel narrative, Tangled, that had this honor. Before many of the vocal casts of Frozen were decided on, talents like Idina Menzel and Kristen Bell actually auditioned for the role of Rapunzel. They didn't get it, but their performances were so memorable they were remembered when Frozen came along.
5 John Lasseter Was Used As Inspiration For A Certain Aspect Of Olaf
Olaf is certainly one of the crazier characters within Frozen, but some of him actually comes from a real place. John Lasseter may now be out at Disney, but at the time of Frozen's production one of her facial tics was incorporated into the film as an endearing tribute. The face that Olaf makes as he proclaims, "He's crazy" is modeled right after Lasseter's own expression.
4 Donnie Osmond Receives A Tribute In The Film
Donnie Osmond has a legendary career that’s spanned decades, but his children probably prefer Frozen’s loving homage to him more than any of the rest of his work. Donnie Osmond is used as the inspiration for Hans during certain vocal performances. He's not just a talented singer who has a history with Disney, but he's also the uncle of one of the film's animators, Hyrum Osmond. That makes this tribute to Osmond even sweeter.
3 The Production Staff Formed Their Own Theories About What Happened To Elsa And Anna's Parents
Part of what makes the relationship between Elsa and Anna so strong in the film is that they have to rely on each other without parents to keep them safe. Frozen is explicit that their parents are lost at sea, but the rest is left up for debate. Many of the people who worked on the film had their own theories about where they were headed that range from a wedding to them being shipwrecked on some island. Who knows if Frozen 2 will shed further light on this scenario.
2 Legitimate Parallel Thinking Occurred With The "Finish Each Other's Sandwiches" Joke
When the same joke shows up in two different works, it can be easy to accuse one source of stealing from the other. That being said, parallel thinking is a real thing and it does happen, which was the case with the "finish each other's sandwiches" lyric. It was pointed out during the film's production that the same joke appears in Arrested Development, but it happened organically here. The composer was even eating a sandwich when he wrote the line! Frozen experimented with changing it to "sausages" and "sauerkraut," but in the end it was "sandwiches" that had the best ring to it.
1 The Film's Designers Traveled To Norway For Inspiration
It’s not easy to create a fictional kingdom from out of nowhere. When Frozen's animation and design departments were trying to conceive the environments of Frozen, like Arendelle, they decided to go on some trips to take in some unique architecture. The team fell in love with Norway's "rosemaling" pattern and it's featured everywhere within Arendelle as a result.
Sources: Cosmopolitan.com, OhMy.Disney.com, CinemaBlend.com