STORY OF FROZEN, THE: MAKING A DISNEY ANIMATED CLASSIC (TV)

Summary

This documentary special is a behind-the-scenes look at the making of "Frozen," the highly successful 2013 Disney musical film about a powerful princess, Elsa, and her bond with her sister, Anna. Host Josh Gad, who voices Olaf the snowman, explains that the film was made over two and a half years with a staff of 600, though Walt Disney's hopes to adapt Hans Christian Andersen's story "The Snow Queen" date back seventy years. Deciding that the public was not, in fact, "too cynical" for an old-fashioned princess tale, Disney Animation Studios brought back hand-drawn animation with "The Princess and the Frog" (2009) and "Tangled" (2010) before finally turning back to Andersen's tale. Kristen Bell, who voices Anna, explains that her own playful expressions and gestures, as well as those of supervising animator Becky Bresee and Bresee's daughters, were used to create Anna's awkward, relatable demeanor. Idina Menzel, who voices Elsa, describes how she identifies with the character, noting that her own singing techniques were used in the character's animation.

Jonathan Groff jokes about voicing both romantic lead Kristoff and his pet reindeer Sven, and Gad notes with pride that the energetic Olaf is "an animator's dream," with supervising animator Hyrum Osmond explaining that he took inspiration from Gad, executive producer John Lasseter, his own young son and his famous uncle Donny for the characters. The writers' and animators' own children provided the voices for the young Anna and Elsa, who were originally envisioned as a peasant and a ruthless queen respectively until they were changed to sisters for greater emotional impact. Bell and Menzel comment on their bonds with their own sisters, adding that the song focusing on Anna and Elsa's changing relationship over the years, "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?", was cut from the film and only re-added at the last minute. The animators traveled to Norway to research ideas for the fictional town of Arendelle, drawing inspiration from the landscape and from rosemåling, a traditional folk art featuring stylized paintings on wood. They also conducted some very hands-on research into the appearance and movement of snow, a prominent factor in the film, and based Elsa's "ice palace" on a six-sided snowflake, noting that it took nine months to animate the brief sequence in which the palace first appears.

Elsa was originally conceived as a blue-skinned villain draped in a living "fur coat," but Lasseter began to reconsider as he thought of his own son's diagnosis with juvenile diabetes and its parallels to Elsa's uncontrollable and destructive ice powers. Songwriters Robert and Kristen Anderson-Lopez explain how "Let It Go," Elsa's would-be "villain song," quickly became more of a moving ballad about her personal transformation and sense of freedom, and director Jennifer Lee immediately realized upon hearing it that the film would have to be rewritten to portray Elsa as a "tortured hero." The song, as well as the film itself, became a massive hit, leading to many viral videos of young fans – and even a group of Marines – singing their own versions. It was recorded in over forty different languages and went on to win the Academy Award for Best Original Song, while the film took Best Animated Feature. Bell notes the film's refreshing choice not to focus on the female lead's search for a love interest, and she and Menzel shares their hopes that their own children will come to love the movie as well. Don Hall and Chris Williams, who voices Oaken, then preview their upcoming Disney feature "Big Hero 6" (2015), from which a clip is shown, and Lasseter reveals that the "Frozen" characters will return in a short sequel ("Frozen Fever"). Includes commercials and promos.

Details

  • NETWORK:
  • DATE: 8:00 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 0:59:57
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: 117110
  • GENRE: Arts documentaries
  • SUBJECT HEADING: Animation
  • SERIES RUN: ABC - TV, 2014
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CREDITS

    • Jeanmarie Condon … Senior Executive Producer, Writer
    • Megan Harding … Executive Producer, Writer
    • Victoria Thompson … Senior Producer, Writer
    • John Petro … Segment Producer
    • Evan Self … Associate Producer
    • Rudy Bednar … Director
    • Josh Gad … Narrator
    • Idina Menzel … Interviewee
    • Jonathan Groff … Interviewee
    • Kristen Bell … Interviewee
    • Becky Bresee … Interviewee
    • Hyrum Osmond … Interviewee
    • Jennifer Lee … Interviewee
    • Kristen Anderson-Lopez … Interviewee
    • Robert Lopez … Interviewee
    • Chris Williams … Interviewee
    • Don Hall … Interviewee
    • Hans Christian Andersen
    • Walt Disney
    • John Lasseter
    • Donny Osmond