Venturing into the unknown, even for a strong queen like Elsa, calls for courage, passion, grit, imagination, and a little magic doesn’t hurt either.
During a recent press conference, we heard from the Cast and Creative team on what to took to bring this story to life. Before Elsa could kick off her journey, directors Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee and producer Peter Del Vecho began their own, following the unimaginable success of 2013’s “Frozen” that introduced a compelling pair of sisters, a charming mountain man, and an unforgettable snowman who likes warm hugs. “We realized there were lingering questions within us,” says Lee. “What Anna would do now that she has everything she’s ever wanted. We felt there were unanswered questions about their parents and where their ship was going when it went down. And the biggest one: Why was Elsa born with magical powers?”
And this one question kept coming up, which is why does Elsa have these awesome powers and then more questions. What’s with the girls meant to do with their lives? They finally got together. What happened? Where were their parents really going? We had these questions and we naively just said, we have more stories to tell and we’re not ready to leave this world.
We love this world of not knowing what the journey would be, a journey we Disney animation doesn’t usually do added Lee.
But in addition to all of that, it happens to be a love story about two extraordinary sisters, Elsa and Anna.
According to Buck, in “Frozen,” the world had just opened up for the characters. “They were trying to figure out who they were,” he says. “But it feels like they’ve graduated college now. They’re getting their lives together. We wanted to know what that means for each of them.”
“If ‘Frozen’ was happily ever after,” says Lee, “then ‘Frozen 2’ is the day after happily ever after. Life gets in the way. It throws you curve balls. So, this is about learning to fight for your place in the world, do what’s right, all of the grown-up things you have to do. There’s still fun and humor, but it’s a deeply emotional story about finding out who we are meant to be.
The answers promised by the calling also threaten her kingdom. Together with Anna, Kristoff, Olaf, and Sven, Elsa faces a dangerous but remarkable journey into the unknown to the enchanted forests and dark seas beyond Arendelle. In “Frozen,” Elsa feared her powers were too much for the world. In “Frozen 2,” she must hope they are enough.
Kristen Bell commented that it’s all about making beautiful art, something that they are proud of. And then there’s taking that out into the world and from her perspective, getting to go out on stage. It just never really ended from frozen because I’m singing the music and looking out into an audience and seeing people of all ages really singing this music and reminding me how they’ve been touched by it and how they’ve learned to celebrate that thing and something that makes them feel extraordinary in the world, she added.
Into the Unknown
The film’s iconic song, “Let It Go,” with music and lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez won an Oscar for best achievement in music written for motion picture, original song.
The Lopezes returned for “Frozen 2,” writing seven all-new original songs that capture the emotion, fun, and intrigue in a compelling and forever-contagious way. They credited their daughters for inspiring a lot of the music in the first film, and it seems that perhaps some things never change. “The girls—Anna and Elsa—are growing up,” says Anderson-Lopez. “And our own girls are growing up, too. Our daughters are around the same age as Jennifer Lee’s daughter. They informed the choices we made with ‘Frozen,’ and have also informed the choices we made with ‘Frozen 2.’ As the girls get more independent and have to walk their own paths and face their own moments of crisis without us there to protect them, it’s ushered in a new era of parenting for us, which also made its way into the film.”
Adds Lopez, “The epic tone of the new movie was something we wanted to hit right from the beginning. So, the lullaby, ‘All Is Found,’ that Queen Iduna sings to her young daughters is meant to be a road map to the mythology of the story.”
I grew up doing musical theater and Disney musicals here go hand in hand. All of my favorite Disney movies usually have musical elements in them. And those are the ones that I feel like really stick around forever. The ones that we remember that and seeing them become part of our lives continued Lopez.
Fairy Tale and Myth
The filmmakers found themselves delving into the inner workings of both fairy tales and mythology. “We realized that in the first movie, we unknowingly had both a myth and a fairy tale going on at the same time,” says producer Peter Del Vecho.
“Elsa was definitely a mythic character, which generally carries the weight of the world on their shoulders and do things the rest of us can’t. They also typically suffer a tragic fate which might have happened to Elsa in the first film were it not for Anna.”
Director Jennifer Lee says Anna is the fairy-tale character. “She’s the optimist,” says Lee. “These characters are only human. They’re not magical but often enter into the dangers of a magical world. They go into the belly of the beast, suffering hardship and loss with great struggles, yet rise triumphant.”
But that is just the artistry behind these films. They’re just living, breathing works of art. And there’s so much love and care afforded to all of them. It was really all about story and character that was inspired by Jennifer Lee and Chris Black and the story team making us think about a more complicated and more layered sisterhood story.
Much like the first film, which was inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s 1845 fairy tale “The Snow Queen,” “Frozen 2” embraces the tenants of fairy tales, mythology and similar stories that were often written to explain the inexplicable.
The all-new story takes place three years after the conclusion of the first movie: Elsa is queen and Anna is happy to have everyone she loves Elsa, Kristoff, Olaf, and Sven under one roof.
“‘Frozen 2’ is even bigger and more epic than the first,” says Buck. “But most importantly, in the end ‘Frozen’ and ‘Frozen 2’ work together to form one complete story.”
“Frozen 2” opens in U.S. theaters on Nov. 22, 2019.
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