We were invited to the Frozen 2 press conference in Hollywood. Our reporter attended as he always does for press conferences – this time no filming was allowed. The actors in and filmmakers in attendance were Kristen Bell (Anna); Idina Menzel (Elsa); Josh Gad (Olaf); Jonathan Groff (Kristoff); Evan Rachel Wood (Queen Iduna); Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez (Music and lyrics); Jennifer Lee (Chief Creative Officer, director, writer); director Chris Buck and producer Peter Del Vecho. Frozen 2 picks up from there the original left off six years ago, although it has a completely different feel to it.
The host asked Jennifer Lee about the journey of taking the film and characters in a new direction. She answered, “I think it really started about a year after the film came out, we did a small short. And when we saw the characters animated again, we got emotional. And we said, ‘We miss them'”. Lee continued about how Peter was traveling around the world and kept getting asked the question, “Why does Elsa have powers?” – and other questions as well.
Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel were asked what it was like to return to the characters of Anna and Elsa. Menzel said, “It’s returning to this family, this beautiful film and this project that’s gifted us with so much joy in our lives and connecting with another human being like this…making beautiful art that we’re proud of”. Bell talked about how she considered Menzel her idol before Frozen, having seen her on Broadway. And then Bell says that it was “cool and terrifying” when Disney told her to “Go to Idina’s house before this table read, prepare a song just so we can hear what you guys sound like together”. Bell sounded like she was a bit dumbstruck and said her “palms were sweating”, but then expounded that almost immediately there wa a genuine sisterly bond. The song? “Wind Beneath my Wings”. And they started singing just a little of it during the press conference.
Gad said that the coolest thing about watching Frozen and now Frozen 2 with his daughters is that “They’ve got these guys as their role models. That is just the most incredible part of this journey. I get to share this with two girls who look up to two fiercely independent Disney princesses who I think are changing the way we view what a princess is”. The host also brought up the evolution of Olaf, and Gad talked about his oldest daughter Ava. She was one day sitting at the table, laughing, when “all of a sudden, tears started streaming down her face”. Gad continued, “She looked at me and my wife and she goes, ‘What if I don’t want to grow up?'” Gad said it was so unbelievable because it’s the way he feels about Olaf, how Olaf began as naive in the first movie but now he has gone from essentially a toddler to a grown child who realizes that life isn’t just “raindrops and lollipops”.
The press conference lasted about 50 minutes and normally I’d have it to share, but I don’t. There were fun moments, some spoilers, an unexpected expletive and even the cast singing a little of “Glory of Love”. And I appreciate our reporter putting together the audio for me with accompanying photos so I could follow along so well to write this up!
Frozen 2 opens in theaters on November 22nd, 2019.