Unlike some of the other animated movies pimped at this year’s Disney D23 event, Frozen is close to reaching our screens and has its voice talent ready to share with the world. Disney/Pixar boss John Lasseter brought out the big guns, with stars Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel and Josh Gad on hand and plenty of footage to show off.
Frozen, directed by Chris Buck and Wreck-It Ralph co-writer Jennifer Lee, takes place in a kingdom tapped in eternal winter thanks to a spell from Elsa, the Snow Queen (Menzel). Fearless optimist Anna (Bell) decides to undertake a quest to find Elsa (who also happens to be her sister) and end the chilly conditions.
After the presentation, we collared Bell and Gad to talk about the film. Bell was pleased to report that she got to perform several scenes alongside Menzel. “In any animated film it's tough to get everyone in the same room at the same time", she pointed out, "but Idina and I had a few recording sessions together. We did our songs together, plus a few of our intense emotional scenes. It was amazing to have someone to bounce off, because they wanted it to be as real as possible. We were encouraged to look at each other and react to what the other person was giving us. The animators got those tapes, so a lot of it is based on our expressions.”
However, she had to overcome some nervous wobbles singing alongside her Tony-winning co-star. “I had giant armpit stains and constant cottonmouth," she recalled of sharing the mic with the Broadway veteran. "It was very unnerving, but she couldn't be lovelier or more welcoming, so it was everything I wanted it to be. One of our first rehearsals was at her house, at her piano. I thought I was going to keel over from the excitement.”
Gad was less intimidated, since he has plenty of stage crooning experience via shows such as The Book Of Mormon. And he does get to warble in the film. “I do get a chance to use my pipes. It's a very funny, exciting song.” His preparation for the role of a comic sidekick snowman was a little more unusual. “I jumped in the snow, and for my first couple of sessions, I came in dressed as a snowman. I got a Frosty the Snowman outfit from the local Halloween store and the animators were a little confused. They felt embarrassed for me, but didn't really comment...”
We couldn’t resist asking about his status as the “face” of Frozen, since Olaf and reindeer Sven have appeared in most of the imagery and the lone teaser trailer so far. “It's so much fun," he smiled. "The reindeer and I have gone out and gotten drinks and talked about all the success so far and it's getting to the reindeer's head a little bit. But we're trying to bring him down.” Frozen will hit UK cinemas on December 6.