“I think what was really important for this movie was to have the female perspective,” says co-director Chris Buck.
“We have two female leads and there are times that as a male director you can go to the stereotype of what a female character might do.”
That’s where co-director and writer Jennifer Lee came in. “Jen would always take it to a different place,” he says. “She would say, ‘Make her real. Make her believable.’ So I think that really helped. It was a good balance.”
Based on a Danish fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, Frozen is the story of two royal sisters, Anna, a spirited adventurer (Kristen Bell) and Elsa, a queen (Idina Menzel) with the awesome power to create ice and snow. Sibling is pitted against sibling when Elsa plunges her kingdom into an endless winter and Anna must act to save her sister and the empire. “You want to make these movies to last forever but we have to bring ourselves to it,” says Buck. “We have to bring today’s sense of entertainment and character to our characters.”
“We’re huge Disney fans and I grew up with Disney,” says Lee. “When you watch a Disney film you are constantly feeling it. It is a combination of comedy and drama but it is together in such a way that you feel you are in the world. That is something we both love more than anything because that, to me, is what makes them timeless and resonate. You feel the character and you feel the stakes. You relate to them. I think Disney does that better than anyone.”
Buck says that one of the big challenges in making Frozen was creating a movie for not “just the Disney family but also for the general audience, for everyone of all ages.
“I feel more than anything, a responsibility not to necessarily the company but to the audience,” says Buck. “To the audience who comes in expecting a Disney movie and giving them the best of that. What does that mean to them? It’s humour and emotion and beauty and all of that. For me, that’s the pressure.
“I was speaking to a live action director who does more movies in the PG-13 and R-rated realm and he said, ‘What you guys do is the hardest thing in the world because you try and reach everyone.’”