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We had the opportunity to sit down with Directors Chris Buck & Jennifer Lee as well as Producer Peter Del Vecho during a press conference to learn more about Disney’s newest Animated film “Frozen,” coming to Theaters in 3D on November 27.
Chris Buck made his directing debut on the 1999 Disney animated blockbuster “Tarzan,” and is back at the helm for this new production. Buck began his career with Disney in 1978, and has made important contributions as an animator, supervising animator, character designer and director. He also worked on a Sony Pictures Animated film “Surf’s Up” in 2007, which garnered an Oscar Nomination.
Jennifer Lee, joined Walt Disney Animation Studios in March 2011 as one of the screenplay writers of this year’s hit arcade adventure “Wreck-It Ralph,” is also a writer of the “Frozen” screenplay and co-directs the comedy adventure. Lee’s screen adaptation of John Steinbeck’s “The Acts of King Arthur and His Nobel Knights” is being produced by Troika Pictures. Lee was excited to work on “Frozen” with such talented Cast and Crew.
Peter Del Vecho (Producer) joined Walt Disney Animation Studios in 1995 and came to the studio with a wealth of production experience in theater. As the production manager of “Hercules,” Del Vecho was responsible for guiding a production team of 300 artists. He also served as the associate producer of the 2002 animated film “Treasure Planet,” which received an Oscar nomination for best animated feature. In addition, he was the associate producer of the 2005 animation adventure “Chicken Little.”
Q: Tell us the origin of the story behind Frozen. Has it changed?
The Original Pitch was about a snow queen type person and is still inspired by Hans Christian Anderson. It’s about character that has a frozen heart and some other person would warm that heart up. It was also about two women but they were not sisters, after making them sisters they had that emotional bond between them in the story and everything, everybody go it. They can understand how these two sisters if they break apart, they want them to get back together.
Q: When you were voice Casting, did you look for people who can sing as well as act?
Yes. Part of it was that when you hear those voices you knew that they just belonged. Even the male parts are all great singers.
Q: Can you talk about the tone of the film?
We always wanted the film to be entertaining. People are funny and do awkward things. You care about their journey which feels like real life. The humor helps you get through it, which makes it big and epic. As Filmmakers its always difficult to find the tone. It’s usually all over the place. It’s our job to find the balance to keep the audience entertained.
Q: Can you talk about your challenges?
Some of the challenges was that we originally had a later release date, and was asked if we can release the film in 2013 which made it a compressed schedule. The greatest challenge was that we kept pushing on the story even it that meant holding up on production. And we found that balance. We owe a lot to the story and production crew. We also had to re-animate scenes and the animators had to push themselves to meet the deadline. A challenge on every movie, is to always to give the rest of the artists a good story. Because everyone was working well together, to make this movie come to life.
Q: How do you deal with upholding the pressure of Disney Princesses? By the same time making them different?
We didn’t have any pressure to make them a Disney Princess or Queens. We were free on this film. When people see the whole film, them being princesses has to do with those responsibilities. It makes Disney happy to make them princesses. In the whole development of the story, we never thought of them that way.
Q: Was the film originally going to be hand-drawn vs. CG?
Yes, it was going to be hand-drawn, but that was years ago. But as time went on and the success of Tangled and the CG of the characters was incredible we went that route. It was more of the environment of the Ice and Snow that made our decision. To do that in CG it would be make it look amazing.
Q: Can you talk about Olaf? What was the idea in creating him?
Olaf has changed a lot, he was originally a guard, the first one that was created. Olaf become a little more integral to the plot he also represents innocent love. He has a lot of personality of little Anna as well.
We want to thank the Directors and Producer for taking the time to chat with us. We had a great time at the Disney Animation Studios learning about this amazing film. And don’t forget to catch “Frozen” coming to theaters November 27!