FROZEN 2 Early Press Day!
Thank you Walt Disney Animation Studios for inviting me to an early press day for the most anticipated movie of the year, FROZEN 2! What a day, we had 4 breaks out sessions with the men and woman who've made the magic possible. These creative geniuses have poured their heart and soul into FROZEN 2 and it's every bit noticeable when you see the movie, it's breathtaking. Each scene is pure perfection, truly a work of art. Below was our break out sessions and highlights of what we learned. Within the month, I'll be writing more about each category, what we learned that day. Mark it in your calendar, FROZEN 2 hits theatres on MY BIRTHDAY, November 22nd!
“FROZEN 2” FILMMAKER PRESENTATION INTERVIEW WITH PETER DEL VECHO, CHRIS BUCK, JENNIFER LEE
We’ve been working on Frozen 2 for four years and finally to share parts of our film with you it’s an incredibly exciting time for us. To make Frozen 2, we got back together our incredible creative team from the first Frozen. That wasn’t hard to do, actually. Luckily. And when it came to music we again collaborated with our original song writers and that’s Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez. And so these Oscar-winning songwriters brought so much to Frozen and we’re thrilled to work with them again on Frozen 2.
Six years ago when Frozen was released in theaters we could never have imagined how much that film would mean to people of all ages. How it would resonate with audiences around the world. At Disney Animation we never make sequels unless the filmmakers themselves have an idea for a film and a desire to tell it. That’s why even though Frozen 2 is our fifty-eighth animated feature, it is only our fourth sequel. And it’s the first animated musical sequel that we have made at that.
For FROZEN 2 we started looking really deeply into the characters Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, Olaf, Sven. Where are they now? What’s going on with them? Where is it left to go? And there were still a lot of questions from the first film that were unanswered, and one of them was why does Elsa have icy powers? How have they grown since Anna saved Elsa’s life? Why was Anna born the way she was? Where were the parents going when their ship went down? And is there really such a thing as happily ever after?
INTERVIEW WITH FROZEN 2 ENCHANTED FORESTS & DARK SEAS – Bill Schwab, Tony Smeed, Svetla Radivoeva, Trent Correy, Erin Ramos, Hannah Swan
Frozen 2, has new characters that live outside of Arendelle and we learned about 4 of them. The first, Earth Giants. The Earth Giants are made of rock and asymmetrical which affects the way they move. They’re super heavy and this has to be conveyed through the animation. The Earth Giants are extraordinary in height, weight, and depth, to imagine an Earth Giant and bring him to life is remarkable.
Second is Bruni the Salamander, and the main focus with this character was to make him as adorable and cute as possible. I can attest, he's precious! Just the sweetest, after you see Bruni, everyone will want one.
Third, Gale the Wind Spirit, and this was actually the first Character the Director's asked me (Bill Schwab) to work on, on the film and the first question I asked myself was what does wind look like because we can't see it. And so we started to explore what might Gale move around? Leaves, sticks, debris and even thinking about Gale taking the form of an active character, using the environment to create that and also interaction with our character. Or maybe like the sketch on the top left, even imitating our character. So Annette Marnat was another Artist that worked on this character and shereally explored this idea of lighting and how to make Gale more magical, beautiful. This image with Olaf here is by Griselda Sastrawinata. And Griselda was exploring this idea of patterning, color variation and again, different ways to bring Gale to life.
Last but not least we learned about Nokk which is the water horse, and he's gorgeous. Nokk is inspired by folklore and mythology from the Nordic region. It’s a shape shifting spirit but the Directors had decided it’s going to have the constant shape of a horse and the direction was to be as realistic as possible and to not have cartoony, funny expressions. Nokk is truly magical, breath taking to say the least, I can't wait till you see this amazing creature.
The Nokk lives in the Dark Sea which is another environment that we visit in our movie. So like the Enchanted Forest, we want it to feel mysterious but while the Enchanted Forest is enchanting, we wanted the Dark Sea to feel more dangerous and treacherous. This is a piece of art that was done by David Womersley who was our Art Director of Environments and it really kind of struck a tone for what we wanted the Dark Sea to look like. And because its environment was basically all water, the Effects Department had to work really closely with Production Design to create this look.
FAIRY TALE & MYTH, DAY with BECKY BRESEE, MARLON WEST, HYUN-MIN LEE, GRISELDA SASTRAWINATA-LEMAY, WAYNE UNTEN and MARC SMITH.
FROZEN 2 has a delicate balance of fairytale, myth and the evolving story of Anna and Elsa. Anna, as you know is so positive, she believes in a happy ending, she’s such a fairytale character. Whereas in the mythic stories, the characters in those stories always have the weight of the world sort of on their shoulders, right? And they always have, there always working toward some destiny or purpose. Those are all big themes of mythic stories. And when we start this movie, you know, that’s a big question for Elsa is like, I was born with these ice powers. Like, why? What’s the purpose? What am I supposed to do with that? It was really pivotal, this discovery because it really gave us our two main characters that have these complete opposing worldviews. And that really, really helped us to start cracking the story.
“FROZEN 2” Frozen World Uncovered: Production Design INTERVIEW WITH SEAN JENKINS, LISA KEENE, DAVID WOMERSLEY
When “Frozen” debuted in 2013, it largely reflected the icy ideas that might accompany a movie named “Frozen”—cool tones, snow and ice, despite the fact that it took place during summer. But “Frozen 2” is rooted in change, so production designer Michael Giaimo embraced the idea. “Anna and Elsa go on very specific journeys in ‘Frozen 2,’ and they both grow and mature in the process,” says Giaimo. “Little by little they each peel back layers, revealing more and more depth and dimension in these characters. For me, that meant removing the layers of snow and getting down into the earth.”
We have specific trees that we had to use because that’s where they came from. We talked to a Norwegian botanist. We do a lot of research about the trees that would actually be in a particular forest that that we were going to, up in the North part of Scandinavia. And also, we chose trees particularly for the contrast in shapes, that we could use different shapes to create these interesting looking collections of trees, if you could. As you can see there, this is when we brought some of those islands together, and the great thing about the islands was that we created them in such a way, that aesthetically, you could turn them around and use them from different angles, and then you could build up the forest using these islands.
“FROZEN 2” INTERVIEW WITH BRITTNEY LEE, NORMAND LEMAY, TOM MACDOUGALL, DALE MAYEDA, JUSTIN SKLAR and MICHAEL WOODSIDE
When we meet the sisters when they’re both little girls, they’re both very bright and effervescent, and then you see in the first film, Elsa’s journey as she growing up. Things change a bit and as she gets older and she’s being more secretive and she’s more secluded, her silhouettes change and she becomes more restricted. She gets higher collars and longer sleeves and gloves and her, her hues deepen. She gets much darker and so that is an effort to help the audience know. To tell you the story that she’s being closed off from the world, and it’s not until we ultimately get to see her let it go, that we bring her back to the hues that you meet her in when she’s very little. We’re ultimately saying that through these silhouettes, through these colors, that she is the authentic Elsa. That’s her true self. That’s who she was born to be, but when we meet her in Into the Unknown, she’sin a darker colors, so what does that mean?
Frozen 2 starts at night. Both Anna and Elsa are asleep. We find them in middle of the night and, of course with bad timing, the voice comes, shows itself again waking up Elsa. At this point in the story, Elsa doesn’t want anything to do with the voice. It’s stirring things in her that she wants to keep quiet. She’s going to use everything around her like bed sheets or pillows to kind of just cover her ears and block it off. It’s not the right time. She just doesn’t want to deal with it, it’s too much.
For Frozen 2 we needed to find a way to blend the magic of a live action performance, whether that’s in the booth or on a Broadway stage, and combine that with what we know to be Disney magic and put that all in a way that the modern audience can appreciate it in a new fresh way, so one of the new things we tried on this film was bringing in a musical director, a vocal coach to come in and actually work with the animators in multiple sessions. They often learn how to do breathing techniques to put it in their bodies.
it’s not just breathing, we are progressing other things so that we can see them in comparison between the top and bottom clips. We’re progressing the tension in the body, the speed of the gestures, the size of the gestures and most importantly, the performance in the face, so in the beginning you could see that she’s definitely not interested in this voice and by the end, she couldn’t be interested in anything but the voice, so our job is to get her from point A to point B safely. As Tom brought up, these songs are meant to reveal change in the characters and convey a change in the story.
Welcome to FROZEN 2 where the aura of mystery begins with beauty and magic, a fine line between FAIRY TALE AND MYTH!
Why was Elsa born with magical powers? What truths about the past await Elsa as she ventures into the unknown to the enchanted forests and dark seas beyond Arendelle? The answers are calling her but also threatening her kingdom. Together with Anna, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven, she'll face a dangerous but remarkable journey. In “Frozen,” Elsa feared her powers were too much for the world. In “Frozen 2,” she must hope they are enough. From the Academy Award®-winning team—directors Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, producer Peter Del Vecho and songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez—and featuring the voices of Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff and Josh Gad, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Frozen 2” opens in U.S. theaters on Nov. 22, 2019.