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Team behind ‘Frozen’ discusses its success

Nov 26,2019


If you thought the fans of the “Frozen” series were obsessed with the characters, wait until you meet the creators.

The film that the whole world was waiting for - the second installment of “Frozen” - hit the global box office last week and has been enchanting moviegoers of all ages worldwide. As seen from the global response, the much-anticipated sequel did not fail to live up to the high expectations of fans.

Co-directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee managed to pull off the successful sequel despite the considerable weight of those expectations. Speaking at a press conference in central Seoul on Monday, the pair said that they knew from the beginning what paths they wanted to send Anna and Elsa on this time around.

Spoiler alert: The directors do discuss elements of the plot that fans who have yet to see the film may not want to read.

“It was early on with we decided where they [Anna and Elsa] would end up,” said Buck. “We had these personality tests [taken] online, and it turned out that Anna was a leader and Elsa was a protector, and that seemed perfect for us because we’ve always felt that Anna would make a fantastic queen. She knows everyone in Arendelle, she knows their strengths and [knows how to] lift them up.

“Elsa always has this wonderful side of her that is part of nature and to have someone that has this wonderful power and connection with nature, to finally be free in nature where she belongs, felt so good and so right.”

The directors, while creating a bigger universe for the two sisters, seem to recognize that their younger fans have aged since the first film, as the adventures that Elsa and Anna have take a darker and more twisted road than the previous film.

“We just decided to stay true to [the struggles and obstacles that children face as they grow older] and felt that children [could] go on these adventures as long as it’s appropriate and thought we could grow further than that,” said Lee.

“I think what we appreciate is that the way the world has embraced Anna and Elsa [because] female characters can be main characters of their stories, but I think there’s also responsibility for them to be authentic and true and become as complex as all of us,” said Lee, when asked about the successful representation of female characters.

“Female characters often have very much higher expectations on them universally, and that’s a lot to measure up to, but I think these two women navigate [the world] with honesty of how hard it is but with a pure heart, and we appreciate it, and that changes the narrative of what women can be.”

Lee Hyun-min, a studio animator and head supervisor for the character of Anna, also showed how proud she was of her character, even if Anna doesn’t have any special powers like Elsa.

“I think Anna is a person with great power,” said Lee Hyun-min. “While Elsa has magical powers that can be visibly seen, Anna has this huge inner strength and the capacity to love and understand people, and I think that is Anna’s own superpower. So I didn’t think that she needed any other special powers [to distinguish herself from Elsa].”

However, living up to the expectations of the series’ huge global audience can be tough, as despite the fact that the sequel was just released, inquiries and demands about a third installment are already making headlines due to the fairly open ending to the sequel.

“We joke that working on these [movies] is like running a marathon,” said director Lee. “But I think the thing for us is that deciding to make ‘Frozen 2’ came from very deep inside of us - we knew there was more story to tell and we always thought of [finding out] why Elsa has her powers as the completion of [the] journey and that’s as far as we’ve gone in my head.

“I still haven’t thought past that last shot - which is one of my favorite shots of Elsa and her happy face at the very end - that’s where we’re at right now.”

BY LEE JAE-LIM [lee.jaelim@joongang.co.kr]