7 Things You Never Knew About Music Fromfrozen
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be in the same room as hundreds of other ' Frozen ' fans -- including, but not limited to, John Lasseter, Kristen Bell and Josh Gad -- singing 'Let It Go' as snow falls down on you from above? Of course you have!
Disney's D23 fan expo treated fans to a delightful 'Frozen' celebration on Sunday (August 16) afternoon. Hosted by Chris Montan, the studio's famed executive music producer, 'Frozen FANdemonium' honored the music of the record-breaking animated film with the people who made the musical magic happen. Oscar-winning songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, along with stars Bell (Anna) and Gad (Olaf), took fans behind the music of 'Frozen,' revealing early demos of first attempts and the inspirations behind some of the movie's biggest hits. And yes, there was lots of singing.
Like most things at Disney Animation Studios, it all started with an idea from Lasseter. The animation head wanted to make a movie in a similar vein to its early '90s classics 'The Little Mermaid' and 'Beauty and the Beast,' where the songs not only expressed the emotions of the characters, but they also raised the stakes.
'We had the chance to work for John,' recalled Anderson-Lopez. 'If he had asked me to write a Ritz cracker commercial, I would have done it. Because he's a genius.'
Director Chris Buck had shown the couple some early storyboards that depicted two sisters, and they were inspired by one in particular: a photo of a young girl looking up at her older sister, and her powers, in amazement. That would become the framework from which the memorable music of 'Frozen' was conceived. Here's what the songwriters and cast of the film had to say about some of your favorite songs:
- 'Love Is An Open Door'
Their first task was to create a song for Anna and Hans, one that would make you believe in their premature love -- and his charm. This, of course, would all be ripped apart in the third act when Hans is revealed to be the true villain of the story. 'We wanted to write a real romantic song and ['Love Is An Open Door'] was our only chance -- even though we had to do it with the villain,' said Lopez.
Their first attempt, 'You're You,' was later scrapped because it made it too apparent that Hans was self-centered, and they needed to keep that on the DL. 'Anybody who would interrupt Kristen Bell, singing, is a creep.'
Fun fact: The couple wrote that lyric about eating sandwiches while actually eating sandwiches.
- 'Making Today a Perfect Day' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHT05KU05lQ
OK, so this didn't appear in 'Frozen,' but you can find it in 'Frozen Fever,' the recently released short film. It's a song Elsa sings for Anna on her birthday.
'We have an office where we're always in the same room, and some days, I get to go to the bathroom,' Anderson-Lopez said. 'And so I went to the bathroom, wrote the song, came out and said, 'The song is done!''
'I like those days,' Lopez added.
- 'Fixer Upper'
The trolls presented a problem for the Lopezes. Their first two attempts at a song were wildly off the rails -- one, being a groovy little ditty written for the then-hippie trolls, and the other included some of Montan's personal favorite lyrics, 'reindeer poop and tomato soup.' But these just weren't working for Lasseter.
However, once the Lopezes received a new direction for the scene ('fear vs. love'), they reworked the song to be more of a metaphor for Anna and Elsa's relationship. And the trolls, being the love experts that they are, were the perfect little guys and gals to send the message. At this point in the story, Anna realizes that Elsa was acting out in fear by pushing her away. Elsa, like Kristoff and Anna and everyone else, is a bit of a fixer upper -- and that's perfectly OK.
'All of the guy trolls are cast members from 'The Book of Mormon' and all of the female trolls were cast members from 'Kinky Boots,'' Anderson-Lopez revealed. Buck's son Woody was also one of the troll soloists.
- 'Do You Want To Build A Snowman?'
The original demo for 'Do You Want To Build A Snowman?' featured Lopez's oldest daughter and Lee's daughter playing the youngest Anna and middle Anna, respectively. (In an even earlier demo, the duo's youngest daughter -- then only 3 years old -- sang young Anna's part. It was absolutely adorable, albeit a tad inaudible.)
'The 'company is overdue, talking to the walls' line were the last lyrics written for the song,' Anderson-Lopez said. 'We stayed up so late at Disney, that we actually started talking to the pictures on the wall. So that's where that came from.'
- 'For The First Time In Forever'
According to Montan, classic Disney musicals always have an 'I Want' song. Think, 'Part of Your World' in 'The Little Mermaid' or 'I Just Can't Wait To Be King' in 'The Lion King.' In 'Frozen,' 'For the First Time in Forever' is Anna and Elsa's 'I Want' song.
It was originally written as a song called 'The Spare,' in which Anna laments over being the lesser sister. 'So I'm a rusty horse shoe hanging up / over somebody's rusty door,' Bell sings in the early demo.
However, the songwriters decided they needed to dig deeper. That's when they decided that this would be a song for Anna and Elsa.
''I wanna stuff some chocolate in my face' used to be 'I hope that I don't vomit in his face,'' said Anderson-Lopez. Needless to say, the 'v-word' didn't go over well with everyone at Disney. So Anderson-Lopez changed the line to a recommendation from her young daughter.
- 'In Summer'
'The first thing we wrote for Olaf, because he's a Disney sidekick, and we thought he deserved this upbeat song, was a hyper song called 'Hot Hot Ice,'' revealed Lopez, who then shared his demo of the Latin-infused song.
'We did that demo in the morning and we had a meeting with Chris Montan and Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, and it got cut that afternoon,' recalled Anderson-Lopez. 'It lived for one day.'
So it was back to the drawing board for the Lopezes. 'We really cracked Olaf when we realized that Olaf was the symbol of the time the sisters were together,' she said.
Once again magic was made in the bathroom -- this time, it was Lopez who created the masterpiece. 'Bobby had worked so closely with Josh on 'The Book of Mormon,' that Bobby's demo sounded exactly like Josh,'' Anderson-Lopez said.
- 'Let It Go' djeffers/Deviant Art
It's impossible to think about 'Frozen' and not get 'Let It Go' stuck in your head. The Disney juggernaut has sold over 10 million copies, been recorded in dozens of languages and won the Academy Award for Best Original Song.
'First we had written a song called 'Cool With Me' -- it was very Sara Bareilles-inspired -- and it was this scene where Elsa froze Anna's heart at the end,' Anderson-Lopez shared. (Um, what?) 'At that time, we still didn't know if Elsa was a villain or a protagonist yet.
Anderson-Lopez was later inspired by her own life. 'I was thinking about how hard it is to be a mom -- to look a certain way even when all you want to do is wear sweatpants,' she said. 'We started infusing our own feelings about how hard it is to live up to other people's expectations.'
One walk through Prospect Park later, and 'Let It Go' was born. 'Anything that sounds like a drag queen line is what Bobby wrote,' Anderson-Lopez said, before adding, 'The third collaborator on this song was John Lasseter.'
Lasseter infamously helped choreograph Elsa's most iconic moves -- and hair flips -- in the 'Let It Go' sequence. He was so protective of the demo that he refused to let Montan add any instrumentals, other than Lopez's initial piano riff. (Smart move, tbh.)