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Whether it’s a live-action blockbuster, a small indie, or an animated family film, moviemaking is an arduous endeavor. It requires a lot of people working hard over long hours and with limited resources in order to hit deadlines and get the movie into theaters. For Disney’s eagerly anticipated animated sequel Frozen II, the producers found a magical way to hit those deadlines: puppies. That’s right, in an exclusive interview with CinemaBlend’s own Eric Eisenberg, Sterling K. Brown explained what it was like working at Walt Disney Animation Studios, saying:
There’s a sense of play too. Because you get downstairs and there’s a ping pong table. Sometimes I would take a break and be like ‘Anybody wanna pong?’ When they get close to D-Day, as we moved toward the end of the production they would bring dogs in. For people to pet, because they’re there around the clock animating, producing this thing. And they’re like ‘Aw, let me pet the puppy. This feels good.’ Because they maintain a sense of joy even when things are difficult. And I think that’s kind of like the story of the film. There’s joy in the midst of the difficulty because there’s such beauty in the final product.
Is it any wonder Disney is such a creative force? I think you’d expect there to be a sense of magic and wonder working at the hallowed Walt Disney Animation Studios just because of the films that have been made there. But as Sterling K. Brown makes clear, it’s not just about the building itself, it’s about the unique experience of working there and how they make it special. Part of that unique experience on Frozen II involved the petting of puppies.
Sterling K. Brown explains to Eric that, as Frozen II got closer to the end of production and the pressure was really on to finish it, the producers had dogs brought in for people to pet. While that might seem odd, it shows the sense of play working at Walt Disney Animation Studios that Sterling K. Brown talks about. Clearly Disney makes effort to maintain a light atmosphere-- even when the stresses of moviemaking are at their worst.
As Frozen II moved towards the end of production and deadlines were looming, actors were spending a ton of time in the booth recording their voice work and animators were spending hours upon hours in front of the computer bringing the characters and the beautiful world of this film to life. So the puppies were brought in as a way to bring some joy to people who are essentially stuck at work and having rough, difficult days.
It sounds like it was really a nice way to give people a break and allow them to decompress a bit through the joy of petting a puppy. Sometimes when you’re in the middle of a tough project you can feel drained and like you’re being crushed under the weight of it. But sometimes all it takes is a little boost to help you push through. As stress relief methods go, petting puppies is as good as any and better than most.
So on Frozen II, puppies helped those working on the film to stay upbeat and hit deadlines. You can hear Eric’s discussion with the cast, directors and songwriters of Frozen II in the video below.
Sterling K. Brown also draws parallels between Frozen II and the process of making the film and how each is about finding happiness even when times are hard. It’s a salient message and one we’re excited to see play out in the sequel film. The puppy approach seemingly worked well for Frozen II, which will arrive in theaters on time next weekend. The sequel took a long time, but it looks to have been worth it.