Movies take a very long time to get made at Walt Disney Animation Studios. Not only is there a protracted story building method, as ideas are repeatedly constructed and deconstructed through development, but it also takes thousands of man-hours to build an entire universe from the non-existent ground up. Given all of this labor, it makes sense that they would also try to splash a bit of fun into the process, and in the making of Frozen II, Kristen Bell got to witness a good amount of this goofiness first hand.
I had the wonderful pleasure of sitting down with the actress and her co-star Idina Menzel at the Los Angeles press day for the new movie, and it was in a discussion about how the actors were brought into the development process that she revealed some of the very strange footage she got to watch in the making of Frozen II.
It started with a conversational tangent about what the animation looks like before it’s finished – and by Kristen Bell’s description, it’s definitely kind of weird:
But that wasn’t the end of it – and is where the aforementioned goofiness comes in. Evidently the Frozen II animators enjoyed playing around with the in-development footage that they would show in the in-house screening rooms, and apparently a frequent gag was the insertion of a “giant hand.” Said Kristen Bell,
Perhaps a reference to Terry Gilliam's cartoons for Monty Python? Or maybe some kind of “Duck Amuck” thing? It’s hard to say without knowing more about the footage, but it definitely sounds weird.
But that wasn’t all. Apparently the folks behind Frozen II also enjoyed animating certain “alternate endings” for the film. For example, without being too spoilery, there is a scene in the finished cut where Kristen Bell’s character, Anna, takes a dangerous leap off of a cliff, but lands safe and sound. In some of the extra material the animators cooked up, though, this wasn’t the case:
At the end of the day, it’s cool that the folks at Walt Disney Animation Studios can have a bit of extra fun when presenting their work, and also that the actors take such an interest in the film even when it’s just in the earliest stages of development.
As described by Idina Menzel and Kristen Bell, they got involved in the making of Frozen II long before it looked anything like a movie, and were privy to all of the changes that were made along the way. As a result of all this, though, they also had to put a lot of trust in the fact that the filmmakers know what they are doing:
The good news is that the animators at Walt Disney Animation Studios are regarded worldwide as some of the best in their craft, so the trust of the actresses was well warranted.
It took many years for it to be finished, but now Frozen II has locked picture, and it will soon be on its way to a theater near you. The film is going to be out in cinemas everywhere this Friday, November 22, and be sure to be on the lookout for more from my interviews with the cast and filmmakers behind the movie here on CinemaBlend!
Your Daily Blend of Entertainment News
Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.