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By their very nature, movie sequels are a return to something that has been done before. As such, one might expect that making Frozen II was easier for voice actors like Josh Gad, because they'd played the characters before. However, there was one element added to the sequel that wasn't around in the first Frozen, that made doing the work a bit tougher for Gad as well as some of the other cast and crew. There was a documentary film crew along for the ride this time, and Josh Gad admits it threw him off his game a bit.
On Friday Disney+ will debut Into the Unknown: Making Frozen 2, a six-part series that looks at the final year of the production of what would becoming the highest grossing animated film ever. CinemaBlend attended a virtual press conference with several of the people who are spotlighted in the new series, and Josh Gad revealed that when it came time for him to do his singing, he ended up having to do it twice, because the documentary cameras were too intimidating. According to Gad...
I was so intimidated with the cameras around. Because you feel so vulnerable, so when I was singing my song, and people are like, recording me, ‘What is this? We’re doing an animated film.’ And it was just so intimidating...And I had to come back and re-sing it.
So when you see Josh Gad singing as part of Into the Unknown, you can assume that what you're seeing wasn't actually used in the film, because Gad himself wasn't a fan of that work. It's a bit surprising because Josh Gad got his start on Broadway, so performing in front large numbers of people is something he's done before, and done well by all accounts.
Cameras are not an entirely foreign concept to making animated movies. Actors are frequently photographed while recording in order to give animators reference material when creating the characters that will go into the film, but Josh Gad joked that the documentary experience was very different.
Those [animation] cameras don’t come with [mimicking Into the Unknown director Megan Harding] ‘Can you do that again? And this time do it in front of us? And I’m going to bring in five additional people to take a look at you.'
Olaf more than any other character feels like his performance is largely improvised, and Josh Gad certainly had some freedom to try different lines and ideas in the booth, but he says that if there are too many people watching him, he can have difficulty feeling comfortable enough to do that.
My Frozen process is so intimate when I am creating music or lines for Olaf, our brain trust, it needs to be [holds hands close together] or I start to feel a little naked and I can’t experiment and play.
While having the documentary crew there may have felt unusual much of the time, the result of dealing with it all worked out, as it led to both the creation of Frozen II and an excellent documentary series about the making of the film. Into the Unknown: Making Frozen 2, will see all six episodes drop on Disney+ on Friday, June 26.