Ever wondered how Disney movies were made, particularly animated movies? Keep reading, because I’ve got a lot of information to share about the making of Frozen 2, Disney’s new movie arriving in theaters on November 22, 2019!
Part two of the story, which is not being referred to as a sequel but the completion of one story, is far more than just the relationship between Anna and Elsa, something we learned during our attendance at the early press day back in early September. But first, details on that press day…
It was held in the Disney Animation building in Burbank. I missed the breakfast, after an almost three-hour drive. I was bummed but thrilled to have made it on time. (To the 210/134 freeway, get it together! That drive should be 90 minutes tops.) The Animation Building is like a time capsule of successful movies, with their props and photos lining the walls. I can’t help but want to wander and see what new additions there have been since the last visit.
This time, there was a huge prop of Anna and Elsa in one hallway….and you know what that means. It means that I had to take my photo with it. (Thank you, Marshall, for snapping this!)
We were divided up into several groups to rotate through the presentations being held throughout the morning, where we learned about various portions of movie creation, such as the attire of Anna and Elsa, how the small portions of animated objects come together to make the big picture, and getting the pleasure of hearing things firsthand from the producer of Frozen 2, Peter Del Vecho, who has been with Disney for 24 years.
Interesting piece of trivia that most people don’t know about animated movies: they can take years to make. Did you know Frozen 2 took four years to make? One early press day and you have a whole new appreciation for the talent, skill and effort that’s put into creating Disney magic that sucks you into a whole new world. (See what I did there?)
Mr. Del Vecho addressed the common question he’d heard repeatedly in the first two years after Frozen was released six years ago: where did Elsa get her icy powers? The team who worked on Frozen 2 were willing to take that on, and to address where Anna and Elsa were going now that they were united as sisters. To do that properly though, they had to take a trip to do in-person research. Cue the grip to Norway, Finland and Iceland. (Can you imagine that kind of work travel?)
That trip enabled the team to portray the accurate fall colors of Norway, the waterfalls and the stark beauty of Iceland. This led to appropriate interior of the castle, the new colors of robes and coats and even Olaf’s new ability to read! (Olaf is a scene stealer, and while we saw only short portions of the movie, we all loved him. The charades scene is hilarious!)
INTERVIEW WITH SEAN JENKINS, LISA KEENE, DAVID WOMERSLEY
The Frozen World Uncovered: Production Design presentation was really interesting, as we learned about the building of the world of Frozen. One fun fact was that Sean Jenkins, Head of Environments of Frozen 2, didn’t even work on the first Frozen! He did a stellar job, clearly, in the transition as the scenes are spectacular.
The Environments team basically starts with a blank slate and they build the backgrounds and scenes from scratch. Even though this is a second part of a movie based on a snow-covered world, this movie takes place in a different area, hence the need for a whole new environment. The first Frozen was entirely on a white canvas, but Frozen 2 takes place in the fall season, so they had the challenge of a new color palette and verticality, which is basically just what it sounds like: vertical objects like trees and fjords. It just goes to show that we see on the screen is anything but ‘just’ an object, because of all the details belonging to each of them.
To explain that best, here’s a very brief clip from the presentation, in Lisa Keene’s own words, which I couldn’t rewrite more succinctly: We were going to use yellow very specifically in certain locations, but in our Enchanted Forest, we wanted to reduce our palette and pull it into a Frozen 1 experience, but only in fall. So, here’s an example of Frozen 1, our winter palette. It’s a jeweled palette. So, you have beautiful emeralds, you have cranberries, and magentas, and teals, and black. And we needed to take all of that and move it into our fall palette. So, things that fell away were brilliant oranges, and really saturated yellows. So, we use the same thing over here, over here, but we just tailored at the yellows a little bit, so that we could use it in ways that we needed to use it for specific, like, Elsa’s hair or whatever. And then, our reds skewed into a cranberry, or a more of a winter red kind of a palette, and our teals. So, we still stayed with the jewel palette, but we just did it in different proportions for the fall.
And we are the lucky ones that just get to sit down and absorb it all in the movie theater!
There was entirely too much information shared at early press day to do justice to it all in one post, so I’ll end here with this photo of the session that covered the colorization and updates to Anna and Elsa’s attire. (You’ll immediately notice Anna’s new color scheme, as well, and my little hint is that I *loved* it.)
After the sessions, we were sent to lunch, where the food was inspired by Norway and Finland, and we enjoyed the very special sugar craft work in these beautiful lollipops.
Thanks, Disney, for not only creating the Frozen world and story, but for allowing us to participate in such a day full of magic about making Frozen 2. Entering and leaving any Disney building gives me the same giddy feeling I get when I enter any of the Disney parks, and as a Disney annual passport holder, I try to do that as often as I can. I can’t wait until Frozen 2 comes out. Watch the official trailer below!
And that lollipop made it home safely, where my youngest son enjoyed some at-home Disney magic!