With so much anticipation and excitement surrounding the project, there’s a lot of pressure on directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee to bring one of Disney’s most beloved stories back to life for a second go. Buck, however, isn’t letting the pressure get to him. With a overall story in place, he and Lee are in the early stages of development.
“We’re just starting,” Buck told MTV News at a special screening of the Walt Disney Animation Studios Shorts Collection on Sunday (August 9). “Jen [Lee] and I are just getting back into the story room together and throwing ideas around. We have an overall idea, a concept, which I think is a very strong one. I’m very excited about doing it.”
The animator admits that it took awhile for his own “Frozen” fever to wear off after the record-breaking success of the 2013 animated flick.
“After the feature, and because of how it was received, we were all overwhelmed by the ’Frozen’ phenomenon,” Buck said. “It took us a while just to even get back into things and do the short. And it was as we were doing the short that we started thinking about the next one.”
The Arendelle gang, including Marshmallow the snow monster, most recently reunited for “Frozen Fever,” a seven-minute short that screened ahead of Disney’s live-action “Cinderella.” For Buck, it was an excellent opportunity to get the voice cast and crew back together to have a bit more fun.
“It was this idea one story artist had. What if Elsa got a cold? What would happen? What kind of havoc would come from that? And then our imaginations just started going,” Buck said. “The other idea that came up is that Elsa would want to do something for Anna because she’s missed so many birthdays. So she gets this cold, and even in the midst of it, she’s still going to make this party as perfect as she can — and nothing is going to stop her.”
“What was fun about the short, for me, was that we got to have fun with Elsa,” he said. “In the movie, Elsa went through a very dramatic character arc, and in this one, she got to lighten up. We saw a bit more of her personality. So then we started thinking about what we could do with all of these characters in another film. We had a nice happy ending at the end of the first one, but what’s next?”
What’s “next,” first and foremost, is another emotionally gripping story about two sisters because for Buck and Lee, Anna and Elsa are the heart of “Frozen.” Regardless of where their next journey takes them, at least they’ll be together.
“We have two very strong female leads in ’Frozen,” Buck said. “We will keep that going in the next one. We will tackle other issues that, I think, are out there today that boys and girls, men and women, are dealing with.”
“I think we’re very aware of what is happening in society,” he added. “I don’t think any of us take [them] lightly, even though they can be very funny and entertaining, the messages that our movies have and the influence they can have on young people. When the kids [watch] them, they watch them over and over again, and if we don’t have a decent message in there, I think we’ve missed an opportunity.”
Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Films Collection is available on Digital HD and Disney Movies Anywhere tomorrow, August 11, and on Blu-ray on August 18.