In the film, fearless optimist Anna sets off on an epic journey—teaming up with rugged mountain man Kristoff and his loyal reindeer Sven—to find her sister Elsa, whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom of Arendelle in eternal winter. Encountering Everest-like conditions, mystical trolls and a hilarious snowman named Olaf, Anna and Kristoff battle the elements in a race to save the kingdom.
Get to know the interesting fun facts behind the making of “Frozen” below!
Wait, what? – One of Anna’s favorite phrases—“Wait, what?”—was added to the script compliments of Kristen Bell.
Pure fun – When the story team was developing the character of Olaf, the possibilities were endless. It was when they asked, “How would a snowman think?” that they found Olaf: pure, simple, innocent. His humor ultimately comes from the simple way he thinks.
So Sami – The character of Kristoff was largely influenced by the Sami people, who are indigenous to parts of northern Norway. The Sami are known for herding reindeer, which may explain why Kristoff’s best buddy is a reindeer named Sven. Filmmakers visited a Sami-owned reindeer husbandry business in Roros, Norway. At one point, filmmakers named the reindeer Thor, but later changed their minds due to the sudden popularity of the name around the company.
It’s a lemon – Hans’ horse, who keeps Anna from falling in the water before the coronation, has a name: Sitron, which means “lemon” in Norwegian.
Reindeer Day – Filmmakers invited a real-life reindeer into the Walt Disney Animation Studios, observing the animal’s physical makeup and mannerisms, which were later caricatured in the making of Kristoff’s reindeer buddy Sven. The reindeer showcased an unexpected technique for taking care of an itch on his ear: he used his back legs—like a dog might do. Sven later adopted the technique.
Ice house – Several members of the production team traveled to Quebec to experience the Ice Hotel as inspiration for Elsa’s ice palace. Though the artists were inspired and wowed by the icy architecture, none opted to spend the night in the chilly abode.
Let it snow – In an effort to perfect Elsa’s icy magic, filmmakers called on Dr. Thomas Painter, a scientist from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena known as “Dr. Snow” to learn about snowflakes from a molecular level. 80 percent of Earth’s fresh water is frozen in the form of ice or snow. Snow is colorless and clear, but light reflected evenly on snowflake crystals gives it its white appearance.
That sounds about right – To pepper the script with authentic Norwegian words, accents and phrases, filmmakers called on Jackson Crawford, who teaches Old Norse, Scandinavian mythology, Vikings and sagas at UCLA. His research focuses on the history of Old Norse and Norwegian. Native Norwegian singer and aspiring film composer Christine Hals was tapped to perform the distinctive vocals for the film.
That’s special – The average animated film features special effects in about 45 percent of its shots. However, since most of “Frozen” takes place in the midst of a winter storm—and snow and ice are considered special effects—“Frozen” can be considered extra—almost entirely—special.
It’s a long story – The scene in which Elsa walks out onto the balcony of her newly constructed ice palace is 218 frames long, and includes the film’s longest frame to render. The single frame took more than 132 hours to render (that’s more than five days).
Everything’s coming up roses – Rosemaling, a style of decorative folk art found throughout Norway’s history, appears throughout the film—on clothing, within the architecture and is even evoked in Elsa’s magic and her icy creations.
Ding! – During animation dailies, individual animators would sit in a red “hot seat” and present their shots to directors for feedback. If the directors were happy and had no further notes, they would ding a bell—approved!—and everyone would applaud.
Opening across the Philippines in 3D and 2D on Nov. 27, “Frozen” is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International through Columbia Pictures.