Backstage Interview | 86th Academy Awards

Animated Feature Film

CATEGORY: Animated Feature Film
INTERVIEW WITH: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee and Peter Del Vecho


Q.    Can you talk about your collaboration with Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson‑Lopez, especially in regard to how popular the song "Let It Go" has become in terms of videos and tributes and parodies online?
A.    (Jennifer Lee)  Well, we worked together with them every day via video conference for a few hours a day for about 14 months and we'd work on the script with them as much as the songs.  I mean, they wrote the songs.  I did not say we did that.  We went back and forth and "Let It Go" for us was a game changer.  When we heard that, we knew that we could do something very special with Elsa and we rewrote the movie.  So we understood and really felt the emotional power of that song and we're so happy for them they're nominated. 

Q.    I do have a question, because the film actually went so well not only in the United States but also around the world and especially in China.  So China now, it's a big film market for everybody.  So I just want to know if you guys actually have any plans upcoming to do an international co‑production with China or any Chinese film company?
A.    (Chris Buck)  Let me tell you, first, we're thrilled that this movie has touched the hearts and souls of people around the world, I think it touches on some very universal themes that everybody can relate to.  Truthfully, what we're doing next is, we still haven't finished opening the movie, we still have to open in Japan and then we're going on vacation before we figure out exactly the next step.
A.    (Peter Del Vecho)  We're not going together on vacation.

Q.    This movie and this story talked a lot about true love and finding your true love in a time in America where so much has been talked about, about love and marriage equality.  Do you think that this film finds a perfect timing this year?
A.    (Jennifer Lee) You know what we love about FROZEN is we love that we're finding people are relating to the characters, and from any part of the world or what they're doing or any families and that's been huge for us.  And we certainly encourage and love all the different interpretations of our characters, and what it means to people and inspires them.  I mean, that's the greatest thing you could ever feel like you're doing as a filmmaker.

Q.    You have had such an meteoric rise since coming on to WRECK‑IT RALPH.  What do you do now to top yourself and what does this Oscar mean to you?
A.    (Jennifer Lee)  I think I will understand it maybe a few months from now.  I'm still completely overwhelmed.  Working with these guys has been heaven, being a part of Disney has been a dream come true for me.  Yes, I will take a little break and then I really have no idea.  But what I love is John Lasseter, all he wants is for us to dream up something new, that means a lot to us, and we always really, really appreciate that freedom.

Q.    I enjoyed your article in the L.A. Times today about the travails of a female director and your work on the red carpet.  How did you get to choose Oliver Tolentino for tonight's red carpet?
A.    (Jennifer Lee)  I saw he had made this dress and it was everything I could ever dream of.  He's an amazing talent.  He was very gentle with one who was overwhelmed with the red carpet, took care of me.  So I'm very grateful to him and honored that he let me wear this.

Q.    There's been a lot of discussion about another renaissance at Disney animation and I'm wondering what your thoughts are, if that is the case, and what have you learned from your colleagues at Pixar?
A.    (Peter Del Vecho)  Well, it's interesting, I was there for the first renaissance.  The second one ‑‑
A.    (Jennifer Lee)  He was the youngest person there.
A.    (Peter Del Vecho)  So it's interesting, every movie we just try to do as good as we can.  Pixar, too, a lot of our friends are up at Pixar, a lot of the directors are there too, and personal friends.  We're all just trying to do just films that will touch people, and once in a while you get lucky.  And this one we got really, really lucky.  We got a great cast, great song writers, and a great story.  And it all kind of came together.  We had no idea that it would be the phenomenon that it's turned out to be, but we feel blessed.

Q.    I'm here from Norway.  And I guess, a lot of Norwegians actually feel that they might have won an Oscar right now, do you agree? 
A.    (Jennifer Lee)  Yes.
A.    (Chris Buck)  When we sent our art director and the lighting team over to Norway, they came back so inspired.  The mountains, the vastness of the mountains going down the Fjords, all the detailing of the [inaudible] where they brought so much back from that trip from Norway that we really feel it added a lot of believability to the world we were creating.
A.    (Peter Del Vecho)  And I actually, I get to go there in a couple weeks.  I'm going to Norway finally.
Q.    Welcome.  Thank you. 

Q.    You are now officially an EGOT.  What's your reaction to that?
A.    (Jennifer Lee)  We are?
A.    (Chris Buck)  I don't know.
Q.    It means you won an Emmy, an Oscar, a Tony and a Grammy. 
A.    (Jennifer Lee)  I think that that's Bobby and Kristen Lopez.  It's Bobby Lopez.  We still don't know yet. 
A.    (Peter Del Vecho)  I was going to say, did they announce it? 
Q.    What is your reaction then to how much this ‑‑ you've got the number one soundtrack, it was number one animated movie.  How much does that mean to you for that?
A.    (Peter Del Vecho)  Overwhelming. 
A.    (Jennifer Lee)  Amazing.
A.    (Peter Del Vecho)  Just like everybody else, we watched all the YouTubes.  We still do.  And then to watch the songs, it was sort of a slow climb up, especially with the soundtrack, and it just took over.  And that song, "Let It Go," became sort of anthem for people.  So for us it's ‑‑ you know, we love the song, but the fact that the world suddenly could take it and make it their own, it's unbelievable.

Q.    I heard that you were developing a Broadway musical version of FROZEN.  Can you tell us a little bit about that?
A.    (Jennifer Lee)  Sure.  We're in very early stages of development.  We're still opening the film, as we say.  We are opening in Japan and then we're going to take a little break and then start looking at it.  But, yeah.


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