IAR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Co-Director Chris Buck and Producer Peter Del Vecho Talk ‘Frozen Fever’

Monday, 16 March 2015 22:07 Written by  Jami Philbrick
Rate this item
(2 votes)
IAR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Co-Director Chris Buck and Producer Peter Del Vecho Talk ‘Frozen Fever’

Disney just can’t let Frozen go!

The animated musical was a runaway hit for the studio, winning Oscars for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song, as well as becoming the fifth biggest grossing movie of all time. After recently announcing development of Frozen 2, Disney has produced a brand new short film entitled Frozen Fever, which was released with Cinderella and is currently playing in theaters now.

Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee once again direct Frozen Fever, with Peter Del Vecho producing. Voice actors Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, and Josh Gad all reprise their roles from the original, while Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez composed a new song for the short. Frozen Fever takes place on Anna's (Menzel) birthday, as Elsa (Bell) and Kristoff (Groff) are determined to give her the best celebration ever. However, Elsa's icy powers may put more than just the party at risk. 

I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with co-director Chris Buck and producer Peter Del Vecho to talk about their work on Frozen Fever. The Oscar-winning director and producer discussed the new short, the incredible success of the original feature, their master plan for world domination, purposely having John Travolta mispronounce Idina Menzel’s name at the Academy Awards, revisiting the Frozen characters, the Lopez’s new song, and the cute new characters from Frozen Fever that might just appear in Frozen 2.

Here is what director Chris Buck and producer Peter Del Vecho had to say about Frozen Fever:

IAR: To begin with, can you talk about the overwhelming success of Frozen? The movie won several Academy Awards, and is one of the top five biggest grossing movies of all time, not to mention that the characters have really become the face of Disney now. They are on posters and billboards, they were on Once Upon a Time, they have sold out sing-alongs, and are even the stars of Disney on Ice. Can you talk about how this film and its characters have really permeated pop culture?

Chris Buck: It's exciting, it's overwhelming, and it's humbling. All those things combined. We knew we had a good movie, but no one could have predicted that it would become the phenomenon it has become. The fact that it’s more than a year after the film was released and it really hasn't let up, that's amazing to us.

Peter Del Vecho: It's interesting because we've both worked on a lot of films and nothing has had the success of this one, nothing has been like this. It's interesting to be on this side of it. I don't even know how to describe it because someone always has some story in them. When you meet someone for the first time and they'll say, “What do you do?” I answer, I'm a director over at Disney. “Oh, what have you worked on?” I say, Frozen. Then their eyes light up. It's very interesting.   

Buck: Everyone has a story of how Frozen touched their lives or meant something personal to them.

Del Vecho: I was a grand Marshall in my hometown parade down in Placentia, in Orange County. You did something like that too didn't you?

Buck: I just got a day named after me in my hometown. I went there to speak at the high school that I grew up in.

Del Vecho: It's weird. Of course I had this giant stuffed Olaf in the back of the car and people were digging it. They're just yelling, "Let it go!" and "I love Frozen!” 

Do you think it was the story, the characters, or the music that resonated the most with audiences?

Del Vecho: It's all of it.

Buck: I don't think you can narrow it down to one thing. The characters were relatable. I think we dealt with a very familiar subject matter and did it earnestly. Yet at the same time plot wise it was surprising. I think the music resonated. All these things combined. I don't think it was any one thing. If you take one of those elements out, Frozen wouldn't have been what it became.

With Frozen Fever, can you talk about the choice to follow up the feature with a short film so quickly? Was this simply an opportunity to capitalize on the current popularity of the characters, or is this all part of the master plan for Frozen’s global domination?

Del Vecho: No. I wish we were that smart. It's just because of the success of the movie that's when we were asked if we would do a short. Where it goes from here I don't know. I'm glad to be involved. I love the characters.

Did you purposely have John Travolta mispronounce Idina Menzel’s name at the Academy Awards? Was that part of the master plan too? It did get you guys a lot of free press!

Buck: That was all part of it, as was the polar votex.

Del Vecho: It was. Actually Idina became even more popular because of it. It is a hard name to remember, but now everybody knows it. They actually know both names.

What did you hope to do differently with the characters this time around in Frozen Fever?

Del Vecho: I think that a challenge for us, and what we hadn't done before, was have Elsa be more humorous. It's not that we didn't want to in the first one, but her story just didn't call for that. So that was a fun challenge in this one. When the idea came of Elsa getting a cold, we thought that could be very funny. It could also be very scary if you go the other route. But what would happen to this person? So right then we knew we could have some fun with Elsa here. So that got us excited about the short. At first we didn’t know if it was a good idea to do a short. We don't want to retread some of the ideas that we might have started in the feature.

Buck: The givens were that we knew that the audience was expecting to revisit a lot of the characters they came to know and love, so inclusion of all the characters was important. Music was a big part of it so working with Bobby and Kristin (Lopez) again was a big part of it because that was such a big part of the movie. We knew it had to be continued in the short.

Can you talk about the importance of getting the Lopez’s involved to do the music, and if they were not available for any reason, would you still have made the short?

Del Vecho: It could have come down to not doing the short. Music is such an important part of Frozen, and Bobby and Kristin are so important. They are the music. 

Buck: Fortunately, it was never an issue. In our minds it's all about getting that same creative team back together again. That includes the crew and the animators. Fortunately everyone wanted to work on it again so that's a good sign.

Finally, in Frozen Fever you introduce a new set of characters into the franchise called Snowgies. Are they cannon now and will we possibly see them appear in the recently announced Frozen 2?

Buck: We do know is they are safely in the ice palace.

Del Vecho: They are up in the ice palace. That's all we know. They are still alive up there.    

Buck: At least Olaf is there.

Del Vecho: Olaf knows them. But I couldn't tell you the difference between them.

Frozen Fever opens in theaters before Cinderella on March 13th.

To watch John Travolta mispronounce Idina Menzel’s name at the Academy Awards, please click on the video player below. 

More in this category

Follow ROGUE

Latest Trailers

view more »