Watch: Frozen's Jennifer Lee shares an update on third film
Disney CEO Bob Iger recently spoke about the forthcoming threequel, in which he also let slip that a fourth film has been green lit, and Lee was happy to share an update with her thoughts on the project.
“We're early in development, but I'll say I think part of some of the announcements [is] because what we've shared inside the studio we're all very excited about,” Lee says of Frozen 3.
“I’ve really been blown away by the whole creative team and what they brought to it.”Jennifer Lee
“That's all I can say,” Lee adds with a chuckle.
Lee, who is the chief creative officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios, wrote Frozen and its sequel, which she co-directed with Chris Buck in 2013 and 2019, respectively.
Lees current project sees her act as executive producer for Wish, Disney’s centenary celebration film about a girl named Asha (Ariana DeBose) trying to stand up against injustice when she learns the ruler of her nation, Magnifico (Chris Pine), is taking people’s wishes but will only make those that aren’t a threat to him come true.
“We definitely saw this as an opportunity to do more of a love letter to what Disney gave us as artists,” Lee says of the film.
“I mean we recognise the privilege of getting to be here now, we don't own the past. We were inspired by the past, so we said ‘this is our chance to look back, celebrate the origin stories that led to [us doing] these things, those original fairy tales that Walt was part of.
“We knew that, but we also know what's always important is that you are telling new stories and that you are innovating."Jennifer Lee
"So we knew we wanted to make an original fairy tale and we wanted to [use] different technology that married the artist vision and the technology in a way we had never achieved before, but saying what we need to be doing as we look ahead is to keep evolving.”
She adds: “One of the other parts of it is getting to work with new talent, the next generation. It's their time, and so how can we work together and [do] as Walt would do, pass the tools down that you've gained but also help their voices. I think that’s what this film is, a bridge.”
The character of Asha was heavily inspired by DeBose, who voices the character, and the way she is in real life: “She's just a generous person and but she's also very strong and she is not afraid to fight for what she thinks is right.
“So she was absolutely a clear inspiration for Asha, she was so playful in the booth too, so hearing her voice helped me find Asha’s original voice that was like, ‘only Asha says things this way, only Asha thinks this way’.
“And it's the same with Chris, I had worked with him a little bit on Wrinkle in Time. I'd had a great conversation about science with him, he was much smarter than me about it. I knew he was really smart, which Magnifico needed to be.
“He is very charming, but also [has] that depth, that depth of range to go from someone at their best to their worst, only he could pull that off like that. He was amazing.”Jennifer Lee
The film, like Frozen and other recent Disney films opts not to focus on romantic love or feature a love story of any kind, something that Lee says is a result of a change of focus at the animation studio.
“I think as film makers, we always want to do something we haven't quite seen. I think we've done some incredible stories that involve beautiful love stories and they'll always be there," she says.
"But the canon for us is about growing, and so to do stories where we focus on familial love, or here we're focusing on this woman who becomes a great advocate in a way we've never done before, I think those excite us because that's [new].
“I look to Cinderella at times in my life and [how it] help[ed] me through. What are things we can do so we always have a story people can look to, [and looks] at very specific but universal things we are going through?”
Wish is out in cinemas now.