‘Do you wanna kill a snowman?’: Frozen director Jennifer Lee admits she wanted to axe Olaf
The co-director of Disney’s Frozen has confessed that she wanted to cut the much-loved character of Olaf the snowman during the production process.
Jennifer Lee, who is also the chief creative officer of Walt Disney Animation, joined the team of the 2013 film while it was already in development.
After viewing an early cut, Lee was seemingly less than thrilled with Olaf and wanted him to be taken out of the story.
“My first note was, ‘kill the snowman’,” she noted.
However, a staff animator then created a three-page script with actor Josh Gad, who plays the voice of Olaf, in mind. Luckily, Lee was apparently impressed with Gad, and Olaf’s character was saved, according to a Variety report.
Lee accepted the distinguished storyteller award from the Los Angeles Press Club on Sunday (4 December) at the 15th annual Arts and Entertainment Journalism awards, presented to her by Gad himself.
In her speech, Lee told the actor she looked forward to many more creative adventures together.
In the film, fearless optimist Anna (Kristen Bell) teams up with mountaineer Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and his loyal reindeer Sven (Frank Welker) and sets off on an epic journey to find her sister Elsa (Idina Menzel), whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom of Arendelle in eternal winter. Along the way, they meet the comedic snowman Olaf.
Olaf’s song, “In Summer”, sees the snowman expressing the wish to sunbathe and enjoy warm weather like others.
Frozen won two Academy awards and made more than $1.2bn (£978m) globally. In 2019, Frozen 2 had the biggest opening for an animated film in history at the worldwide box office.