With the success of “Frozen” comes the inevitable scrutiny of the central characters–namely Princess Anna–and what makes them so different from the characters in previous films. The writers of the film say that in order to get Anna and Elsa where they wanted them, they listened to a lot of music, and they were inspired by the strong-minded women who made “Saturday Night Live” such a success in the last decade.
“I said, ‘You have a chance to make the first really funny Disney princess,’” composer Kristen Anderson-Lopez said. “I’m so exited about the potential that Anna has to sort of bring in the world of Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, the goofy self-deprecating female heroines that are in our culture now.”
Lopez and her husband/partner Robert saw things in the story that differed greatly from the original draft, which had Elsa coming down from the mountain and attacking the village with her army of snowmen. They wanted to tell a different story, and after writer Jennifer Lee (“Wreck-It Ralph”) came on board, it was clear that the film would take on a whole new meaning. As soon as the idea for “Let It Go”–the Oscar-nominated song that has become a force of its own on the web, spawning several covers and parodies–came, the writing team knew it would be a different take on princesses than Disney had done before.
“As soon as we started writing, I knew it would be a stretch for me, because I usually write songs that make fun of these kind of songs,” Robert Lopez said. “But when you do a Disney movie, you’re going to write emotion — that’s sort of the cue. Part of the reason I was attracted to the movie was because I knew it would stretch me emotionally. I wanted to write a ballad. But this really totally trumped all my romantic ballads. This is so cool to have written a song of empowerment, for girls like my daughters.”
Kristen Anderson-Lopez agrees, saying she wanted to write something that would speak to their daughters with a powerful message.
“I was really excited to write an anthem that said, ‘Screw fear and shame, be yourself, be powerful,’” she said. “I wanted to give them the same message that I’m always saying at bedtime: ‘it’s O.K., you don’t have to be like everybody else.’”
There’s no doubt that Fey and Poehler–who started the group Smart Girls to empower females of all ages–would approve.
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