Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Kristen Bell Signs On To Play Lead in Disney's "Frozen"

This concept art was for a Snow Queen attraction in Disney Land, which was sadly never made.
Still not much news on Frozen other than this casting news that appeared yesterday, but it does mean they're well into development and story on the project and that we should hear more soon. Kristen Bell (of Veronica Mars fame as well as House of Lies) will be voicing the lead, presumably Gerda (or whatever name they give her) although one IMDB news report (there are a number) has her as playing the character of the Snow Queen.

I'm guessing they've inferred this from the one sentence announcement, rather than Ms Bell confirming her lead role is actually the Snow Queen herself. I can't find an official or even "in development" IMDB page for Disney's Frozen or Snow Queen so until we get a proper quote it's all speculation. If it is the case that the lead is the Snow Queen character (ie the story is her story or from her POV), then the Disney version will be very different story from the Hans Andersen fairy tale we all know and love. Considering how complex the tale is there is plenty of room for unique creative interpretation. I just hope they keep some of the classic tale structure intact (and please keep the robber girl and the reindeer!).
Pre 2003 visual development for Disney's Snow Queen by Carol Kieffer Police
Ms. Bell will be singing too, confirming this will indeed be a musical as originally planned.

From The Hollywood Reporter:
She is also set to provide the speaking and singing voice as the lead in Disney’s upcoming animated feature Frozen. Directed by Chris Buck (Surf’s Up), the film is being produced by John Lasseter and Peter Del Vecho.
Alan Menken (The Little Mermaid and Beauty & the Beast) was working on the music before it was last put on hold and there has been no official word on that either continuing or changing. With a release date set for November 2013 (a Winter/Christmas release would be perfect for this) time's a-tickin' on getting the elements in place, though I did read a vague post about the theatrical release now being planned for "sometime in 2014". Since so many things change day to day in development it's really no wonder they remain so quiet - even if they're incredibly busy - until they have something well and truly concrete. Casting the lead is a big bit of concrete. :)
Pre 2003 visual development for Disney's Snow Queen by Carol Kieffer Police

In the meantime, here's an interesting tidbit buried in one of the release articles I thought I should bring to light and clear up any issues about (as far as I can for now anyway):
Our guess is that "Frozen" will be a computer generated feature (released in 3D, naturally), and that the next traditionally animated Disney feature will be "The Name Game," a quirky take on the Rumpelstiltskin tale being readied (in secret) by Ron Clements and John Musker. Supposedly the reason why that project is gaining momentum is because of the runaway success (and synergistic opportunities) of ABC's Sunday night series "Once Upon a Time," which features Rumpelstiltskin as the show's main villain.
Pre 2003 visual development for Disney's Snow Queen by Carol Kieffer Police

While there is apparently a Clements/Musker "secret project" titled The Name Game coming in 2013, Disney people in-the-know quote this: "Steve Hulett said many many times that Clements & Musker's film is NOT Rumpelstiltskin."

So there you go. We'll just have to stay tuned. 

Note: The images throughout are OLD Disney visual development art, prior to 2003, for Disney's The Snow Queen and are by Carol Kieffer Police.

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