Frozen: Co-director Jennifer Lee wanted to “kill” Olaf before Josh Gad rescued the character

Frozen, Jennifer Lee, Olaf, kill

Can you fathom a world without Frozen‘s Olaf? Imagine, if you will, car rides devoid of sing-a-longs about building a snowman. What would you have done? The thought chills my spine when I think about the possibilities. Who doesn’t love the off-key echo of tiny voices from a back seat warbling about seasons and winter magic on repeat? Well, the Chief Creative Officer of Walt Disney Animation and co-director of Frozen, Jennifer Lee, that’s who. I’m just kidding. Or am I?

Speaking with Variety, Lee confessed that she almost ordered animators to melt the happy-go-lucky snowman into the ground. She is the co-director of Frozen but came onto the project after the animated musical was already in production. After analyzing an early cut of the film, Lee’s first note was to “kill the snowman,” Olaf. Shocked by Lee’s analysis, an animator working on the movie developed a three-page script with Josh Gad in mind for the part. Filmmakers warmed to Gad after watching one of his charming late-night appearances. It soon became apparent that Gad was destined to join the film and help make Disney history.

In addition to starring in Frozen and Frozen 2, Olaf appears in Disney’s 2015 short film Frozen Fever and the 2017 television special Olaf’s Frozen. The avalanche of Olaf doesn’t stop there. He also stars in solo projects, including Once Upon a SnowmanAt Home with Olaf, and Olaf Presents. As a trained singer with Broadway chops, Gad brings an unbridled energy to Olaf that children (and Disney adults) find particularly charming. Olaf’s appeal goes beyond the screen too. He’s a significant character at Disney theme parks, appears in various video games, and serves as a host for wintery Disney events.

Can you imagine Frozen without Olaf? Do you think Lee’s observation was worth considering? Considering Olaf is one of Disney’s most beloved characters, I can’t imagine Frozen without him.

Source: Variety

About the Author

Born and raised in New York, then immigrated to Canada, Steve Seigh has been a editor, columnist, and critic since 2012. He started with Ink & Pixel, a column celebrating the magic and evolution of animation, before launching the companion YouTube series Animation Movies Revisited. He's also the host of the Talking Comics Podcast, a personality-driven audio show focusing on comic books, film, music, and more. You'll rarely catch him without headphones on his head and pancakes on his breath.