Move over Frosty, the world is about to have a new favorite snowman. On November 27, Olaf from Disney’s Frozen will make his debut and this frozen creature is made to melt hearts.
Olaf begins as a good ole-fashioned, rolled-up snowman by sisters Elsa and Anna when they are little girls. When Elsa grows up to become the Snow Queen, she embraces her magical powers by breathing life into her rudimentarily constructed yet lovable first friend, Olaf. “He was the first [thing] she created so we always had this fun idea that she didn’t quite have her powers yet, they weren’t as finessed,” Frozen codirector Chris Buck explained at a recent press event for the movie. “We always looked at him as the first pancake you make – you know, the one that’s burned on the bottom and you kind of throw out. That’s Olaf, Olaf is the first pancake. “
What Olaf lacks in artistic refinement, he makes up for in heart. “He’s imbued with that innocence,” says codirector Jennifer Lee. “He represents innocent love and childlike love. He’s got a lot of the personality of Anna when she was little. [Just like] kids are, he’s sometimes ridiculous and sometimes poignant.”
But, it’s Josh Gad’s sweet vocal characterization that truly makes Olaf one of the most lovable sidekicks in animation history. The authenticity may be a result of the actor’s involvement in creating the character – practically unheard of in the world of animated movies. Lee says their first voiceover session with Gad, which was intended as more of a get-to-know-you session, was transformative. “We gave a few pages of rough dialogue to him and said, ‘Let’s just play.’ And we just kept throwing things at him and he’d throw things back,” she says. “It’s all from that first session. That was how we found his voice… it was so easy from that point on to write for him.”
If audiences take to Olaf, that improv session could prove beneficial once again, “We have a lot of Josh Gad!” Lee says, “We could do another movie!”
Frozen opens November 27. Will you be taking your family?