Pixar is known for creating unforgettable shorts, and Olaf's Frozen Adventure is no exception, except for the fact it is not a short at all. This fall, Pixar is taking audiences back to Arendelle with an all-new 21 minutes featurette, featuring four new original songs and, of course, the beloved characters from the 2013 Oscar-winning feature, Frozen. We had the opportunity to attend a recent early press day at Walt Disney Studios for a fun, holiday-themed screening, reception, musical performance, and Q&A with Josh Gad (voice of “Olaf”), Directors Stevie Wermers-Skelton & Kevin Deters, and Producer Roy Conli, and today, we're sharing all the exciting photos and press news from the event below.
See also: Coco: A Love Letter to Mexico, History of Dia de los Muertos in Mexico + 7 Fun Facts About Disney•Pixar’s Coco, Bringing to Life the Dia de los Muertos Skeletons of Disney•Pixar’s Coco, History of Alebrijes – Meet Pepita from Disney•Pixar’s Coco
Olaf's Frozen Adventure Q&A
Roy Conli introduced the press to the two directors who have made his life joyful over the past year and a half, Directors Stevie Wermers-Skelton & Kevin Deters, and of course, Josh Gad (voice of “Olaf”).
Q: What traditions do you have, that are important to you?
Kevin Deters: Ever since I was a kid, we would make chocolate crinkle cookies rolled in powdered sugar and eat them until we were sick. Now, my wife and three sons continue the tradition during the holidays. Another tradition we have is a second Christmas tree decorated totally in Star Wars, with a Yoda tree topper.
Stevie: As we decorate the tree every year, our two dogs supervise me and I dress them up in the Prep and Landing helmets. So I dress them up and take pictures every year.
Josh Gad: For me, we celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas. But, I think my favorite tradition is writing a letter on Christmas Eve to my daughters, actually, for the kids in the room, Santa Claus writes the letters, I just oversee it, and having the wake-up on Christmas morning and having them open their presents from mommy, daddy, and Sant Claus. It's my favorite tradition, to see their pure joy.
Roy Conli: We buy a living Christmas tree. We've been living in our house now for 18 years, and we have 18 Christmas trees on our property. We're going to have to stop someday, but it is my favorite tradition.
Q: Josh, is it difficult to sing in Olaf's voice?
Josh Gad: It's difficult when they keep writing it as high as they're writing it. Bobby Lopez who wrote, Book of Mormon, he would always write it an octave higher than I deserved to sing it and carried this tradition over to Frozen. It is hard. Especially in, That Time of Year. If it were up to me I'd sing it lower, but that's not Olaf.
You did a great job on singing That time of year, it's such a tongue twister.
Josh Gad: It is such a tongue twister, and we had to sing it live at D23. Before I got there, they said there would be a monitor in front of me and I would be able to lipsync to Olaf's animation, and I said, ‘That was great. I've never sung this song.' And then they're like, by the way, you know that monitor we told you about, that doesn't exist. You're going to just have to do it. You're going to have to wing it.
We did it, and it timed out brilliantly. It was surreal that we actually landed it. Nine out of ten times that would have been a disaster.
Q: Do your kids know that you are Olaf?
Josh Gad: My kids say stop speaking as Olaf. I didn't create a distinct enough voice.
It is a thrill to come back and work with such a brilliant new team whose taking this character and opening new doors for him. The first movie is so much about Olaf discovery. He's like a newborn. As we continue to tell these stories, what's fun as an artist, is that we see Olaf in a place now, where he's growing emotionally, educationally, the things he sees he's processing. I love his growth.
My kids are tickled that daddy is Olaf. I read them Frozen books and, it's a very surreal thing for them to have Olaf reading Olaf. Before the short and the sequel, I go back to the original film to recalibrate my brain to Olaf. The more I do the voice, he starts to sound much higher and it's terrifying.
Q: For the filmmakers, is there pressure in bringing Olaf to life again?
Kevin Deters: Yeah. When John Lasseter asked us to step into the world and take on this project, we were a little intimidated by it, but at the same time, we knew we had a studio full of artists that worked on the first feature and that we had everyone there to support us.
Roy Conli: Early on, we worked with Chris Buck, Jen Lee, and Peter Delvecchio, the directors, and producer, and really involved ourselves in that world. It's great. I think it's a testament to the studio.
Q: Can you talk about landing on this storyline?
Kevin Deters: The idea behind the storyline came from Stevie and I. The first challenge was looking at Olaf as a character. He was designed as a supporting character in the feature. He loves everybody and is very happy, and as storytellers, we thought, of gosh. What are we going to do to create a dramatic story centering around a character like that?
We realized that he is a bit of a little child and that was our doorway into it. Then we started talking about different relatable dramatic ideas that could resonate with audiences.
Stevie Wermers-Skelton: The fact that it's a holiday special gave us this box to work in. When we began thinking about the holidays, one of the topics that came up was traditions and that one seemed to segway so nicely. Olaf is brand new and doesn't have traditions, and the girls don't have traditions. It seemed to fit really well right out of the gate.
About Olaf's Frozen Adventure
As Olaf's Frozen Adventure opens, we find Anna and Elsa exploring a new relationship between them we haven't seen before as they struggle to remember any holiday traditions they can from their childhood. When they realize they have no traditions of their own, Olaf, full of pure joy and innocence, teams up with Sven on a merry mission to bring home the best holiday traditions for Anna and Elsa.
We all have family traditions during the holidays, which makes Olaf's Frozen Adventure so relatable for audiences, as we're reminded of the importance of passing down family traditions through multiple generations. More importantly, we learn that even though we may not all have the same heritage, traditions from all regions and religions are an important part of building a strong bond between our family and community.
As Olaf and Sven take a hilarious look at holiday traditions throughout Arendelle, it reminds us why we celebrate ‘That Time of Year'. The heartfelt featurette, Olaf’s Frozen Adventure opens in front of Disney•Pixar’s original feature Coco in U.S. theaters on Nov. 22, 2017.
Songwriters Elyssa Samsel & Kate Anderson Perform Original Song from Olaf's Frozen Adventure
Get an exclusive sneak peek at one of the four new songs in, Olaf's Frozen Adventure. Introduced by Producer Roy Conli. Performance by Songwriters Elyssa Samsel & Kate Anderson.
Celebrate Family Traditions with Olaf's Frozen Adventure
Just as Olaf's Frozen Adventure is all about celebrating with family, so was the recent early press day screening and reception, as I enjoyed a joyful evening making memories with our youngest, little Gracie. We had a magical evening snacking on Arendelle inspired treats, learning to draw Olaf, and exploring new traditions to bring home.
Making an Olaf Marshmallow Snowman, and Eating Him!
About Olaf's Frozen Adventure
“Olaf’s Frozen Adventure” welcomes the original cast and characters back to Arendelle, including Olaf, voiced by Josh Gad (“Marshall,” “Book of Mormon”); Anna, voiced by Kristen Bell (“Frozen,” “Bad Moms”); Elsa, voiced by Idina Menzel (Broadway’s “Wicked,” “Rent” and “If/Then”; Fox’s “Glee”); and Kristoff, voiced by Jonathan Groff (Broadway’s “Spring Awakening,” Netflix’s “Mindhunter”). “They all understand their characters so well,” says Wermers-Skelton. “They have an incredible sense of what their characters are feeling every step of the way.”
Portions of this material have been provided courtesy of Walt Disney Studios.