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‘Kill the Snowman’: ‘Frozen’ Director Admits She Wanted to Axe Olaf



Millions of families might not ever have built that snowman, if an executive’s early creative note on the Disney blockbuster “Frozen” had been followed.

Jennfier Lee, the chief creative officer of Walt Disney Animation and the co-director of “Frozen,” confessed that the beloved character Olaf — a plucky snowman who accompanies his human friends on a journey to save their matriarch — was the first thing she wanted to slash from the 2013 project when she came on board.

Lee accepted the Distinguished Storyteller Award from the Los Angeles Press Club on Sunday night at the 15th annual Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards, an honor presented to her by the voice of Olaf himself, actor Josh Gad.

“Josh is Olaf,” Lee said, adding that she was not speaking metaphorically. She explained that she came onto “Frozen” after the project was already in development. After viewing an early cut, Lee confessed that “My first note was, ‘kill the snowman.’”

Luckily, a “sneaky” staff animator had worked out a three-page script treatment with Gad in mind after he impressed filmmakers with a late night TV appearance. Lee found him irresistible, and the rest is box office history.

“Frozen” would go on to win two Academy Awards and gross over $1.2 billion at the worldwide box office.


In her speech, in which she acknowledged fellow L.A. Press Club honorees like Ryan Seacrest and media billionaire Byron Allen, she told Gad she looked forward to many more creative adventures together.

“And no,” she told the audience of journalists, “that is not an announcement.”

Source: Variety

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