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‘Frozen’ Songwriters Tackle Questions From 9-Year-Old Fan

The “Frozen” phenomenon continues to grow even 17 months after the Disney film’s release. The Hollywood lot at Disney’s California Adventure has been taken over by Elsa, Anna and Olaf. And the poor Muppets have been displaced from their longstanding theater home in the theme park by a “Frozen Sing-along.”

So it was a no-brainer that the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus decided to honor the “Frozen” songwriters at their annual fundraising gala Tuesday night at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Many journalists might be too old to truly appreciate the film’s impact, so 9-year-old Eden, a “Frozen” fanatic and daughter of Variety managing editor Kirstin Wilder, seemed like the best person for the job. She was able to interview husband-and-wife songwriting duo Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez before the gala dinner.

Eden: What was your inspiration for “Let It Go?”

Kristen: We knew Elsa’s powers were going to come out in front of the village and she would be chased. But we didn’t know if she was a villain or not. So we went to a park near our house and jumped up on picnic tables and thought about what it would feel like if you were keeping a secret your whole life and the minute it came out all the people turned on you and chased you away. So we started to feel sorry for Elsa and we started to channel what it feels like to live up to other people’s expectations and then how good it feels to let it all go.

Robert: We knew when we were writing it that it was a song of transformation and we knew that was a great spot to write a song.

Eden: How old are your daughters and were they involved in the eight “Frozen” songs you wrote?

Kristen: They are now 10 and almost 6. And yes, they were involved daily; at the time they were 8 and 4. We worked above a Greek restaurant two blocks from our house, and we would come home and night and we’d say, “Guess what we wrote for Elsa and Anna today?” They were the original Elsa and Anna fans, and they were so into it and wanted to know every day, “What happened to Elsa today?” Because it changed every single day for a while.

Robert: If they liked the song, we would play it for Disney, and if they didn’t, we would rewrite it.

Eden: What is your favorite song you have written and why?

Kristen: That’s a really hard question. We have a show coming up in La Jolla this summer called “Up Here,” which is loosely based on us. There is a song we just wrote for the main female character called “I Have No Idea What I’m Doing.”

Robert: It’s very autobiographical.

Kristen: She’s in her 20s and trying to follow her gut instead of do what other people tell her to do.

Robert: I always love the thing we are working on at the moment, so for me it is from that show too. There is a song of despair at the end of the first act called “I Can Never Know You.” It’s about how, even though you are very, very close to someone, you don’t truly know what they are thinking at every moment. But there is a happy ending to the whole show, it is not all despair.

Eden: OK. (giggles nervously, fiddling with her Anna purse)

Kristen: I like your purse. Will you write that in your story? I give 10 points to anybody I see who is carrying an Anna thing because everyone can do Elsa. On Halloween, there was one Anna for every 12 Elsas, so I gave the Annas extra candy. Our daughters dressed up as Anna before the film came out and everyone was like, “Who are you?”

Robert: “Oh are you a princess?” people would ask them. And they’d reply, “Yeah, I’m Anna from the movie ‘Frozen’ which hasn’t come out yet.”

Kristen: And nobody cared. This year they were a Candy Queen and Darth Bunny. What did you go as?

Eden: I went as the good witch in “The Wizard of Oz.”

Kristen: Did you have your own personal bubble? Because that would have been awesome. I went as Dorothy one year when our oldest was 2 because she wanted to be a lion.

Robert: I always dress up at Boba Fett. Or the Ghostbusters.

Eden: I don’t really know who that is.

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