Disney princesses often reflect the prim and proper stances of society, and live a lavish lifestyle filled with endless romantic love that many young girls long to be a part of. But the latest animated effort from the studio, Frozen, is a surprisingly contemporary tale of how a strong sense of independence and lack of true grace can help viewers to relate to even the most distinguished princesses as true female heroes.
Frozen follows sisters Anna (Kristen Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel), two princesses of Arendelle who are very close to one another. Elsa’s inability to handle her secret power of being able to create snow and ice delights her younger sister. But when the magic gets out of control one day and injures Anna, Elsa’s fear that she’ll do more harm to her younger sister forces her to hide her secret and distance herself from their relationship.
As the two sisters grow older, Elsa gets ready to take her position as Queen. Still trying to hide her magical power, she accidentally plunges the Kingdom into an eternal winter during her coronation. Trying to protect Arendelle from any further damage, Elsa runs away. Determined to find her sister, Anna sets out on an epic journey with a few companions and battles the elements to bring back her sister and save the kingdom.
Kristen Bell recently took some time to sit down with us in New York City for a roundtable interview to talk about lending her voice to Frozen. Among other things, the actress discussed how she had always wanted to play a Disney princess growing up, how she feels the film’s story is unique, how she reacted when she found out that she got the role and much more!
Check out the full interview below and enjoy!
When you first found out that you were cast as Anna, what was your initial reaction?
Kristen Bell: Oh, I was in glee. I have always wanted to be part of a Disney animated feature. I grew up watching all of the old Disney musicals, and was especially obsessed with The Little Mermaid and Aladdin. It had always been my dream as a little girl to be a Disney princess, like it is everybody’s.
But I wanted it to be a specific type of Disney princess. She had to be one that I wanted to see, who was way more awkward than the normal princesses. They really allowed me to mold her to what I wanted, which was lucky, I guess.
My whole goal was that I didn’t want to play someone with good posture, which is all you see. Growing up I was awkward, and I talked to myself a lot, and I ate dinner next to the dog. I was goofy and klutzy and often too energetic. I often spoke before I thought, and I wanted to see someone like that. They allowed me to add all these unique attributes to her.
Anna definitely isn’t the typical, traditional Disney princess. What do you think is her biggest charm?
Kristen Bell: I think her charm is caught somewhere between her sincerity and optimism. It’s really hard to dismiss someone who is genuine, sincere and is compounded with optimism. Those people are goofy, and that’s what goofy is to me. I think that’s how she is. Eternally optimistic people are the most charismatic people to me. It’s attractive when someone can’t get you down. A bad mood isn’t very attractive.
To have Anna in a situation where she starts the movie without any friends, because her lifestyle hasn’t allowed her to have a full kingdom, leads her to talk to the paintings and the statues. She runs around, and probably spends too much time in the kitchen, bugging the staff, because she wants friends. That’s what made her so loveable to me.