Frozen took the whole world by storm when it was released in 2013. The stunning and catchy music, charming characters, and beautiful animation captivated children and adults alike. Children across the globe were inspired by Elsa and her journey through Arendelle.
There are many captivating parts of the Frozen series, but none of it would have been as awe-inspiring without the voice actors who brought the characters to life. Read on to learn more about the series and the voice talent who made Elsa real.
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The Frozen Series
Frozen is Disney’s 53rd animated film, inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale The Snow Queen. It is a computer-animated musical fantasy directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, with Lee writing the screenplay.
It is a wildly popular movie. When it was released, it earned almost $1.3 billion at the box office, making it the highest-grossing animated film to date, and the fifth-highest-grossing film of all time.
Part of its success is owed to the extremely talented voice over artists who brought the characters to life. These include Idina Menzel as Elsa, Kristen Bell as Anna, and Josh Gad as Olaf the Snowman.
The plot of Frozen centers on princess sisters Elsa and Anna from the kingdom of Arendelle. Elsa possesses magical powers of snow and ice that she has kept hidden because of their potential danger to those around her. She runs away when she loses control of her powers after her coronation. Anna sets out to find her with the help of Olaf and iceman Kristoff.
Frozen has roots dating back to the 1940s when Walt Disney was working on animating many Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales. World War II halted the project, and after Disney’s renaissance, directors still struggled with the character of Elsa.
The character of Elsa is loosely based on the Snow Queen character in the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale. Andersen’s fairy tale was first published in 1844 and focuses on the struggle between good and evil experienced by two children, Gerda and Kai, and their interactions with the titular character.
Disney tried to adapt the story many times because of its popularity, atmospheric nature, and Andersen’s gift for storytelling. However, they struggled to make a snow queen character that was adequately troubled without herself being evil. In Andersen’s tale, the Snow Queen is sympathetic but ultimately villainous.
Several directors and writers, including Walt Disney himself, tried to adapt The Snow Queen with little success. Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee started their story with Anna, rather than Elsa. Anna was based on Andersen’s Gerda. The turning point for the Snow Queen character was when someone on the writing team suggested that the Snow Queen be Anna’s sister. This added layer of familial relation made the complex and harsh queen relatable.
Elsa ended up being a composite of both the Snow Queen herself and the other child from the story, Kai, who is cursed with negativity after he is captured by the queen. This means that Elsa was initially conceived of as the villain, and Anna was tasked with overcoming her curse.
However, as time went on, the writers realized that the story could be much more nuanced and powerful if Elsa were struggling to overcome powers that were out of her control. She underwent many transformations before the film was released, and eventually became the character we know today. She is both a villain of her own making and ultimately a hero.
Who Voices Elsa?
Elsa has three different voice over actors who bring her character to life. When she is a child, Eva Bella voices Elsa in Frozen and Mattea Conforti voices her in Frozen II. Spencer Ganus voices teenaged Elsa.
However, Elsa’s most iconic songs and moments are all voiced by legendary Broadway and film actress Idina Menzel. Menzel is one of the most recognizable voices on Broadway, and every musical theater fan will immediately recognize her name and mezzo-soprano.
Mendel rose to fame when she played the beloved character Maureen in the hit Broadway musical Rent, for which she was nominated for a Tony. She then went on to reprise that role in the film version.
The highlight of her Broadway career came when she originated the role of Elphaba in Wicked, one of the most beloved and long-running musicals in Broadway history. She won the Tony for Best Actress in a Broadway musical for her performance, and the song “Defying Gravity” became one of the most iconic Broadway songs to date.
After her tenure in Wicked, she did a few more Broadway shows before moving into film and TV. She gained fans from her appearances in the movie Enchanted and her memorable performance as Rachel Berry’s mother in the TV series, Glee. It was these roles that led her to a starring voice over role in Frozen.
Menzel was perfect for the role of Elsa because of her stunning, three-octave voice and her talent for bringing unbridled emotion into all of her songs. This talent made the song “Let it Go” an instant classic and eventually an Academy Award winner for Best Original Song.
Menzel credits her success as Elsa with the character’s similarities to her iconic Elphaba. Both characters are originally seen as villains but are just powerful and misunderstood. Both women sing powerful and heartbreaking ballads about their struggles with identity and relationships. Ultimately, Menzel made both Elsa and Elphaba beloved for their flaws.
Best Elsa Quotes
Now that you have information about Elsa and who voices her, here are some of Elsa’s most recognizable and singable quotes:
- “Do you wanna build a snowman?“
- “Let it go.”
- “A bridge has two sides. A mother had two daughters. We did this together.”
- “Fear is what can’t be trusted.”
Head over to our TikTok channel, and tag us in a “Let It Go” duet!