‘Frozen’ Co-Director ‘Blown Away’ by Progress on Third Movie

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Though the third “Frozen” installment is in early stages, Disney Animation chief creative officer Jennifer Lee — who co-directed the first two “Frozen” films alongside Chris Buck — told BFI London Film Festival attendees on Thursday that she is “blown away” by what she’s seen so far.

“Every morning last week they carved out space for me to work with the creative team on it and I am blown away and I am so excited,” Lee said during a Spotlight conversation with Tricia Tuttle, head of directing fiction at the National Film and Television School. “I don’t know what I’m doing on it yet — I’m not doing nothing — except doing what I do now, which is we work on every project as as team and I’m in there with creative. But with ‘Frozen,’ just a little bit more.”

In addition to co-directing “Frozen” and “Frozen II,” Lee penned the screenplays. Of making another film in the franchise, Lee said: “Our philosophy is this, and it won’t change: If there is more story to tell, the filmmakers have to drive it. And I’ll say with ‘Frozen,’ Marc Smith, who was our director of story on ‘Frozen 2,’ came with an incredible idea for more ‘Frozen,’ and it’s worth it.”

Lee also co-wrote the screenplay for Disney’s upcoming animated musical “Wish,” which stars Ariana DeBose as Asha, a 17-year-old girl who wishes upon a star. Lee gifted the audience with a clip of the musical number “I’m a Star” from the movie, in which Asha sees a forest come to life through a star’s magic, and also teased Chris Pine’s villain, Magnifico.

“From the first image of the film, he’s portrayed like a hero — and he may very well be at that moment,” Lee said, adding: “There’s a moment in the film, and there’s a song Julia [Michaels] wrote that’s incredible, where Asha and Magnifico are completely philosophically aligned. And that’s been a dream of mine to get to do, having the protagonist and villain completely aligned. And then the minute they learn more, you see that change and each makes different choices.”

Lee continued, “We’ve never done this expansive of a whole journey of the villain. And Chris Pine also brought that to it, because that’s what he needs to get inside the meat of the character emotionally. So he was such an incredible partner to do that. He’s so smart and he can sing, so he just kept coming alive more and more every day.”

“Wish” is set to premiere in theaters on Nov. 22.

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