Olaf (Disney)

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Olaf
Frozen character
Olaf from Disney's Frozen.png
First appearance Frozen
Created by Chris Buck
Jennifer Lee
Voiced by Josh Gad
Information
Species Snowman
Gender Male

Olaf the Snowman is a fictional character from the 2013 animated film Frozen, produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios.

Development[edit]

Origins and concept[edit]

The Disney studio made their first attempts to adapt Hans Christian Andersen's fairytale, "The Snow Queen", as early as 1943, when Walt Disney considered the possibility of producing a biography film of the author.[1] However, the story and the characters proved to be too symbolic[2][3] and posed unsolvable problems to Disney and his animators. Later on, other Disney executives had made efforts to translate this material to the big screen, however these proposals were all shelved due to similar issues.[1]

In 2008, Chris Buck pitched Disney his version of the story[4] called Anna and the Snow Queen, which was planned to be traditionally animated.[5] This version was "completely different" from Frozen; it had a storyline that stuck much closer to the original material and featured an entirely different Olaf character, the role more resembling Marshmallow's.[6] However, by early 2010, the project was scrapped again.[5][7] On December 22, 2011, Disney announced a new title for the film, Frozen, which would be released on November 27, 2013, and a different crew from the previous attempt.[8] The new script, which employed "the same concept but was completely rewritten",[5] finally solved the long-term problem with Andersen's story by depicting Anna and Elsa as sisters.[9]

Voice[edit]

Josh Gad, a Tony-nominated actor best known for his performance as Elder Arnold Cunningham in Broadway's The Book of Mormon (which was co-written by the film's co-songwriter Robert Lopez),[10] was cast to voice Olaf.[11][12][13] Gad later expressed that getting a part in a Disney film was "kind of a dream come true" for him, as he has always been a fan of Disney films in general and their animated productions in particular.[14] "I grew up during the second golden age of Disney animation, when every movie that came out was an event – The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King," he said.[10] Impressed by the performances of comedic relief sidekicks such as Timon and Pumbaa in The Lion King, or the Genie in Aladdin, Gad set the goal to play characters of this type since his early age: "I remember [...] saying, "I want to do that one day. I really want to do that,"" he recalled.[10][14][15]

Design and characterization[edit]

As a snowman Anna and Elsa built together as kids, Olaf represents innocent love and the joy the sisters once had when they were young before being split. He isn't just funny, he's also got a "big role to play representing the innocent love in the scale of fear versus love."[16] It wasn't until he meant something to the girls that he resonated with us,",[17] "Olaf couldn't just be thrown in, he had to have a purpose" and that one of his purposes was to be the embodiment of the sisterly relationship that had gone cold.[18] "When Anna and Elsa were very little, and before Elsa's powers accidentally hurt Anna, they played. They'd sneak away and play with her powers. And you see them roll the snowman. He's not magical. He doesn't come to life. But they name him Olaf and he likes warm hugs." "It inspires the look. And so when Elsa is singing “Let It Go” obviously the first thing she goes to is the last moment she was happy. And it was that moment. And so he’s imbued with that. He’s innocent love." The continuous themes that can be seen throughout the movie revolve around the power of love and fear. Olaf, on one end of that spectrum, represents the most innocent kind form of love. It is possible that he resembles some of the characteristics of Anna's younger self. This provides a connection between the sisters' happy past and their ability to remember that love in difficult times. Overall his character provides much of the comic relief found in the film, while conveying lovable innocence and purity. "And so he was just a lot of fun, and emotionally he’ll bring a lot that we weren’t able to show you yet, too. So he’s funny in the kids-state-the-obvious kind of way." (Lee) "And he can say very poignant things too." (Buck)[2]

In very early versions of the film, Olaf was originally written as one of the guards at Elsa's castle when the concept of Elsa controlling a legion of menacing snowmen was still in the story.[18][19] Buck talked on this scrapped character setting, "We always talked about she was trying to learn about her powers. So we talked about it like it's the first pancake. You know that pancakes get burned on the bottom that you throw out. Well, that's Olaf. Olaf was her first pancake."[19] In order to keep the character from getting too complex, the directors wanted him to have a childlike innocence.[18] According to Lee, "When you're a child the awkwardness and the funny shapes you make with the snowmen, the heads are never perfect" and that's how they came up with the ideas when thinking what kids would think of a snowman.[18][19]

Gad also did plenty of improvements for Olaf during the recording sessions. But the directors were very careful not to risk the character taking over the story.[18] "Olaf was very much a sketch until we had Josh Gad, and then we would just get in the room and play and we'd have a lot of fun and that's really how we found his voice specifically and how he looks at the world. It really was working with Josh that did that."[20] "It was a lot funnier than I expected, thanks largely to Josh Gad's surprisingly well-written deluded snowman character" (Del Vecho).[21] Gad's studio performance was videotaped, and animators used his facial expressions and physical moves as a reference for animating the character.[17]

Hyrum Osmond, one of the film's animation supervisors, served as the character lead for Olaf.[21] Del Vecho described him as "quiet but he has a funny, wacky personality so we knew he'd bring a lot of comedy to it."[21] Osmond himself admitted that "My personality's a bit like Olaf."[17]

The filmmakers developed a new software called Spaces to aid artists in deconstructing Olaf and rebuilding him as part of the animation process.[22][23] "It was kind of an animator's dream," Osmond enthused. "You have a character that can come apart. We said to the animation crew, 'Just have fun with it.'" "The fun part of Olaf, we learned early on that his body parts can fall apart and we knew that we would want to take full advantage of that. You will see quite a bit more of that in the movie in a surprising way." (Chris Buck).[20] "Olaf has become his own sort of standout comic character and the animators are having fun animating him. There's a lot of squash in there – I mean, a lot – and he's the only character we can throw off a cliff and have him come apart on the way down, still survive and be happy. We have the contrast of Olaf being a Snowman but loving the idea of Summer" (Del Vecho)[21]

Appearances[edit]

Frozen[edit]

His first appearance in Frozen is during Anna and Elsa's childhood as an inanimate snowman. Later, Olaf is recreated during the first verse of "Let It Go", and unknown to Elsa, comes to life. A few days later, Anna and Kristoff cross paths with Olaf while traveling through a meadow. Anna's first instinct is to give Olaf the carrot nose that he had been missing. Before they continue on their way, Olaf sings a short number fantasizing about what it might be like to experience summer heat, blissfully unaware that he'll melt. Olaf then guides Anna and Kristoff to Elsa's ice palace.

After they are expelled by Marshmallow, Olaf accompanies Anna and Kristoff to the trolls who raised Kristoff, seeking help from Grand Pabbie in regards to ice that is in Anna's heart. There, the trolls try to marry Anna and Kristoff ("Fixer Upper") and Olaf sings a sentence in the sequence.

The group thinks a "True Love's Kiss" can save Anna, and so head back to Arendelle. Olaf gets separated from the group on the way, and only appears again in the library after Hans' betrayal, having managed to sneak past the guards. Olaf comforts Anna, telling her the real meaning of love. Then they head out to the fjord to find Kristoff, but Olaf is blown away.

In the end, when Elsa finally dissipates the eternal winter and reestablishes herself as queen, she creates him a snow cloud to stand directly above him so he could fulfill his dream of living in summer without melting.

Frozen Fever[edit]

Olaf appears in the short film Frozen Fever where he is caught stuffing a piece of cake into his mouth by Elsa. When Elsa is not paying any attention, Olaf quickly spits out the cake, only to put it back on the cake.

Sofia the First[edit]

Olaf made an appearance in an episode of Sofia the First titled "The Secret Library: Olaf and the Tale of Miss Nettle", the second episode of a four-part story arc, which premiered February 15, 2016 on Disney Channel and Disney Junior.[24]

Olaf's Frozen Adventure[edit]

Olaf will appear in a 21-minute Frozen holiday film along with Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, and Sven, which will debut in theaters with Disney·Pixar's Coco on November 22, 2017.[25]

Theme parks[edit]

At Disneyland, there was a talking audio-animatronic Olaf sitting on top the roof of the cottage that was home to the Anna and Elsa meet-and-greet.[26] From July 5 to September 1, 2014, as part of 'Frozen' Summer Fun show at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Olaf will appear in Olaf on Summer Vacation section to chime in and keep visitors updated on all his adventures. He is also available for pick-ups and take-along in various locations in the park. The character will also appear in "Frozen" Fireworks Spectacular section alongside Anna, Elsa and Kristoff, a fireworks display set to the music of Frozen.[27][28] Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, and Olaf will make appearances in Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, offered during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom in November and December 2014[29] (from November 7 to December 31).[30] Officially starting January 7, 2014, Olaf began making meet and greet appearances in Disney California Adventure at "Olaf's Snow Fest", and guests could learn how to draw either Olaf or Marshmallow at the Disney Animation Building's Animation Academy as part of the park's "Frozen Fun" event.[31][32]

Beginning May 22, 2015, Disneyland debuted a new nighttime parade called "Paint the Night", which includes a Frozen float featuring Anna, Elsa, and Olaf, as part of the park's 60th anniversary celebration.[33]

Other[edit]

  • He also makes an appearance in the Sky Adventures television advertisement.[34]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Jim Hill (October 18, 2013). "Countdown to Disney "Frozen" : How one simple suggestion broke the ice on the "Snow Queen"'s decades-long story problems". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 21, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b White, Cindy (October 11, 2013). "Inside Disney’s Frozen: Q&A with the Directors". Geek Mom. Retrieved 21 February 2014. 
  3. ^ Wright, Gary (November 24, 2013). "Frozen in Time: Disney’s Adaptation of a Literary Classic". Rotoscoper. Retrieved 21 February 2014. 
  4. ^ Giardina, Carolyn (November 27, 2013). "Oscars: With 'Frozen,' Disney Invents a New Princess (and Secret Software)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 21, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c Weintraub, Steve (November 25, 2013). "Josh Gad Talks FROZEN, His History with the Project, the Songs, the Status of TRIPLETS, Playing Sam Kinison, and More". Collider.comn. Event occurs at 0:33. Retrieved February 21, 2014. 
  6. ^ Hill, Jim (December 2, 2013). "How Josh Gad Almost Missed Out on the Chance to Voice Olaf the Snowman for Disney's Frozen". Huffington Post. Retrieved 21 February 2014. 
  7. ^ Chmielewski, Dawn C.; Eller, Claudia (March 9, 2010). "Disney restyles 'Rapunzel' to appeal to boys". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 6, 2010. 
  8. ^ Sciretta, Peter (December 22, 2011). "Walt Disney Animation Gives 'The Snow Queen' New Life, Retitled 'Frozen' – But Will It Be Hand Drawn?". SlashFilm. Retrieved December 22, 2011. 
  9. ^ Lowman, Rob (November 19, 2013). "Unfreezing ‘Frozen:’ The making of the newest fairy tale in 3D by Disney". Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved February 21, 2014. 
  10. ^ a b c Schneller, Johanna (December 6, 2013). "For Josh Gad, playing an animated snowman is a serious job". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved May 9, 2014. 
  11. ^ Nachman, Brett (August 16, 2012). "Disney In Depth: The Future Of Disney Animation (Frozen, Paperman, & Wreck-It Ralph) – A Recap Of D23's Destination D Event". Geeks of Doom. Retrieved August 17, 2012. 
  12. ^ Sarto, Dan (February 21, 2013). "Oscar® Tour SoCal Day 2 Continues at Disney Feature Animation". Animation World Network. Retrieved February 28, 2013. 
  13. ^ Snetiker, Marc (June 18, 2013). "Santino Fontana and Josh Gad Join Disney's Frozen, Starring Jonathan Groff & Idina Menzel". Broadway.com. Retrieved June 18, 2013. 
  14. ^ a b Pock Ross, Adam (September 25, 2013). "Josh Gad Talks Disney's 'Frozen' and Being the Hottest Snowman Around". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved 19 March 2014. 
  15. ^ Crouse, Richard (November 28, 2013). "Disney's Frozen: The story of actor Josh Gad, who never gave up on his Disney dreams". Metronews. Retrieved May 9, 2014. 
  16. ^ Pock Ross, Adam (October 8, 2013). "21 ‘Frozen’ Facts That Make Us Ready for Winter". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved 26 February 2014. 
  17. ^ a b c P. Means, Sean (November 26, 2013). "Preview: Finding the warm heart of Disney's 'Frozen'". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 26 February 2014. 
  18. ^ a b c d e Lee, Michael (October 7, 2013). "50 Things You May Not Know About Disney’s "Frozen" [Updated]". Movie Viral. Retrieved 26 February 2014. 
  19. ^ a b c Richard Chavez and Rebecca Murray (September 27, 2013). "'Frozen' Directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee Discuss the Animated Film - Behind the Scenes of Disney's 'Frozen'". About.com. Retrieved 26 February 2014. 
  20. ^ a b Pock Ross, Adam (July 11, 2013). "‘Frozen’ Directors Put Next Animated Disney Classic On Ice". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved 26 February 2014. 
  21. ^ a b c d Connelly, Brendon (September 25, 2013). "Inside The Research, Design And Animation Of Walt Disney’s Frozen With Producer Peter Del Vecho". Bleeding Cool. Retrieved 26 February 2014. 
  22. ^ Coyle, Emily (December 3, 2013). "6 Facts You Didn’t Know About Disney’s ‘Frozen’". Wall St. Cheat Sheet. Retrieved 26 February 2014. 
  23. ^ Failes, Ian (December 2, 2013). "The tech of Disney’s Frozen and Get a Horse!". FX Guide. Retrieved 26 February 2014. 
  24. ^ Steinberg, Brian (January 13, 2016). "‘Olaf’ Will Meet ‘Sofia’ In New Disney Effort To Keep ‘Frozen’ Fresh". Variety. Retrieved January 21, 2016. 
  25. ^ Snetiker, Marc (June 13, 2017). "John Lasseter talks Olaf’s Frozen Adventure, debuts first look". 'Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved June 13, 2017. 
  26. ^ Brigante, Ricky (November 15, 2013). "Anna and Elsa joined by animated Olaf for "Frozen" character meet-and-greet in Royal Reception at Disneyland". Inside the Magic. Retrieved September 7, 2014. 
  27. ^ Slater, Shawn (June 26, 2014). "Get Ready to Experience ‘Frozen’ Summer Fun – Live at Disney’s Hollywood Studios". Disney Parks Blog. The Walt Disney Company. Retrieved June 26, 2014. 
  28. ^ Brigante, Ricky (June 26, 2014). "Frozen Summer Fun LIVE! coming to Walt Disney World with royal welcome, stage show, fireworks, and park wide party". Inside the Magic. Distant Creations Group, LLC. Retrieved June 26, 2014. 
  29. ^ Staggs, Tom (September 12, 2014). "‘Frozen’ Attraction Coming to Epcot". Disney Parks Blog. Retrieved September 12, 2014. 
  30. ^ Brigante, Ricky (September 12, 2014). ""Frozen" ride announced for Walt Disney World in 2016 to replace Maelstrom at Epcot, "Frozen" Christmas also revealed". Inside the Magic. Retrieved 14 September 2014. 
  31. ^ Slater, Shawn (December 5, 2014). "New ‘Frozen Fun’ Opens at Disneyland Resort January 7". Disney Parks Blog. Retrieved December 5, 2014. 
  32. ^ Graser, Marc (December 5, 2014). "Disney Adds ‘Frozen’ Experiences to Disneyland, California Adventure Theme Parks". Variety. Retrieved December 5, 2014. 
  33. ^ "Prepare to be Wowed by Disneyland’s Three New Nighttime Spectaculars". Disney Insider. April 14, 2015. Retrieved April 14, 2015. 
  34. ^ Sky Movies HD UK - Christmas Advert 2014 (King Of TV Sat)

External links[edit]

Media related to Olaf (Disney) at Wikimedia Commons