warptown.com had the opportunity to sit down with Kristen Bell who lends her voice to Anna in Disney’s “Frozen,” which is now playing. Kristen opened up about a range of topics from motherhood, to being a Disney princess, to “Veronica Mars,” to her career. It was a real treat to sit down with her at a roundtable right here in New York and we are excited to share this exclusive interview with you today Nov. 30.
How did you get involved with “Frozen”?
Kristen: I was attached really, really early on when it was sort of still in its incubation stage and then we did a reading of the first script and it was still for all the Disney executives to kind of get them hot to the idea to make this the next green lit project and Idina was involved and Chris had decided that he wanted us to sing something at the end to John Lasseter and at that moment I realized, “Oh my God, I am really singing a cappella in a room in a room with Idina Menzel, what is my life?” and then we rehearsed at her house “Wind Beneath My Wings.” I was exploding inside I was imploding, it was so cool. I am surprised that I really got through it because you know when you get nervous you get kind of shaky and my voice would shake, but she’s the most intimidating singer but the most un-intimidating human because she is so warm and she kind of made it all good.
And you are now a part of the pantheon of Disney princesses, how does that feel?
Kristen: I feels like an honor, but more specifically because – though I have always wanted to be here in this title – I really wanted to do it under specific circumstances and I am pretty feisty in real life and I didn’t want to bow down to the norm and I wanted to play a Disney heroine like one I wanted to see growing up and I loved all the Disney heroines growing up, but there was no one like me, there was no one weird and awkward and goofy…do you know what I mean? And when I got casted I said to Chris and Jen, I want her to talk faster than she thinks, check, I want her to trip often, check, I want her to want all these things and be daring and adventurous and I want her to ultimately not have good posture because all the Disney princesses, they all have this thing with their hand and I was like “I have seen it, who cares” and they were on-board with all of it and they let me do crazy things. They let me snort all over I was like, “Oh she should snort right there or let her have saliva running down her face, when she wakes up and let her have hair in her mouth” and it just that, she wakes up and I just started doing it… I mean listen we have all woken up with that and it’s funny. Why not show it, you know? And so I was coughing because there was hair in my mouth and they were watching me like, “Man, this girl is awkward, but maybe the animators will like it,” and they did!
Can you speak about singing “Love Is An Open Door”?
You know not difficult because I think that unless you play everything with utter sincerity you can’t tip it. So when we did “Love Is An Open Door,”…Bobby and Kristen had pitched that as the early nineties rock ballad where people are just singing to each other that crazy gusto that the early nineties had when you watch movies you were like, “Whoa, let’s just not talk about it ever again” and so we really wanted to have that sort of sense of bravado when we were singing to each other and those kinds of moments we talked a lot about during that song where you are singing and you look over and you are so into yourself and yeah it ended up just being an adorable fun song and I recorded “Love Is An Open Door” very pregnant. I recorded it at seven months pregnant I think and with Santino Fontana in the room and we were able to play off each other, but it was a lot of fun and I think I delivered it with all sincerity because that’s what the audience needs at that point in the story and my job as a storyteller is not to tip anything off.
Your daughter is still really young, but I assume you are excited to tell her you are a Disney princess and have her see the film?
Kristen: I don’t know if I am going to tell her. I’m going to let her figure it out, maybe. Well I don’t want to lead with my resume. I am not going to hand her a copy of my resume as soon as she can read, but I don’t I know, I might! No, I think that I will show it to her because I loved those kind of movies growing up. We are not going to do TV with her until she is two cause that’s kind of what pediatricians now recommend for child development, but when she does start watching movies I would love to have her see this one and I hope that she is proud that her mom did something a little bit different and kind of broke a mould, which is what I think my biggest take away from this is despite it being my dream come true and being with one of my idols being able to sing, it is also that I am genuinely proud of Anna because I broke a little bit of the mould for girls.
Can you speak about collaborating with Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, who wrote all the music?
Kristen: They rule, well in my opinion I think musical theatre had hit this plateau, it just stagnated a bit because I stopped caring momentarily and that is not me I love musical theatre, but it just got flat and then “Avenue Q” came out and this weird edgy dark, perverted sensibility came to musical theatre again and it is kind of this re-invention of something you hadn’t seen, which I am sure is what people had when they first saw “West Side Story” or they first saw trail blazing kind of stuff and then when “Book of Mormon” came out, it blew the lid off everything. We were like, “Oh my Gosh, you can make these jokes? Cause everybody is thinking it.” But I think they are so smart, they complement each other and I like working with my husband, so I think it is great that it is a husband and wife I team I love just seeing that is really inspiring and I hope to collaborate with them on future projects because I think they’re really, really at the top of their game.
Is Broadway an aspiration for you?
Kristen: Well, I have done a couple shows here…I left my third year of college and did “Reefer Madness,” which was off Broadway at the Variety Arts on 14th Street and then I did “The Crucible” here when it was revised and I did the “Adventures of Tom Sawyer” but yes I want to do theatre again very badly, but my reality is that I have now a husband who works in Los Angeles and a baby that I’m sure you can throw it in a duffel bag and take anywhere, but uprooting the lifestyle is more than just me and I am trying to be considerate of that, so when he wants to move back here, and if that doesn’t disrupt her school life, I would love to move back here and do a show, but you know shows you can’t sign up for three months, you have to sign up for twelve months, it is the only way they will make their net back.
Do you feel that you will make different acting and career choices now that you are mom? Will you want to do more kid friendly projects?
Kristen: The answer is both yes and no. Do I want to do more things I can show her? I don’t think I will choose different projects, let me start there because I am proud of the choices I make and I am on a really sexy perverted show and I am thirty-three years old and if she is thirty-three, she can be on a sexy show. She can’t be on it when she is twelve, but you can’t drive a car. They are rules in life that happen in phases in your life I am not ashamed of any of the phases and I am certainly not going to shy away from anything adult content driven because I now have a child cause that would be masking who I am…News flash women are sexual creatures. Everybody seems to be shocked when somebody lights the torch there and they are like, “Oh my gosh girls can be sexy, too and not just bimbos.” So I don’t think that I will choose different content. I like the choices that I have made, but is there is a growing excitement inside of me to have projects that if my daughter does like watching me on screen that I can see with her? It is sort of like when Jessica Alba does the “Spy Kids” movies. I am sure her kids loved that and those movies are fantastic I am sure Jessica Alba wasn’t planning on winning her Oscar from that movie you know. She was like, “Oh this is great. I will be able to do something and have a fun family event around it.” So I think the answer is both yes and no.
Any projects you might do again with your husband Dax Shepard?
Kristen: I would work with him until the day I die if he would just stop what he is doing and write for me, already. He is getting quite a bit of work off “Hit & Run” this little movie that we did last year that people love and he has been writing a lot for people he is kind of able now to pick and choose the scripts that he is writing and it is great so, if I can get him.
Do you have a preference for comedy or Drama because you are obviously a really tremendous comedic talent?
Kristen: Am I funny? Or am I just weird? I have never been able to tell, honestly. When I am feeling studious, I like drama, it is what I studied. I studied music out here, but I also studied real theatre and we went in-depth into Mamet and to Arthur Miller and Eric Bogosian and all those cool playwrights where you were like, “Wow this sh*t is scary and deep and cool” and when I first started I did “The Crucible” and then when I moved to Los Angeles I did “The Shield” and I was raped and tattooed on the face and I did “Deadwood” and I was beaten to death in the middle of the town square. There were some dark stuff in my beginnings that I really enjoyed as an actress I think the people who hired me enjoyed it because I didn’t look dark or evil however you want to describe that, but when you are making a comedy chances are you are having a lot of fun on set and my priorities as a human are just always ever so slightly in the lead as my priorities as an actress.
Do you feel a lot of pressure for “Veronica Mars” the movie?
Kristen: I mean there is a lot of pressure, first of all we are so grateful that we even got to do it and there is a lot of pressure because we really, really hope that the audience likes it because they asked us to do it and we want to.
And they gave you money!
Kristen: Yeah exactly and we want to deliver so badly, but I have always had confidence in Rob Thomas and he writes for the audience. He doesn’t write selfishly as a writer he writes what people want to see that’s why Logan was not intended to be Veronica’s love interest, but he saw something and the audience saw something and all these girl fan forums sort of flicking their ponytails when they would see Jason Dohring on screen and so he was like I have to do what they want and that’s a great, great, great feature as a writer because you will usually have a successful show. He wrote a movie for the fans and I really, really pray that they like it.
At what stage of production are you for the “Veronica Mars” movie?
Kristen: Editing. It’s done totally done…We started nine weeks after the baby was born and we are screening it right now so that we can make nuanced changes to the plot or tiny little shaving here and there then color correct it, sound mix it and then it will come out early 2014.
Are you open to doing a sequel to the “Veronica Mars” movie?
Kristen: I would do a sequel…I would do it if it was like “Star Trek” and we did one year for the next thousand years. I would do it well into the “Murder She Wrote” age group, you know.
You talked a little about how you had admired the Disney princesses growing up. Who was one of your favorite Disney princesses?
Kristen: Not Jasmine, Aladdin! I mean it is always a tie for me between Ariel and cause I tend to embrace things that are ever so slightly the underdogs or slightly more unique, which I know is slightly weird for me to say because I so look like everyone else in Los Angeles, but I can embrace it; but she was the first red head. She was a fish, she collected forks, I mean she was weird and I liked her because of that and then I was also less girly when I was growing up so I really liked Aladdin, so the two of those were my running favorites and I always had them in a loop.
What was it like seeing your voice come out of this character in “Frozen”?
Kristen: It’s cool and weird and surreal and jarring. Like I watch it and there are certain times when I am like, “Ooh I wish I had done it a different way,” but for the most part I am just in awe that I was allowed to be a part of this and I am really proud that she came out like she did that they let me do her like this.
Q: Ariel represents a turning point for Disney princesses. While she did look for domestic security with a prince, she also looked for a whole new world, while the other ones did not. Anna, in this film, while there is a love interest and it is about her falling in love, but the primary relationship is between her and her sister. So I mean how do you feel about that?
Kristen: Again one of the reasons I am so proud of this particular story of being a part of this particular Disney animation movie because I think this is another turning point. This is the embracement of a modern day female that isn’t striving for perfection that’s embracing uniqueness because first of all the protagonist is also the antagonist. Elsa is not the evil one but she kind of is, I mean you watch the trailer and you think that she is, so there is that blurred kind of line. The love is between the siblings and it is celebrating this sort of Anti-1950’s dynamic where the girl isn’t just opening the front door and looking for her true love anymore, she wants the world, but she also wants to love the world around her and as opposed to Ariel who wanted to just explore, Anna wants to explore, but she also wants to nurture the relationships around her and a foundation of nurturing your relationships in life, is nurturing your relationship with your support group, which is your family, whether it is blood or not and you can identify family however you want, but that’s the relationship between Anna and Elsa is it’s a non-romantic love. It’s nurturing the non-romantic love and I think it is really special. It’s very non-traditional for a Disney movie and that’s the reason it took us so long. I don’t know if Jen and Chris told you how long to make this but this had a much bumpier road than a lot of them because “Anna and the Snow Queen,” the Hans Christian Andersen tale is a little bit different than this and we didn’t know if they were going to be sisters, a mother and daughter, or if she was really going to be evil and her ice represented her fear and how do you bring your antagonist back around to the audience at the end because you can’t have Anna hate Elsa, you cannot. The whole movie she has got to be rooting for Elsa.
There is such poignancy to the intensity that Anna loves her sister I was wondering; do you have a sibling?
Kristen: Yes I do, I have two older sisters and I love the daylights out of them.
Are either of them really icy?
Kristen: One of them, being honest, one of them is icy, but I still love her like crazy and I think if we are not supposed to be loving the people around us, what’s the point? Not to get crazy philosophical or macro on you, but honestly what is the point and I think that has just been solidified, since I had a kid. The whole point of being here is being nice to people and I think this movie is an exemplary example of that – of not losing faith in someone because hurt people hurt people and if someone is defensive it is just because their feelings are hurt or there is always a mode of communication that you can get through to people. I guess I have learned in my life when I relate to people, if you are vulnerable, you are never turned down, you are just never. If you are snarky, and rude and defensive you’ll be met with that kind of emotion, but if you go up to someone and you communicate with them and go, “My feelings were hurt, when this happened” or “I believe in you” or “Hey, I just want to be friends with you.” It’s an a lot more beautiful way you live and that is kind of what I love so much about this is that’s the example these girls are setting. Anna refuses to give up on her sister and Elsa. The only reason that Elsa is so evil…is so detached is because she is scared; she is scared of being different, which is also a really, really cool lesson that if you are different embrace it “Bro, we are all different. Let it go.”