Josh Gad Says a Hit ‘Frozen’ Song Was Added After Weak Test Screenings

The voice of Olaf says that the first reactions to the popular Disney musical were “a mess”

“Frozen” may now have a permanent spot in the canon of beloved Disney films, but Josh Gad, the voice of Olaf, says that one of the movie’s most beloved songs was only added after audiences at test screenings gave the film a thumbs down.

In an interview on PeopleTV’s “Couch Surfing,” Gad recounted a discussion he had with Robert Lopez, who wrote all of the songs for the two “Frozen” films with his wife, Kristen Anderson-Lopez. Gad says that Lopez told him that the first round of test screenings were “a mess” and that audiences weren’t embracing the relationship between Anna and Elsa that lies at the heart of the story.

Lopez, who is the only double EGOT winner in showbiz history, believed that the best way to fix it would be to add “a moment where we really see the girls’ affection for each other early on,” according to Gad. The result was “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” a song that shows Anna’s desire to play with her ice-powered sister Elsa as they grow up, only to be pushed away again and again.

“Cut to six months later, when I’m screening the film with my wife and Kristen Bell (Anna) and Idina Menzel (Elsa) and the creatives,” he said. “I turn to my wife, who is the most critical person I know…and she says ‘this is really, really special.’ And I left thinking, ‘OK, we really hit the mark.'”

You can check out “Frozen” and “Frozen II” on Disney+ now.