'Frozen' Creator Jennifer Lee Plays Not My Job On 'Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!' In honor of the release of Frozen II, we've invited the head of Walt Disney Animation to answer three questions about frozen foods.

Not My Job: 'Frozen' Creator Jennifer Lee Plays A Game Called 'Let It Thaw'

Not My Job: 'Frozen' Creator Jennifer Lee Plays A Game Called 'Let It Thaw'

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Lee Jin-man/AP
Director Jennifer Lee waves upon her arrival at a press conference in Seoul, South Korea, on Nov. 25, 2019.
Lee Jin-man/AP

We've invited Jennifer Lee, writer and director of Frozen and Frozen II, and head of Walt Disney Animation to answer three questions about frozen foods.

Click the audio link above to find out how she does.

PETER SAGAL, HOST:

And now the game where people who have risen very, very high peer down through the clouds to see what they left behind. Jennifer Lee graduated from film school a little less than 15 years ago, and today, she is the head of Walt Disney Animation. How did she get to be the first woman ever to hold that job and so quickly? Well, a few years ago, she wrote and directed a movie called "Frozen," which became the highest-grossing animated film ever made. And now, just as we were finally able to get "Let It Go" out of our heads...

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: ...She's back with "Frozen II." Jennifer Lee, welcome to WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

(CHEERING)

JENNIFER LEE: Thank you. Well, I just have to say, being on this show is actually a highlight of my career because I think of everything - it's the one that's going to make my ex-husband really jealous.

SAGAL: There you go.

(CHEERING)

MO ROCCA: Excellent.

SAGAL: I am so happy to do that for you, given the joy you've given me. But I have to ask...

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: ...You don't think your, say, winning an Oscar did that?

LEE: (Laughter) I didn't ask him. I was too polite about that.

SAGAL: Really? Now, what's interesting to me - and I say this as a father of daughters who saw a lot of Disney animation movies before "Frozen" came along - is that we know about the whole thing about the Disney princess - that the beautiful woman or beautiful girl who's rescued literally by prince charming. And the great thing about "Frozen" is it totally subverts that. It - was that your intent? Did you say to yourself when you were given the chance to make this movie, I'm going to completely stick it to all those princes?

LEE: (Laughter) You know, I will say I have to give credit to Chris Buck, my - he's my fellow director on this. The idea of having true love not be romantic but familial was just something that we thought was fantastic. And to do a film where two sisters or two women are not at odds but are actually trying to support each other - they were just things that we wished we'd had and - grown up with, and we've never seen. So, you know, there's some fun we had with Hans.

SAGAL: This is a spoiler for those of you with kids who haven't seen the movie more than, say, 600 times.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: But Hans, of course, is the guy who's introduced as that - literally, the handsome prince who's going to rescue the young heroine. And it turns out he's a cad. And I'd never seen that before. Did anybody from Disney - because, of course, this was before the movie was a huge success - did anybody say to you, eh, we're not sure about this?

LEE: Oh, no. Because - I mean, they're now pretty much 50/50 women and men. And every woman said, I've dated that man. We have to...

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: So...

LEE: We need to warn the girls of the world.

ROCCA: Wait. Can I ask, is your ex-husband named Hans?

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Did you ever do any research or - I don't know...

LEE: (Laughter).

SAGAL: ...How you would do it - into what the core audience, the children, would want from a sequel to "Frozen" - what they would want to see?

LEE: We didn't really in the sense that we felt like if we had so many requests of what we should do, if we listened to that, we wouldn't build it in a true way. We did, however, do a lot of research where we went to Finland and Iceland and Norway. We walked on glaciers. We went in - deep in the forest. And, in fact, we actually took a ship called the Hurtigruten down the fjords of Norway.

ROCCA: Hurtigruten.

LEE: The Hurtigruten. And oddly enough, while we were there, our team had lunch with Peter Sagal's parents.

SAGAL: What? What?

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: I had absolutely no idea.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: But my parents - they go on cruises. What else do they do? And this is what happens. They come home, and my mother says, (imitating Peter Sagal's mother) we met these people on the boat. They're big fans of yours. That's it.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: She doesn't say, (imitating Peter Sagal's mother) oh, they were making "Frozen II." It was very exciting.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: I had no - that is amazing.

(LAUGHTER)

ADAM BURKE: Can I ask a more pertinent question? Can you weigh in on this controversy about Olaf's height?

LEE: Oh, god. Yes. Apparently around Twitter, there was some video game that said Olaf was 5-foot-4. And that would put all of the other characters somewhere in the 8- to 10-foot range.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Right.

LEE: And an argument went back and forth, really trying to convince the world that they were giants. So I think it was a typo. I checked with production. He's three foot five from frozen toe to tip of his little wooden twig. So...

SAGAL: There you go.

LEE: ...Put the controversy to rest.

SAGAL: Please.

BURKE: (Laughter).

ROCCA: And can I ask, which "Frozen" character do you think would be the most delicious to eat?

(LAUGHTER)

LEE: Well, I mean, I think there's no doubt it would be Olaf.

SAGAL: Oh, right, of course.

ROCCA: Yes. That makes - right.

LEE: Yeah.

SAGAL: He'd be...

LEE: With a little sugar, he'd be just right.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Can you tell us where Walt Disney's frozen body is?

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Well, I have to admit, I didn't know anything when I went to see "Frozen" the first time with my daughter. That's what I thought it was going to be about.

(LAUGHTER)

BURKE: You saw Disney's "Frozen."

SAGAL: Yeah, exactly.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: All right. One more question before we get to the game. So obviously, part of the Disney experience is that for every movie, there's a huge amount of merchandising. And, you know, we all saw it out with Elsa and everything with "Frozen." Do you, as the director, the creator of the film, get to approve that stuff? Or is that out of your hands?

LEE: Well, we do - the first film, we did almost everything. But they didn't think we would sell that much, so...

(LAUGHTER)

LEE: But this one, we actually have a whole team because we can't - there's too many. It's thousands of - from around the world.

ROCCA: I think there should be a line of foods.

BURKE: I think there - I think frozen foods is a thing.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Well, Jennifer Lee, it is a pleasure to talk to you. We have asked you here to play the game that we're calling...

BILL KURTIS: Let It Thaw. Let It Thaw.

SAGAL: You made two "Frozen" movies. But what do you know about frozen foods?

(CHEERING)

ROCCA: Oh - like, see? I was ahead of the curve.

SAGAL: You were. We're going to ask you three questions about iced cuisine. Answer two out of three correctly. Do that, and you'll win our prize for one of our listeners, a Queen Bill Kurtis Halloween costume. No, it's just actually a voicemail message.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Bill, who is Jennifer Lee playing for?

KURTIS: Sarah Reese of Los Angeles, Calif.

SAGAL: All right. You ready to do this?

LEE: I'm ready.

SAGAL: Here's your first question. There are a lot of frozen foods with celebrity endorsements and tie-ins, including which of these? A, Larry the Cable Guy's official Git-R-Done Grub Biscuit and Sausage Gravy meal...

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: ...B, Master P's frozen peas; or C, Tom Cruise Diet Dianetic Delights.

(LAUGHTER)

LEE: Oh, OK. I want to go with Tom Cruise.

SAGAL: You really want to go for the Tom Cruise...

LEE: You're clearly saying it shouldn't be because you're hesitating.

(LAUGHTER)

LEE: The one that I liked the most, though, because it was so long, was A. So...

SAGAL: So A, Larry the Cable Guy - you want to go with that one?

LEE: OK.

SAGAL: That's the one.

LEE: Yes.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

SAGAL: You got it.

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: All right, Jennifer. That's very good. Here is your next question.

LEE: OK.

SAGAL: A huge part of the frozen food business, naturally, is frozen desserts, including which of these? A, the License to Chill, a popsicle in the shape of Daniel Craig's naked torso...

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: ...B, the Inuit Pie, a more woke ice cream sandwich...

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: ...or C, Frozen Flaming Hot Cheetos.

LEE: Oh, are there those? Because my daughter would love those.

(LAUGHTER)

LEE: I'll go with C.

SAGAL: Frozen Flaming Hot Cheetos - no. In fact, believe it or not, it was License to Chill.

BURKE: What?

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: They exist. It's a popsicle in the shape of Daniel Craig's naked torso.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: All right. The heyday, Jennifer, of frozen food was the 1960s, which was when somebody tried out which of these business ideas? A, Pillsbury frozen flour; B, rent-a-chicken, which would provide you a mother hen to sit on your frozen food and warm it the natural way...

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: ...Or C, Tad's 30 Varieties of Meats (ph). It was a chain restaurant where every table had a microwave for you to cook the frozen food they would bring to you.

LEE: Oh, God.

ROCCA: That's (inaudible).

LEE: Oh. OK, I'm going with C.

SAGAL: You're right. You did it.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

SAGAL: That was the idea. You go to the restaurant microwave, which they did have. They were very large from our eyes. And they'd bring you frozen food, and you'd stick it in microwave and eat it. The restaurant chain did not last long.

LEE: I'm shocked. I'm shocked.

SAGAL: Bill, how did filmmaker Jennifer Lee do on our quiz?

KURTIS: Two out of 3 for Jennifer Lee.

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Congratulations. Jennifer Lee is the chief creative officer of Disney Animation. Her new movie, "Frozen II," is in theaters now. Jennifer Lee, thank you so much for joining us on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

(CHEERING)

SAGAL: What a pleasure to talk to you. Take care. Bye-bye.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LET IT GO")

IDINA MENZEL: (Singing) Let it go, let it go, can't hold it back anymore. Let it go...

SAGAL: In just a minute, go directly to our Listener Limerick Challenge. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT to join us on the air. We'll be back in a minute with more of WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME from NPR.

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