Growing up can be confusing; to figure out who you are and where you fit in the world can seem like an impossible task. It's something that Elsa and Anna grapple with in Frozen, and most people do in adolescence. Bustle sat down with the the cast and creators of Frozen 2 to talk what it means to be adult, when (if ever) they first felt like a grown up, and what they were like as kids.
Josh Gad, who voices the lovable snowman Olaf, shared a family anecdote. "Five years old, my oldest daughter looked at my wife and I and started crying. We looked at her and were like, 'Are you ok?' and she goes, 'I don't wanna grow up!' We all have that phase, I think."
For some, it's not a phase so much as a way of life. Asked when she finally started feeling like an adult, Evan Rachel Wood, who voices Anna and Elsa's mother Queen Iduna, said, "I just started to feel like that for the first time...and my kid is 6."
Where Frozen was all about embracing your true nature, highlighted by power ballad "Let It Go," Frozen 2's big song is "Into the Unknown." While the unknown is a literal one in the movie, with Elsa journeying North through a mystic wood to discover the source of her powers, it's also the film's larger metaphor about Elsa and Anna taking responsibility for themselves as well as others. "Anna is struggling with her codependency," says Kristen Bell, who voices the character. "What do you do when you feel like you have no one to live for?"
Frozen 2 focuses more deeply on Anna and Elsa's relationship. Though Elsa overcame her fear of her own powers through accepting Anna's love, there's the danger that the allure of those powers could distract Elsa from what's truly important. Anna, for her part, has to accept living for herself. It's not easy — the feeling of being a responsible adult is something even Bell still has trouble wrapping her mind around. "I have to be honest, I don't know that I've ever felt like that... I even look at my kids now and think, Wow, am I an adult now?"
It's a common refrain for most of the Frozen 2 cast, that they didn't really feel like adults until they had someone else to care for, and even then, they still have their doubts. Sterling K. Brown voices Mattias, an Arendelle guard trapped for decades in the northern enchanted forest. While he's responsible for his soldiers and the safety of a country in the film, in real life, "My wife tells me frequently, 'I have two children already, I don't need a third!'"
Fairy tales are one of the ways adults try to prepare children to face the world. Just growing up can be frightening and even painful, so it's no surprise those same stories often help us get through things. "Pinocchio was it for me... the things he went through," says co-director Chris Buck. "But... he survived." With the help of Elsa and Anna, children can know that they will, too.