Early Frozen Designs Inspired by Gay Icon Bette Midler

Drafts show influence of the Divine Miss M. on Disney's latest blockbuster animated feature.

BY Patrick Yacco

February 06 2014 4:08 PM ET

Former Disney animation designer Claire Keane has released her original sketches for character ideas from Disney’s wildly successful winter film, Frozen. The designs show a variety of influences, including those of the legendary actor Bette Midler. According to her website, Keane says that the drawings were "based on Bette Midler’s showgirl stage presence." 

Based on these sketches, it seems like the "Snow Queen" would be a more conventional Disney villain, similar to The Little Mermaid's Ursula or Sleeping Beauty's Maleficent. Instead, the character eventually evolved into the younger and blonder Elsa, which in turn complicated the traditional "good vs. evil" narrative seen in the studio's animated features.

Keane also posted drawings that envisioned an Elsa closer to Amy Winehouse. Keane stated that she was inspired by the British musician's "pathos" and "imagined her to have a deep, soulful voice and dramatic mood swings."

While the film still ended up being a musical, it’s interesting to think what songs could have been produced if they were sung in the style of either Midler or Winehouse. With the popularity of "Let It Go" parodies, perhaps it's time someone created a fantasy duet.

Tags: film, Frozen

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