So say the Academy Award-winning songwriters behind the monster hit, “Frozen,” in this interview with NPR:
The husband and wife team behind the Oscar-winning Frozen said on Thursday that while Disney is open to bringing songwriters from diverse backgrounds, God is the only thing that they have seen censored since they have worked there.
Speaking on NPR’s Fresh Air show, Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez told host Terry Gross that some of the preconceptions outside of the industry folks might have about Disney may not be exactly true.
“Disney is not this sanitized place that you might imagine it to be. I mean, they hired Ashman and Menken after they did “Little Shop of Horrors,” which was sort of the Avenue Q of its day. It was very campy and very kind of…a little off color and racy. And I don’t think Disney has any problem with employing people who have, you know, done off-color stuff in the past,” Lopez, who co-wrote the satirical Book of Mormon, said.
Anderson-Lopez noted, “It’s funny. One of the only places you have to draw the line at Disney is with religious things, the word God.”
“Yeah. You just can’t,” agreed her husband.
A confused Gross followed up with her guests, asking “You can’t say the word ‘God’?”
Lopez hesitated, “There was even a – well, you can say it in Disney but you can’t put it in the movie,” which his wife affirmed.
If that’s accurate, it marks a sea-change from a couple decades ago, when one of the most poignant songs from “Hunchback of Notre Dame” included the ballad “God Help the Outcasts”—a song which, incidentally, remains one of my favorites from the Disney canon. Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz (“Godspell,” “Wicked”) and music by the incomparable Alan Menken (“The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast”), it could be a musical homily. It begins with a gypsy woman in Notre Dame, gazing up at the face of Christ and singing:
I don’t know if You can hear me
Or if You’re even there
I don’t know if You would listen
To a gypsy’s prayer
Yes, I know I’m just an outcast
I shouldn’t speak to you
Still I see Your face and wonder…
Were You once an outcast too?
Check out the video below.