It was widely reported yesterday that Disney bans the word “God” from being used in its animated films and accompanying song lyrics.
The initial reports came from an NPR interview with Oscar-winning “Frozen” songwriters Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, but the married couple say their quotes about “religious things” being “one of the only places you have to draw the line at Disney” were completely misconstrued.
We spoke exclusively with the songwriters at Tuesday night’s Time 100 gala, where the duo were honored as one of the magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World.”
When asked about the ban, Kristen Anderson-Lopez clarified, “That is completely misconstrued. We were talking about one instance where we were using the word ‘God’ in vain.”
Her husband Robert explained the specific instance in question was about “using the Lord’s name in vain,” with a song line that would have been: “Couldn’t keep it in, God knows I tried.”
Kristen elaborated, “That’s what we were going to do and our collaborators felt that could be construed as using the Lord’s name in vain, so we didn’t put it in the movie.”
“But Disney does not have a policy of not using the word ‘God’ at all,” she assures.
In fact, the couple say there are no words or topics that are off limits at Disney. They just felt it was better to nix the one line.
Many had speculated that Disney was extra cautious with the songwriters because Robert was co-writer of the crass, religious satire Broadway hit, “Book of Mormon.”
But Robert previously assured NPR, “I don’t think Disney has any problem with employing people who have, you know, done off-colour stuff in the past.”
“Book of Mormon” co-creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone — who wrote the couple’s Time profile — explained why their friends’ song “Let It Go” was so influential this year: “It’s catchy and familiar and yet new. It’s that perfect mix where a songwriter can get a song you’ve never heard before stuck in your head in 30 seconds.”
As for their spot on the elite Time magazine list, the couple says, “The fact that we’re even on this list made us laugh really hard, we wrote songs for a Disney princess movie!”
“Frozen” has grossed more than $US1 billion worldwide and is the highest-grossing animated film of all time.
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