The Disney hit “Frozen” continues to rake in millions in ticket sales, this weekend coming back to the No. 2 spot in the box office rankings — and not just in the U.S.
The film’s success has reached Taiwan*, where moviegoers can see the movie dubbed over in Mandarin. In the U.S., Kristen Bell plays the charming protaganist Princess Anna — but in Taiwan, instead you’ll hear the slightly accented voice of an American TV host named Janet Hsieh.
She’s not a professional voiceover artist — and she says this job was a special treat.
“Somebody from Disney called and said that they would love for us to be the voice of Anna,” she says. “They thought that my personality was very similar to her. Our first reaction was, ‘Are you sure you want me to do this in Chinese?'”
Hsieh is from Houston, and she laughs as she remembers worrying about her accent. She wrote out the entire script in romanization (pinyin) and worked with a voice coach, perfecting her pronunciation and timing her read to the animation on the screen.
The work was much different than hosting a TV show.
“Physically, you’re just in the studio, and you’re not speaking with anybody else,” she says. “So you’re acting with yourself and the microphone.”
After the film came out, she was curious to know if her voice was recognizable, so she asked her Facebook friends. “They don’t hear the accent. Once you get into the character, you don’t hear Janet, per se. You see Princess Anna, and you think this is just a Mandarin-speaking Princess Anna.”
Beyond her performance, “Frozen” might have an extra reason to be glad they cast Hsieh: Video sales.
“I’m seriously going to buy an entire truckful of Frozen DVDs to pass out to everybody and anybody who wants one.”
We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.
Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.
In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.
Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.