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TIME Music

Idina Menzel Doesn’t Understand Why Her Christmas Album Is Out in October

Idina Menzel
Idina Menzel Robin Wong

The Broadway star talks "Let It Go," Love Actually and her new Christmas album, which she says is out way too early

Winter must really be Idina Menzel’s season. Last year she taught the world how to “Let It Go” as the voice of Elsa in Disney’s Frozen, and on Oct. 14, she’s releasing Holiday Wishes, a Christmas album covering classics from “All I Want For Christmas Is You” to “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” The Broadway veteran, who’s currently starring in the musical If/Then, tells TIME about her holiday plans.

TIME: Have you always wanted to make a Christmas album?
Idina Menzel: My parents split up on Thanksgiving, so holidays can be hard for me. I’ve always felt that Christmas albums were a sensitive thing. To sing happy music in peoples’ faces is sometimes not always the way to go. I wanted to make sure I did something that covered everyone’s experience during the holidays.

The album is mostly Christmas songs, though you’re Jewish.
Most of them were songs that I’ve always wanted to sing. “Do You Hear What I Hear?” is a song Whitney Houston sang back in the ‘80s. Her version is incredible. I’ve always loved that song. If Barbra Streisand can make a Christmas album, I can.

What are your holiday traditions?
I celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas. I do like to decorate a tree. I do collect ornaments. I’m excited that my son probably won’t take them and throw them on the ground and break them. Now he’s 5, so he might understand the importance of a good ornament. That’s something I’m looking forward to doing with him, and buying a couple new ones that represent the year. Just decorating a tree with him. And putting on music — not my own. God, I couldn’t listen to myself, that’d make me crazy.

Some of these songs, like “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” have pretty iconic versions. Were you nervous about finding your own spin on them?
I was, actually, because I grew up listening to Mariah’s version. But the thing is, Walter Afanaseiff is my producer — he wrote that song with her. It was fun for me to say, “Let’s do your song.” There was an arrangement he always had in his head that he didn’t do that he thought would be really cool.

That song is also featured in Love Actually, which is a polarizing holiday movie.
Not to me! I love it.

So for the record, you’re Team Love Actually?
Definitely Team Love Actually.

That’s a bold choice. How do you defend it to people who don’t like it?
I don’t know why they don’t like it! All these movies are so honest, and they’re a little bit more idiosyncratic. They’re not perfect, I don’t think. I just love the actors. That hits the nail on the head for me.

Do you have thoughts about when it’s okay to start playing Christmas music ?
I have very strong feelings. The album comes out October 14. I think that’s ridiculous! I don’t understand. I’ve been asking the label to tell me why. Apparently that’s when people start buying stuff for Christmas. Okay, that’s cool, but I’m barely into Halloween with my son! I completely understand if people aren’t ready for it until Thanksgiving. That’s when Christmas comes alive for me. My record label will hate me for saying that, but it’s the truth!

What will you be for Halloween?
I’m one of those curmudgeons that’s never into Halloween. Maybe because I’m in a show right now, currently eight shows a week — the last thing I feel like doing is that. But because I have a child, it’s fun. He’s going to be Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon. I’ve got his costume all made from scratch. I feel like I can get into it with him. I don’t need to put on a costume.

That’s fair.
I sound like the Grinch of Halloween!

You could always go as your Wicked character Elphaba — no one would guess it was you.
No one would think I’d be so stupid as to put that makeup back on my face, right? That’s funny.

Can you believe we’re coming up on one year since Frozen?
It’s just a remarkable thing. Usually you do a project and it has its moment. This just feels like it keeps going. Every day there’s some parent or friend with a video of their daughter singing. We just worked on a short for Frozen. I’m always asked to perform the song.

There are so many covers, remixes and parodies of “Let It Go.” Which one is the most memorable?
There are so many I wouldn’t even pick a favorite.

Not even the awesome dance remix?
The club version! Don’t you love it? I love that. When it first became successful I was like, “This has to have a club version — and a gay club version.” It’s the anthems of all anthems.

A version of this story appears in the Oct. 27 issue of TIME, on stands Friday.

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TIME Television

Ben Affleck Cannot Sing ‘Let It Go’ From Frozen

To his son's disappointment

Apparently being Batman isn’t enough to appease Ben Affleck’s son, who would much prefer his dad to perform the song “Let It Go” from the Disney movie Frozen.

Unfortunately, the actor is no Idina Menzel — as he demonstrated when he tried to sing a line from the famous song.

Affleck is soon to be seen in Gone Girl, and will be playing Batman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which is set to be released in 2016.

TIME celebrity

Watch Ellen DeGeneres and Kristen Wiig Completely Butcher ‘Let It Go’ in the Best Way Possible

So bad, yet so, so good

There’s this song you might have heard of, from a movie you might have heard of. It’s called “Let It Go” and it’s from the movie Frozen. Sound familiar? Well, it seems there are exactly two people left on Earth who may not be familiar with this tune: Kristen Wiig and Ellen DeGeneres.

On The Ellen Show this week, the comedians both claimed that they weren’t acquainted with the song and then decided to tackle it in a blissfully ignorant performance which mostly consisted of them fumbling through the lyrics, waving their arms and gesticulating in unison. The best part is when Wiig briefly breaks character to assert, “Kids don’t what fractals are.”

It seems pretty much impossible that they really had never heard (or sung) the song before, but we’re willing to overlook it. For the sake of comedy.

TIME Television

Lea Michele Will ‘Let It Go’ on Glee’s Final Season

The cold never bothered Glee anyway.

Lea Michele will sing “Let It Go,” the hit song from Disney’s Frozen, during the final season of the Fox program, Entertainment Weekly confirms after the actress hinted at the performance on Twitter Friday night.

It’s a fitting choice considering Idina Menzel, the song’s original singer, played the mother of Michele’s character on the show.

The performance will also be the second time in the next few months that a piece of the hit animated movie will come to television. Once Upon a Time, which airs on the Disney-owned ABC, will feature a Frozen storyline starring Georgina Haig as Elsa in its upcoming fourth season — though producers warn not to expect any musical numbers.


TIME movies

New Frozen Short Film Coming Spring 2015

Frozen Disney
Elsa in Frozen, 2013. Disney

Anna, Elsa, Kristoff and Olaf will all return

Frozen fans, today is your lucky day: Walt Disney Animation studios announced Tuesday that an animated follow-up to the hit movie called Frozen Fever will be released next spring, and will likely include all your favorite characters.

Frozen Fever will reunite the filmmakers Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck with Oscar-winning composers Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, who will pen a new song for the short film, according to Disney’s Insider blog.

Anna, Elsa, Kristoff and Olaf will return, but it’s not yet confirmed whether or not Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff and Josh Gad will reprise their roles.

The short film is about Elsa and Kristoff teaming up to do something special for Anna’s birthday, but obviously Elsa’s icy powers get in the way.

TIME Television

Once Upon a Time Teases the Arrival of Frozen’s Elsa in New Trailer

The animated Disney movie continues as live-action television

Winter is coming to Storybrooke.

TIME gave you the first look at Frozen’s Elsa in Once Upon a Time, and now the Hollywood Reporter has a teaser for the ABC show’s fourth season that features the newest Disney princess.

Of course, you can’t actually see the face of the live-action Elsa, played by Georgina Haig of Fringe frame, but the clip suggests her arrival will be a shake-up for many characters on the fairy-tale drama.

Elsa isn’t the only member of the Frozen gang coming to television: Elizabeth Lail will play Anna, Scott Michael Foster will play Kristoff, Tyler Jacob Moore will play Prince Hans and John Rhys-Davies will play the Troll King this season, which will be set after the events of the hit animated movie.


TIME viral

Here’s the Frozen and Fifty Shades of Grey Mashup Nobody Asked For

It's just as creepy as it sounds

This is the Internet, so of course somebody took the time to pair footage from Frozen with audio from the viral Fifty Shades of Grey trailer.

Anna and Prince Hans from Frozen becomes Anastasia and Christian from 50 Shades and somehow this spoof kind of starts to feel real, which is just a bit disturbing. Basically, all innocence is lost. You will never be able to watch Frozen the same way again.

Below is the Fifty Shades of Grey trailer in case you have not seen it yet:


MORE: What a Man Who Knows Nothing About Fifty Shades of Grey Thought About The Movie Trailer


TIME film

Frozen Director to Adapt A Wrinkle in Time

86th Annual Academy Awards Oscar Week Celebrates Animated Features
Jennifer Lee arrives for the 86th Annual Academy Awards Oscar Week Celebration of Animated Features Gabriel Olsen—Getty Images

Jennifer Lee will write a screenplay based on the classic children's book for Disney

Frozen’s co-writer and director Jennifer Lee has signed on to adapt the children’s book classic A Wrinkle in Time to film for Disney, Variety reports.

The 1962 Madeline L’Engle fantasy, about two siblings and a friend traveling throughout time and space to find their missing astrophysicist father, was reportedly one of Lee’s favorite books growing up. There are four books in the series.

Bridge to Terabithia writer Jeff Stockwell had previously been attached to the film in 2010. No director has yet been confirmed.


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