From Cult Antihero To Critical Darling, Kristen Bell Is On Fire
Then there’s Anna. Bell’s own daughters, to her amusement, may be “pretty lukewarm” on Frozen, but she takes special pride in her most earnest characterization, the one that might be closest to her own truth. On paper, the first version of Anna was “kind of snooty and very girly,” she says, “and I sort of begged to play a girl I needed to see when I was 9 years old, who didn’t sit like this” — she perches primly in her makeup chair — “who sat like this” — she splays out her legs and slumps — “who tripped, who talked too fast. A girl that led with her heart above anything else and would never question it.” In fact, she’s helped shape this character more than any other. “[Frozen co-director] Jennifer Lee, she’ll write the scene and then sit down with me and we’ll go over it, and she will say, ‘What do you think about this? Maybe don’t look at the page, just say what you want to say.’ It’s not that Jen couldn’t do it, it’s just that something happens when Jen and I put our heads together, which means I’m a necessary part of Anna’s creation.”
Indefinability, it occurs to me, is both a kind of bravery and a form of agility — if no one can truly pin you down, can’t you always be creating your own life, exactly the way you want to? It’s also something the actress ultimately has in common with Eleanor Shellstrop, protagonist of The Good Place, Bell’s NBC comedy about moral philosophy that manages to be all at once wise, hilarious, educational, and a little bit like an acid trip.