updated 03/15/2014 AT 6:00 PM ET
•originally published 03/19/2014 AT 6:45 AM ET
Frozen has captured the hearts – and ears! – of the world, but it was almost a very different movie.
“When we first joined the project there was a script that was a live-action sort of Romancing the Stone kind of adventure,” songwriter Kristen Anderson-Lopez tells PEOPLE about working on what would go on to become the Oscar-winning animated Disney film and the highest-grossing animated film of all time. It is now available on Blu-Ray/DVD.
Loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale The Snow Queen, Frozen had a long road to the big screen that included many rewrites and changes.
“We tried writing a couple of songs for that [original script] but it was sort of like tuna and chocolate. It just wasn’t a script that was singing,” says Anderson-Lopez. “But Disney wanted a musical, so we set a daily meeting from noon to 2 p.m. with the story team that lasted for two years.”
Among the changes discussed were the true intentions of Idina Menzel’s character, Elsa. This was a debate that was still going strong even as Anderson-Lopez and her husband, Robert Lopez, were tasked with writing what would become the film’s breakout, Oscar-winning song “Let It Go.”
“We were still like, ‘Is she a villain? Is she not a villain?’ All we knew was that Elsa’s powers were going to come out and she was going to be chased up a mountain and transform into the Snow Queen,” says Anderson-Lopez.