If you’ve read The Film Experience for any significant length of time, it won’t surprise you to hear that if there’s one type of actor that melts my heart every time, it’s a singing actor. While Hollywood doesn’t nurture the triple threats (singing, dancing, acting) as much as they did in the Golden Age when musicals were a regular occurrence rather than a once a year event, this past decade gives the musical lover reason enough to hope. Musicals are far less uncommon than they were in the dark times between All That Jazz (1979) and Moulin Rouge! (2001). There are two in theaters right this moment! Lately several musically gifted actors have been ascending.
Jonathan Groff, a treat on stage for some time, is one of the best among them. This season he’s moving up to leading man status. He’s currently serving male romantic hero duties (of a kind) as Kristoff in Disneys’ Frozen and in January he headline’s HBO’s new gay series “Looking”. I interviewed him for Towleroad but here are a couple of bits I didn’t use there for you movie musical and Frozen fans.
Nathaniel R: Can I just tell you that I thought Frozen was great fun but when it ended I realized I was still waiting for another song from you. Were you disappointed that you only got one?
Jonathan Groff: They were apologetic. ‘We tried to find another place but we feel like it didn’t work with the character and we wanted you to sing a’ -- I was like 'Guys, why are you apologizing to me. I'm singing in a Disney movie! I don't care what it is or how long it is, even if it's for 30 seconds.' The answer to that is no. I'm just thrilled to be singing at all and I'm thrilled to be in this movie at all. They were so dead on at having my character sing when he does and at no other moments. It wasn't true to who he was.
One of the great things about this movie is that as classic and recognizable as the elements are in a Disney movie, there's a lot of unexpected things, where they turn it on its head.
When you were watching it, was there any moment where you thought 'Damn, I wish I could have been Kristoff in a live action film.'
Jonathan: Oh my god, yeah. Just the sleigh ride with the wolves would have been so fun. I've always dreamt of being in an action movie. And there's such intense action sequences - falling, running, whipping that tree in the monster's face. All of that stuff would have been fun to do in real life. I was amazed at how much action there was in the movie. It was really intense.
Do you view Frozen as a stepping stone or have you ever thought “This is my breakthrough” of any of your roles?
Jonathan: No, I think each part... It sounds a little hippie but I feel like each role that comes to me or comes to anyone comes for a specific purpose, something to work through. Whether you realize it in the moment ‘I'm learning this about myself’ or ‘this is happening in my life’ or you look back in five years and think ‘That's why that was in my life’.
Any more Broadway in your future?
The theater is where my heart is so I'm dying to get back on stage. At the end of the day it's just a matter of what project. The people you're working with and the thing you're working on are the two things that matter most.