'Frozen' star Josh Gad on Olaf's return and his role in the film 'Marshall'

Gad appears on "Popcorn With Peter Travers" to talk about why he wanted to play the role of a Jewish lawyer in the film "Marshall."
18:54 | 11/29/17

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Transcript for 'Frozen' star Josh Gad on Olaf's return and his role in the film 'Marshall'
Mr. Ellis you agree do you not. That as a colored man you could not fairly pass judgment on mr. spell. No certain. Do you agree you couldn't care bill when it leaves yes if he's guilty and depict him. His challenge. And you're object. Grounds. Case does this I heard that mr. Marshall. It's a peremptory challenge mr. Friedman's home the statement user for whatever reason that once this. To a ship four left to defense as ones. Going to the moon and resume that's discriminating we're going to ensure smooth. Hi everybody I am Peter Travers in this popcorn where we tell you what's happening at the movies and there's and we now called mark you may think it's a lot but it really stands for Thurgood. And Chad were both been placed him but my guess today Josh wearing a lawyer named Sam Friedman who was instrumental. Indicates that Thurgood Marshall actually. Took charge I think it was 19:41 but why am I talking you're here I'm here expert Josh gat you to answer all of your questions Peter all. I'm Mike persuasion I thought is this edible it's edible that was freshly not eaten breakfast and dinner at the perfect breakfast it's nobody this this Acer of the sands butter different. It's a great. So Josh yeah. Who who recently. Your all for Disney. You currently flew for Disney in Beauty and the Beast. And now you're playing this lawyer involved in re. Right that come about. I was out to lunch one day and mentally ready as a basic right I was sitting talking to myself out front of a hat. Now I I was I was walking out of of a restaurant. And Paula Wagner and great producer. Who have known for some time stops me in she says without great to see you. What are you doing right now nine was just coming off of Beauty and the Beast I think. And I said I'm actually looking for my next thing and and you know I'm I'm trying to switch things up by I feel like. You know I've had a great time doing comedies and and fairy tale of these but I want to sort of change things up balloons she does I may actually have a great script for you. And you hear that a lot saying you're always holding your breath but I got the script. And halfway through I called my eighteen minutes and I must do this film. It's so important. Each so timely. It's so essential. And this was a year plus ago so so we didn't have the current president well eight it was a different time he was shot this movie in a different time but. Even then. It felt like this was a very important film that I needed to be a part of because at its very core two movie about alliances. The alliance between an African American man who would go on to become one of the great Supreme Court justices of all time in Thurgood Marshall. And young Jewish attorney. Who at that time is practicing. Small claims court law. And is thrust into public spotlight. Very much with. The risk the threat. Of hatred and bigotry hanging over his head. As it does from Marshall and these two men. Defy. All of this adversity to help another man in need because the alternative is he's gonna freeze to death penalty. And that to mean. Was. Like I say very timely very important very essential. Well. You know what. We're seeing in this movie you know based on stream this is the young third or martyrdom need not now the the first African veteran Supreme Court justice he started working for the innings he. The only lawyer for the Emmys. It was time yet in its things that you learn about that because we all know who Thurgood Marshall is but we think he was sort of born and then went. To the Supreme Court at short that sense as with it. It familiar you're right. Or that. Think what what I find so fascinating about the movie and and when I read it it immediately became clear to me that this is the superhero origin story in many ways meaning instead of wearing a cape. He wears a suit and tie instead of knocking somebody out with a single punch he knocks them out one at a time with a single brief. Back to means these so important right now because. We need those people were willing to roll up their sleeves and fight. Those causes as hard as it is. And even if you ask legal scholars I knew about Thurgood Marshall in the capacity that he was a Supreme Court justice. Or his work with brown vs board of educate yet. But I don't think anybody knows about this case in particular and that's what makes it. So exciting as of June because they're the element of surprise he's such that the audience is hopefully. Always on the edge of their seat. And for me to understand. How this man becomes great is as important as understanding the great man himself. This subject. That happening here that didn't happen is a chauffeur played by sterling keeper window is accused of rape in the white woman he works for Kate Hudson. And there are times in the beginning where even Thurgood Marshall as saying I'm the NE ACP wants me to defend innocent people. So this black man basically has to defend his own in this to everybody. And so that conflict and how people make stereotypical judgments is all over this man. It is this topic howdy isn't it amazing given what the world is we live. A yes and and and speaking to that album. We made this movie. When there was an African Americans still in office we made this movie. And that topic of discourse at the time. Onset was wearing shoes like Ferguson. To release its movie and in a post. 2016 election world. To release this movie. Relatively. Close. After the events of Charlottesville. To release this movie as does the sports world. He's sort of dealing with their own version of of these issues regarding race. He ate it really does give it a it gives it another context that I don't think any of us could've anticipated and and that that is happened central but he he it's important nevertheless them. And screening the movie now on a number of reasons for people. It's incredible not only see their responses because he he really is. It's an entertaining for which a crowd pleaser but at the same time. People leave the room and can't help. But discusses. As it relates to the context of what we're living through right now and that to me is is something that makes what we do. So important and and so wonderful. What does I'm sure has trump invited you to screen film and at Camp David. He has a return any of all you back because. You know what I would look for him to see this movie I think I think it would be. I think it would be I would love for everybody to see this film. Whether. It's in DC or whether it's in Connecticut or whether it's in Alabama I think everybody can learn something. We are having this conversation. Every day. And and I think that this movie can absolutely. Help with guiding where the conversation business. Well maybe not some of your younger all offense from. Yet they wandered frozen shore coming out preview so short but it's like what twenty minutes while going two minutes. Yeah how the air remember John Lassiter saying a so we've guy because originally was supposed to be for television. And he said you know work so blown away by it. We think we want to attach it to Coco and I was like but isn't it when he Twomey isn't it is again it's unprecedented by. We really feel like he's dramatically connects with that movie so they're they're making that play and I couldn't be prouder you like a family audiences and I can't be bothered with it. Broke off shore it. Only now come on now it but it still is what has frozen the most successful. The end of all these animated movies it's just again it's crazy. You have every kid I know has ma'am I don't it's Ricky you must now look I'm a father of two little girls. I live we unit Beasley came in you are possible note they also heard of these sort of at this point where's that Justin Trammell crow character was their father. Hi and yesterday's news there then it's just so wrong that a bargain. Not all and now you're now and again that didn't mean anything though it's they they don't care anymore they're over did you have any idea when you signed on to do all off that it would become that. No. Quite the opposite I was actually doing film for DreamWorks at the time. Called me in my shadow. And at first I wasn't going to be able to do frozen because. The great Jeffrey Katzenberg. Rightfully so saw that the movies we're gonna come out at the same time. And he said. You can't have you promoting this will your government so. And they say please please please understand them this was right after book of Mormon and understand. That. This movie this music is being written by my very close from Bobby Lopez. I I really need to do this is a favor what can we do to make this work and said okay I'll tell you. If you don't promote the movie and they don't use your name and marketing you do it knowing full well that Disney would never read that last hitter. God bless John Lasseter. Calls that bluff. Brings to this dealers and says great we will we do use them for marketing we won't use him for press. And it'll be. A part of how we market the film guess who played a lot. That kind of thing and they went for it. Me in my shadow disappeared. They wound up scrapping the film. Frozen becomes what it is and ate just changed my life I mean it was like one of those things that I never could have anticipated but it was very much accidental. When you working its. Interesting question about animated movie has people when they're doing a voice because it's more than a voice your voice that's almost take on physical form yet as to what it is that your plane. When you're decide when you know that you're gonna play all how can you can tribute to who that character what they presented. When he was. A rough sketch of what the character look like. And have rough idea. And some key adjectives. That allowed me to tap into that the and immediately this word of innocence childlike wonderment. Was presented to me. And I Wii's. Sort of able to tap into this naivete. That I love play that that's a very part of sort of what I do. In in a lot of my comedy. And so from the very first recording that I think the very first line that I ever had to do was their introduction. Animal law. And I like Morton talks and it just it was a shortened. Warm. That felt right and felt like there's no judgment there's no cynicism. And ads in a character with no cynicism. Argues it's heard these days you know I mean think about what we do think about that they nature of what we deem it carries. Critically successful now or commercially successful now. These are dark movies they're there movies that sort of don't have a lightness to them. Or sometimes even a sense of hope they're the exceptions but even movies like La La land which I loved and adored a happy ending it's a bittersweet ending. And so I wanted something that was just purity. That there is that there's no denying. The pure innocence. And I think that's why it was so refreshing to audiences because they don't see much of it anymore. Go back just a little TU growing up in Hollywood for her and you saying to your parents. This is what I want to do or did that ever happened elicited that moment it happened it happened then and not only did it happen. My my mom my mom was a single mother. My parents got divorced when I was six. My mom. Used to my passion for the arts. As a disciplinary. Action meaning a started I was flunking in seventh grade I was I was doing horribly. IE. Was never great academic student. And she threatened. To take me out of the children's theater the Hollywood players for the performing arts and as a member of an important in the cash I known put me in this. Awful nearby school that. Everybody who went to was like you have to go through metal detectors and it's terrible. And it completely turned me around I immediately went firm all regular classes to eight. And she was incredible. Cut to you I'm 23. Years old I'm or 24 arm out of college. And I'm struggling. Three years at a squad not really getting jobs. And I decide eminent go to law school. And I'm thinking my Jewish mothers and so proud of me both my Brothers went to law school here ago. And I called her to tell who the good news and she served crime. And swearing criminals schism disappointed in you as a worry disappointed. Engines or because you've spent. Fifteen plus years dreaming of becoming an actor and only three years allowing yourself to live out their dream and I think that that's cowardly. And and immediately. Hung up the phone and thought about what she said. And about a week later. I allowed myself to go in for this audition for show called the 25 annual Putnam county spelling. And a book job and it changed my life and without that sort of reassurance and a lot of times you hear this story of my parents told me not to pursue an acting. I I really wouldn't be where I am today without her without back. He came right back to act yet she didn't even when you were in Beauty and the Beast you had to defend the fact that your character with flu was day. For about forty seconds but he he seems to be for that type. And you become the spokes person for what was. The reasoning you gave when some people in this country were upset that a Disney film gravity gay character. You know. I thought that the moment spoke hurts. And the moment was inclined to be anymore than it wasn't and my philosophy. Can allow yourself to just go into this movie without and preconceived notions and allow yourself just. Watched the movie that we made. Without sort of the political discourse around in. I think that you'll be able to see that it's a lot of hoopla over and that's what happened and the most heartening. Experience during that whole process was. As the movie started screening. People all over the country stood up for those not 22. Successive except. For those six seconds and a part. And I thought that that kind of solidarity. And that sort of are we really gonna judge this 62 moment. Of two men dancing with each other. And that manner. It will news. It was a tough period because you're defending something that inked when he sixteen. Or 2017 you you hope wouldn't have to be defended but it does. And then to see the best of humanity come out and say. This is crazy it was really agree field. Well art he didn't win that. What have worked Ian has a pulse and the polls is timeless you know that it just as that to do what your mom with great to reconvene. Get back in its creed is I love him there it is he needed to say. Peter Travers. He's just told Italian island view and I didn't listen to Peter Travers when he says your mama loves you do it yet that's important it's important and we did. When we end up and the first time the Nazi don't know it always ends. Of course what did have a feeling I'm being lied to but I don't know people. On it would. Why does India. What what would you like this is your call. It really isn't because it would eighth it's what he's thinking in the nor. Right now right now. It's it's it's strange what seeing him right now it's it's really weird but it's a song from the Karate Kid rich. Yet and it's you. May have watched that movie lately. And every that I. Earth song that was yeah jobs and great way to Atlantic riddle our people. But in an. Issue. The route pop or rock. Pop. But a could be for your mom and events direct US. Now. He. Got to good that she's really happy about that thank you still says it is another thing it. It but it.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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