Jesus Will Speak in 100 Tongues, Thanks to the Man Who Helped Elsa Belt ‘Let It Go’ in 41

Rick Dempsey explains how his decades of Disney localization expertise is being applied to The Chosen.

In 2014, Disney released a video of Elsa singing her hit “Let It Go” in 25 languages. If you didn’t know any better, you might have assumed that Idina Menzel, who sang perhaps the most popular Disney ballad in history, had performed each version.

Significant credit for this House of Mouse magic belongs to Rick Dempsey, who then served as senior vice president of creative for Disney Character Voices International. Dempsey’s team held auditions all over the world, ultimately finding 41 singers who brought the music of Frozen alive in their languages.

The goal was “to ensure there is character consistency” and that “the voices are all very similar around the world,” Dempsey said in 2014. “The good news is that we were able to find talent that were able to pull it off.”

This impressive consistency, or “character integrity,” is a concept and practice that The Walt Disney Company embraced and expanded nearly to the point of perfection, thanks to Dempsey’s work. Today, he brings this expertise to The Chosen, the most-translated TV show in history.

CT recently spoke with Dempsey about his transition from Disney, the arduous process of translation and localization, and how God is using The Chosen to bring an authentic portrayal of Jesus to the world, even to unreached people groups and places where sharing the gospel can cost your life.

This interview was edited for clarity and length.

Tell us about your 35-year-long career at Disney.

I started with Disney in 1988 and led character voices for the whole company. My job was to protect character integrity, which means that when the movie characters are adapted to connect with local audiences, they remain consistent …

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