Josh Gad previously shared a throwback video of daughter Ava, now 9, crying about having to grow up

By Jen Juneau
February 09, 2020 08:09 PM
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Ida Darvish and Josh Gad
Credit: Steve Granitz/WireImage

Josh Gad is opening up more about the touching moment his older daughter cried over having to grow up, and how it inspired his character Olaf’s journey in Frozen 2.

In a conversation with E! on the red carpet at the 2020 Oscars on Sunday, Gad said his now-9-year-old daughter Ava Tanya “had a bit of a coming-of-age incident when she was about 5 years old and we happened to catch it on tape.”

“She started bawling when she was having dinner with us one day and she realized, in that moment, that she was gonna grow up one day,” added the actor and singer, 38.

“She said, ‘What if I don’t want to grow up?’ and she started crying and it was so heartbreaking, and that sort of inspired the seed that became Olaf’s trajectory in the sequel,” shared Gad, whose film’s hit tune “Into the Unknown” is up for the Original Song award.

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Gad shared the clip to his Instagram feed last month, which showed little Ava sobbing when she fully realized she wouldn’t be a child forever. Her nanny Sara could be heard soothing her from behind the camera, saying, “You’re gonna be a kid for so long! You got lots and lots of time to be a kid. … You’re only 5!”

The Avenue 5 actor gave a little background on the video in his caption, writing, “Four years ago, during dinner one night our beautiful little girl had a huge epiphany that shook her to her core … we all have to grow up. This heartbreaking moment is something I never shared publicly before because it was so personal.”

The father of two went on to recall that he shared the clip with “our brilliant Frozen 2 team at the time and said, I believe this should be Olaf’s journey in Frozen 2.”

And Gad’s request was granted. In the movie, the snowman he helped make famous with his exuberant voice portrayal grapples with unavoidable change and the idea of growing up. His hilarious solo song, “When I Am Older,” even addresses this topic.

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Josh Gad and family
| Credit: Josh Gad/Instagram

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Gad also opened up to E! on Sunday about working with the Walt Disney Company (he also played LeFou in 2017’s live-action Beauty and the Beast), and how being “the father of two daughters that are able to grow up with [Frozen heroines] Anna and Elsa as a source of influence to them is so incredible to watch firsthand.”

“To play a character like Olaf who seemingly has stuck [with] everyone from 2 to 92 is a dream come true,” he said. “I remember going to the theater and watching movies like Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast and Little Mermaid and saying, ‘Ah! How cool would it be to do that one day?’ ”

The 92nd Annual Academy Awards are airing live on ABC from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on Feb. 9.