'Frozen' Songwriters Are Working on a New Kind of Fairy Tale -- Starring a Genderqueer Prince

The Prince and the Dressmaker book cover; the Lopez's accepting their Oscar
Jen Wang/Instagram; Oscars/YouTube

Chances are, you’ve heard the names Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Richard Lopez more than a few times by now. The talented couple shot to international fame back in 2013, after writing the hit-making songs to Disney’s Frozen soundtrack and nabbing an Academy Award for their efforts. (So yes, you have them to thank for the hours you’ve spent trying to get “Let It Go” out of your head.) Now, the couple is working on another new project that might just warm its way into your heart: the film adaptation of the graphic novel The Prince and the Dressmaker, which stars a genderqueer prince struggling to find his place in the world.

  • The award-winning graphic novel, published by Jen Wang in 2018, will be produced by Universal Pictures, which acquired the rights that same year.

     It’s a coming of age tale set in Paris at the dawn of the modern age, according to Playbill. At its center is Prince Sebastian, a 16-year-old whose parents are already trying to find a suitable bride for him.

    But the young prince is harboring a deep secret his parents know nothing of -- one he only dares to share with one loyal servant and a dressmaker named Frances.
  • Advertisement
  • At night, Prince Sebastian becomes Lady Crystallia, mingling with the townspeople in gorgeous gowns and other eye-catching fashions.

    Of course, he’s only able to do so thanks to Frances, who helps transform the prince into a fancy dress-wearing fashion icon, while keeping his secret safe and sound. After all, she has some hidden dreams of her own, Playbill noted, and as the novel progresses, both characters begin to find themselves in big ways and small.

    Together, they do their best to navigate "the shoals of family, friendship, social expectations, societal change, and being true to themselves,” LGBTQ Nation reported.
  • Interestingly, neither Sebastian’s sexuality nor gender identity are ever labeled in the book, but he reads as either genderqueer or gender fluid. 

    Perhaps part of that is meant to not box the character in, but it could also have something to do with the fact that Prince Sebastian himself is just figuring out who he is. In many ways, he hasn’t yet labeled himself -- and neither should anyone else.

    All he knows is that he doesn’t feel like other people (and certainly not like many other princes he knows). He’s uninterested in girls or being tied down by marriage, but he loves embracing the side of him he can explore when he becomes Lady Crystallia.

    “Some days I look at myself in the mirror and think, ‘That’s me, Prince Sebastian!’ I wear boy clothes and look like my father,'” he said at one point in the book. “Other days it doesn’t feel right at all.”
  • No release date has been set for the film, which is only in the development phase. But the very fact that it’s in the works is pretty noteworthy.

    The Prince and the Dressmaker will be the first animated kids’ musical to feature an LGBTQ protagonist -- something that nearly a decade ago we might have found hard to fathom. As viewers continue to push for more representation in film and television to see stories like theirs on the big screen, this is a logical next step. The fact that LGBTQ kids will finally have a hero to look up to (and maybe even make them feel "normal") is a pretty incredible thing.

    We’ve started to see nonwhite prince and princesses, which have been major leaps forward for people of color, but so far, straight, cisgender characters still continue to remain the norm. 

    We don’t know about you, but we can’t wait to see a dress-wearing prince on screen embracing who he is. (And we definitely can’t wait to hear this soundtrack, which you know is gonna be GOOD).