Kelly Macdonald has confessed she's feeling the pressure of being Pixar's first ever leading lady. The No Country For Old Men star leads a Scottish cast in Brave, which is due for release next summer.
But she revealed it took a while to realise the character she voices, Princess Merida, is the studio's first female protagonist.
"I kind of didn't realise until quite recently that I was the first female - like way after I'd started my voice recordings and everything," she laughed. "I'm delighted but it's kind of scary."
Fellow Scot Kevin McKidd, who voices the role of Lord MacGuffin in the animation, said he was happy to be flying the flag for all things Scottish.
He said: "I'm proud of being Scottish and to be involved in a film that's going to shout from the rooftops that Scotland is an awesome place and has brilliant stories and cool characters... it does mean a lot actually.
"To be in a Pixar film anyway, is amazing."
Boardwalk Empire star Kelly, who appeared at Disney's D23 Expo to give fans a sneak peak of the movie, chimed in: "To be in a Pixar film and to get to play in your own accent and with all these fellow Scots as well."
Robbie Coltrane, Billy Connolly and comedian Craig Ferguson also star in the movie, which tells the story of a princess who defies her parents to follow her interest in archery.
"I'm doing two voices in that movie now, actually. My kids are unbelievably excited that I'm in a Pixar movie. I was at the D23 convention last week in Anaheim, and it was great to see the audience's reaction. They all seemed to love it. I play Lord MacGuffin and Young MacGuffin. Young MacGuffin is one of the suitors to Merida, Kelly Macdonald's character, who asks for her hand in marriage. He's a strapping young chap but he can't be understood by anyone because his Scottish brogue is too thick. His father kind of translates for him on his behalf. They just landed on the idea that I should do both voices. I've been a Pixar fan from the start, so to get to work with them, I'm kind of pinching myself. I think they do the best work around."
The actor also revealed his work on Brave is almost finished, which brings a two-year production experience to a close.
"Yeah, I think I have one or two more sessions to go before picture locks. I think picture locks in the spring. So yeah, we're almost there, but I've been involved with this project for two years now."
PB: You have another imagination-heavy project coming up - Pixar's highly-anticipated "Brave." Talk about your experience making that.
McKidd: Amazing! My experience doing that is still ongoing. I mean, I've been working on it with them for three years and I've still got some more sessions to do. I'm still pinching myself that I'm working with Pixar. I've been a Pixar fan since they opened their doors for business, as most of us are. So for them to come and tap me on the shoulder and say, 'We want you,' felt like a huge endorsement for me as an actor, I have to say. It's not like winning an Oscar, but it does feel like if Pixar wants to use you then you're legitimately considered a good actor, so that felt like a huge compliment to me. Getting to work with them, they're amazingly collaborative and incredibly warm as a team, as a company. I just saw them this weekend. I was in Anaheim at the D23 Convention. We had a ball. I'm playing two roles in the movie. I'm playing Young MacGuffin, who's a friend to [the lead character] Merida, and also his father, Lord MacGuffin. Young MacGuffin has a problem: he has such a thick Scottish accent that nobody can understand him apart from his father, and so his father has to translate. So I get to play two roles in the movie and there's no downside in my opinion. It’s been a blast, and I think it's going to be a beautiful movie, a great sort of adventure movie with a female lead for the first time ever for Pixar.
“Bunraku” debuts on video on demand Sept. 1 and in theaters Sept. 30. "Brave" is scheduled for release June 22, 2012
Kevin McKidd discusses playing Lord MacGuffin in Pixar's Brave I recently had the chance to speak with actor Kevin McKidd about his upcoming action project Bunraku, which arrives on VOD formats on September 1, in advance of its theatrical release on September 30. We also discussed his double-role in the upcoming Pixar animated tale Brave, where he voices Lord MacGuffin and Young MacGuffin. Here's what he had to say about his characters, and the experience of working with Pixar.
'I'm doing two voices in that movie now, actually. My kids are unbelievably excited that I'm in a Pixar movie. I was at the D23 convention last week in Anaheim, and it was great to see the audience's reaction. They all seemed to love it. I play Lord MacGuffin and Young MacGuffin. Young MacGuffin is one of the suitors to Merida, Kelly Macdonald's character, who asks for her hand in marriage. He's a strapping young chap but he can't be understood by anyone because his Scottish brogue is too thick. His father kind of translates for him on his behalf. They just landed on the idea that I should do both voices. I've been a Pixar fan from the start, so to get to work with them, I'm kind of pinching myself. I think they do the best work around.'
The actor also revealed his work on Brave is almost finished, which brings a two-year production experience to a close.
'Yeah, I think I have one or two more sessions to go before picture locks. I think picture locks in the spring. So yeah, we're almost there, but I've been involved with this project for two years now.'
Brave comes to theaters June 22nd, 2012 and stars Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, Kevin McKidd, Craig Ferguson, Robbie Coltrane. The film is directed by Brenda Chapman, Mark Andrews.
And it looks like Edinburgh could be about to cash in on the latest Hollywood blockbuster, with early talk of a star-studded premiere in the Capital and a massive tourism drive in support.
The Evening News can reveal high-level talks have already taken place at Edinburgh Castle between executives from Disney/Pixar and representatives of a range of organisations, including VisitScotland, to see how new film Brave can boost the coffers of the Capital and the country.
The 3D animated film, a fairytale set in the Highlands, features voice performances from a host of Scottish stars, including Billy Connolly, Robbie Coltrane and Kevin McKidd.
It is hoped that the film will give a major boost to the Scottish economy, even greater than that generated by Braveheart.
The possibility of a premiere in the Capital next year is thought to have been discussed already, although those close to the project have remained tight-lipped about the prospect.
It is clear, however, that VisitScotland is planning a major drive on the back of the expected blockbuster.
Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland, who took part in the talks, said: "The meeting between VisitScotland and The Walt Disney Company at Edinburgh Castle was to discuss potential opportunities around the upcoming release of Brave.
"This meeting is among a series of early discussions that we have had around how Scotland can best maximise the huge potential that this film has."
City events champion Councillor Steve Cardownie said he thought the Capital could reap great rewards from the renewed interest in Scotland prompted by movie-goers whenever different parts of the country featured in major films.
He said: "This will be fantastic for the city. We've featured in several movies in the past and so has Glasgow, it's a great boost for the economy and it helps maintain Edinburgh's pole position in the international cultural map.
"Even if it's based in the Highlands, it will benefit us.
"People will want to come in to the Capital, anything that promotes Scotland promotes Edinburgh, and anything that promotes Edinburgh promotes Scotland. They go hand in glove.
"We're the gateway to Scotland, so it's fantastic. We're hopefully going to be able to be at the forefront of this and to benefit."
Brave tells the story of flame-haired Merida - played by Kelly Macdonald - the young daughter of King Fergus (Connolly) and Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson). A skilled archer, Merida defies ancient customs and the lords of the land, inadvertently unleashing chaos - but is aided by an eccentric old witch, played by Julie Walters.
It is the first fairytale film by Pixar, known for hits such as the Toy Story series, Up, Wall-E, Finding Nemo and Monsters, Inc.
It is also the first of the its productions to feature a female lead character.
Next Brave trailer likely attached to 'Muppets' Disney's The Muppets is one of the year-end films I'm most looking forward to seeing. The trailers have been hilarious and there's some great buzz around the picture.
Pixar's latest Toy Story Toon, Small Fry, will also precede showings of the movie.
Now there's one more reason to head to the theatre when it opens November 23: the first full-length trailer for Brave is almost sure to be attached.
No official announcement yet, but Disney's release schedule makes it clear. When asked, a Disney rep tells me "it's very likely", adding a telling smiley to his email.
The new trailer should arrive online sometime around then.
The newest princess from The Walt Disney Co. is more interested in shooting arrows and hunting bears than attending balls and finding Prince Charming. Merida, the spunky, curly-haired Scottish heroine from the upcoming Pixar Animation Studios adventure "Brave," is breaking new ground as the archery-loving protagonist of the Oscar-winning studio's first fairy tale.
"She's your anti-princess," said "Brave" co-director Mark Andrews. "She isn't your typical princess. She doesn't wear nice clothes except in a couple of scenes when her strict mom, Queen Elinor, makes her do it for special functions. She's an active and action-oriented person. She wants to get out in the outdoors of the Highlands, escaping from castle life and exploring the woods."
"Brave," scheduled for release June 22, is set in medieval Scotland and features the voices of "Boardwalk Empire" actress Kelly Macdonald as Princess Merida, Emma Thompson as Queen Elinor, Billy Connolly as her one-legged father, King Fergus, as well as Craig Ferguson, Kevin McKidd and Robbie Coltrane as the kingdom's noblemen.
Despite being the first Pixar film to focus on a female heroine, Andrews said "Brave" will be less about girl power and more about the oppositional relationship between mother Elinor and daughter Merida, likening the defiant red-haired princess to a scrutinized teenager who is forced to attend the same high school where her mother serves as the principal.
In the film's full-length trailer, Merida's father tells of the 12-foot-tall beast with razor-sharp claws and a "hide littered with the weapons of fallen warriors," that chomped off his leg while the rebellious Merida transverses a lush forest, ascends a mountain and lands a bull's eye at a tournament.
Other imagery teased in the new trailer includes Merida encountering mystical blue-hued wisps and the gnarly bear that took her father's leg. Andrews said despite the 3-D film's darker tone and visual style compared with past Pixar movies like "Toy Story" and "Cars," "Brave" won't be "missing any of the comedy or entertainment you usually associate with Pixar."
RIGHT now someone, somewhere, is busy editing a homemade, YouTube-friendly clip that amusingly blends footage of Brave, Pixar’s new Scottish-set adventure, with footage from Braveheart.
In fact it might already be on YouTube by the time you read this.
This was surely inevitable the moment the full Brave trailer hit the internet on Thursday. Both films feature breathtaking Highland scenery, warriors in blue body paint, stirring Celtic music, and cartoon characters. The Brave trailer even has someone saying “I want my freedom!” in a whiny child’s voice. If this isn’t a cheeky reference to Braveheart in the context of the film, the studio knew exactly what they were doing when they put it in the trailer. So bring on the spoofing. Pixar are more or less inciting it.
Will Brave divide Scottish audiences the way Braveheart did? I suspect not. Sure, it’s another American-funded film that seems to be peddling a mythical, tartanised version of Scotland. But there’s no Hollywood rewriting of history here; in Brave, Scotland is just a picturesque fairytale setting for an entirely fictional children’s story about a red-headed girl warrior learning the meaning of bravery. (And the tale is entirely new – a refreshing exception in adaptation/sequel-obsessed Hollywood.)
Neither will dodgy accents be an issue. Reese Witherspoon having dropped out, the plucky redhead is played by Kelly Macdonald using her own accent. Also using their own accents are Robbie Coltrane, Billy Connolly, Craig Ferguson and Kevin McKidd, avoiding the distracting linguistic inconsistency of the recent How To Train Your Dragon, in which Ferguson played a Scottish Viking father to an American high school kid.
And, most importantly, it’s Pixar, the animation studio whose track record (apart from the anomaly of the two Cars films) is pretty much flawless, in terms of innovation, intelligence, wit, creative bravery and attention to detail.
Brave, in fact, is potentially the first ever Scottish-set film that nobody complains about. It’s not miserablist. It has actual Scots in it. It’s full of tartan and kilts but isn’t supposed to be taken seriously so that’s OK. It’s a safe bet that there’s no heroin in it, or gang violence, or sectarianism. What could possibly go wrong?
Unless you’re superstitious and inclined to read bad omens into the fact that this is Pixar’s 13th film. And has a plot about curses.
Report: Atlanta Braves in Trademark Dispute With Pixar, Disney Over 'Brave' Movie by Dan Duquette, Jr. on Wed, Dec 21, 2011 at 11:06PM Do you like this story?
What do you think of when someone says the word "brave"? That may seem like a silly question, but for the Atlanta Braves, it's one that might be worth going to court over.
The Braves are reportedly engaged in a trademark dispute with Pixar Animation Studios -- and therefore Pixar's parent company, Walt Disney -- over the name of their latest movie.
Pixar's next movie that is expected to hit theaters this summer is named Brave, which was a change from the original title of the film, The Bear and the Bow. The studio opted to rename the movie in March, causing some drama with the team.
According to Stitch Kingdom, a Disney-focused blog, the Braves filed an objection to Pixar's request for a trademark to the film. Now, the two sides appear to be engaged in private negotiations to sort everything out.
While there may appear to be a pretty sizeable difference between a baseball team named after Native Americans and a CGI movie about an Irish princess, the report goes on to explain why the Braves actually have legal encouragement to pursue the matter.
"Companies must actively police and enforce their trademarks and take all reasonable action to protect them," the blog explains, "otherwise the trademark may be considered abandoned and thrown into the public domain."
So, to ensure that their name doesn't fall by the wayside the same way that "zipper" or "aspirin" have, the baseball Braves may feel like they have no choice but to press on. Anything to take the attention off of their late-season collapse, right?
Child's play: 2012 a promising year for kids' movies
Merida is the star of Pixar's new 3-D movie, "Brave," coming June 22. By Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
Sick of watching that "Smurfs" DVD over and over again? Fear not, parents -- 2012 offers a toybox full of animated and other movies for kids. 3-D is a controversial topic. The extra dimension jacks up ticket prices, some kids refuse to wear the special glasses, and often it doesn't do much for a film but make it murkier. But we have high hopes for the 3-D conversion of two beloved movies this year. "Beauty and the Beast 3-D" comes out Jan. 13 and "Finding Nemo 3-D" swims into theaters Sept. 14. (3-D versions of "Monsters Inc" and "The Little Mermaid" are coming in 2013.)
It's always easy to get excited about the next Pixar release. "Brave" is coming to theaters June 22 in 3-D. Heroine Merida is a flame-haired Scottish princess and a skilled archer. When she accidentally brings chaos to her kingdom, she must set things right. We'd watch the film version of a software licensing agreement if Pixar made it.
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Oct 27, 2015 2:00:45 GMT -5
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