Production art from Brave.
D23 Expo: Previewing Pixar’s Brave
"This is our first sort of fairytale," John Lasseter told an eager crowd this morning at Disney’s D23 Expo in Anaheim, California, "This is our first period piece. This is our first female main character. This is Brave.”
The first clip showcased featured the lead, Merida (Kelly Macdonald) riding on her giant horse through the forest, shooting down targets hanging from the trees with her bow and arrow. The horse stops short of a log, throwing her into the mud. In anger, she throws a clod of mud at the horse’s nose, and he snorts it back to his face. She approaches him, angrily, but then kisses his muzzle.
Lasseter was joined on stage by the film’s director, Mark Andrews (clad in a kilt) and producer, Katherine Sarafian. They pointed out that they had two different research trips to Scotland to get everything down.
"We’re inspired by all the stories that are already there," Andrews told ComingSoon.net backstage after the presentation, "There are stories about every landscape and every tree and every rock. It was inspiring to try and fuse that idea of how it connects us all."
Sarafian told the crowd that Scotland’s phenomena of blue bog gas, called Wil-o’-the-wisp, will feature prominently in the story. The wisps have the power to “change your fate”, and lead Merida to the cottage of a witch. Seeing this as an opportunity to get away from being married, she insists the witch cast a spell. Naturally, everything goes wrong and the spell starts a chain of events that brings the highlands closer to war.
Macdonald and fellow voice talent Kevin McKidd then took to the stage. McKidd pulls double duty in the film, voicing both Lord. MacGuffin and his incomprehensible son, Young MacGuffin.
"He’s a lovely guy and his heart is in the right place," McKidd told us, "but no one can work out what he’s saying because he has a strong Scottish accent."
The next clip featured King Fergus (Billy Connolly), who has called Merida’s suitors together to compete in a game of her choosing, the winner will receive her hand in marriage.
"[Merida] is reeling against her mother," Macdonald said backstage, "She doesn’t want a suitor. She’s quite happy and wants to live her life, but her mother is trying to create this perfect princess. It’s a bit of their battle and their reconnection."
"Merida sees an opportunity here," Andrews told the audience in reference to the clip, "Do you know what game she picks?"
To which the crowd shouted back, "Archery!"
Unfinished, the scene played with some parts featured only as animatics and others roughly rendered. Most of the parts with Merida in them played beautifully. As the suitors shoot their arrows, Merida and King Fergus laugh about their ineptitude.
First is Macguffin. He timidly shoots his arrow and barely hits the target. Next is the Gene Simmons-esque son of Lord Macintosh, who fares better than Macguffin but misses the bullseye. He angrily tosses his bow into the crowd, where a young girl shouts “I caught it! Yay!” Finally, the aptly named young Dingwall goes next, barely enough brains in him to knock the bow. King Fergus angrily shouts at him to get on with him, and the spooked by looses the arrow and miraculously gets the bullseye.
Enraged, Merida appears on the field and shouts that she will be competing for her own hand. As she gets a perfect bullseye in the first target, her mother screams at her to get stop. Merida ignores her, and goes to the second one. At Dingwall’s, she not only splits the arrow, but her arrow cuts all the way through to the scaffolding of the target. Merida then turns to face her furious mother and the clip ends.
"We have our own take on Scottish lore," Sarafian said of the overall tone of Brave, "It’s really Pixar lore, but it’s set in Scotland and its inspired by Scottish storytelling and designed to be a story that’s perfectly set in that landscape."
Brave hits theaters on June 22, 2012.
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- John Lasseter says the film is ‘unlike any we’ve made, the first fairytale for Pixar.”
- Crews took two trips to Scotland to do their research for authenticity.
- The forest is Merdia’s (the main character’s) second home. Merida and her mother do not see eye-to-eye.
- In the story she must marry into one of three Lords families. The three candidates do not get along with one another and each has their flaws.
- In this fantasy world, there are things called wisps which can either change your fate for the better or make it hell.
- Looking for help, Merida follows a trail of these wisps to the home of a witch. The witch puts a spell on her which screws up her life further. Now in trouble, Merida must find a way to break the spell.
- Director and producer play a scene from the film: The lords are competing for Merida’s hand in marriage. She gets to select which game they get to compete in. Being a skilled archer, she chooses archery. The first candidate is far off the target. The second is closer but not quite (he throws a tantrum once he misses the bullseye). The third doesn’t know how to shoot but nails the bullseye, to which the father of the third candidate brags to the other two fathers and goes so far as to flash his rear to them (this got huge laughs in the audience). Merida is not impressed by any of the three. She comes into the game area and decides to shoot “for my own hand in marriage.” Her mother isn’t happy with this and tries to get her to stop. Merida shoots at all three target and nails the bullseye perfectly. On the third she shoot through the arrow that had already hit the bullseye by the third candidate.
Kelly Macdonald (Merida) and Kevin McKidd (Lord MacGuffin) take the stage and discuss what it’s like to be involved with the film. “It was like I was asked to play Woody,” said Macdonald.
More information on the Fantasy Faire; Rapunzel’s tower and Brave’s Merida will be part of the Fantasy Faire
The boundaries of Fantasyland are expanding with a brand new experience called Fantasy Faire. For this project, Carnations Plaza Gardens Stage is being reimagined into an enchanting village square that will immerse guests in the stories of their favorite princesses in exciting new ways.
Guests will travel through a village square surrounded by fairytale cottages and pavilions to the heart of the square – Tangled Tower, inspired by the film. The village square will come alive with activities and entertainment, including a Royal Ribbon Parade where guests can dance and interact with Belle or Rapunzel. Guests can visit the their favorite Disney royalty from such films as “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” “Cinderella,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Tangled” and the upcoming Disney•Pixar film, “Brave.”
The Fantasy Faire Stage will be a new entertainment venue where the stories of Disney’s fairy tale heroes and heroines will be brought to life, letting guests become part of the story as well.
And at night, the Fantasy Faire Stage will come alive with the classic music and dance offerings that Disneyland park guests have loved for years
Official ‘Brave’ Teaser Trailer (High res version)
So freaking excited for Pixar’s Brave. I just love Merida’s design. If I had hair like that, I’d do this. Always. All the time.
Last time I tried my hand a animation was in high school. Out of practice, for sure.
Concept art for the Wise Woman (Julie Walters) in Pixar’s new movie, Brave.
Concept art for Macintosh (Craig Ferguson) in Pixar’s new movie, Brave.
Concept art for Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson) in Pixar’s new movie, Brave.
The German Logo for “Brave.”
It translates to “Merida: Legend of the Highlands.”
Now that sounds epic.
High Res Of The New “Brave” Poster
Concept art for Pixar’s upcoming movie (June 22, 2012) Brave.
“Brave is set in the mystical Scottish Highlands, where Merida (Kelly Macdonald) is the princess of a kingdom ruled by King Fergus (Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson). An unruly daughter and an accomplished archer, Merida one day defies a sacred custom of the land and inadvertently brings turmoil to the kingdom. In an attempt to set things right, Merida seeks out an eccentric old Wise Woman (Julie Walters) and is granted an ill-fated wish. Also figuring into Merida’s quest — and serving as comic relief — are the kingdom’s three lords: the enormous Lord MacGuffin (Kevin McKidd), the surly Lord Macintosh (Craig Ferguson), and the disagreeable Lord Dingwall (Robbie Coltrane).”