Disney/Pixar’s BRAVE: Interviews with the Cast & Crew

During our whirlwind trip to Los Angeles, we had the honor of interviewing some of the cast and crew from  Disney/Pixar’s BRAVE. You can read our interviews below!

KELLY MACDONALD, Merida

Q : Were you excited to pay homage to Scotland on the screen for us Americans to learn more about your country?

KM : After the fact I am.  I didn’t think about it while I was working.  But, um, you know, when I was watching the film I — I kind of despite myself had a sort of swelling of national pride, you know.  You can’t help it.  It’s like all those, um, movies, you know, uh, especially set in Scotland’s like “Highlander” and “Braveheart” and all these things.  They’ve got the music right.  And I think the soundtrack really helps you to sort of, you know, feel things.

Q : What was it like playing Pixar’s first heroine and were there any challenges you faced?

KM : Well I — I kind of didn’t know about it too mu– I didn’t think about it very much.  And, no, I didn’t know about it.  Like I — I was just working on a movie.  And then it was — it was someway into it someone mentioned, “Oh yeah, she’s the first female Pixar protagonist.”  And so it was a bit of a surprise, but it didn’t alter anything for me and the way I felt about the project or — I just — I mean, uh, it slightly took me aback that I — I for a second I felt a bit of pressure.

Q : Do you do the voices with the other actors at all?

KM : No.  You’ve got the directors like Mark Andrews and the crew director and producer, Steve Purcell.  I would read my dialogue with them.  And, um, but yeah, they — you’re not in a room with all the ac– it’s very — and it’s like the — it’s not just on this.  It’s like that’s — that’s the way it happens.  I think when you’re recording voices you would end up talking over each other.  And I think maybe in certain situations — certain scenes in certain films — that works if people are improvising.

You know, I think John Goodman and Billy Crystal did some of their stuff together, um, just so that they could do a bit of improvisational stuff.  But I suspect that they then would have to do — do it separately themselves after they’re done the — yeah.

KEVIN MCKIDD & CRAIG FERGUSON, Lord MacGuffin & Lord Macintosh

Q: Do you enjoy going back to your roots for a part or the challenge of taking on an accent?  And also, is it harder to go back to your roots of Sc– you know, Scottish after you’ve been using an American accent for so long?

KM : Oh, it’s not.  It’s like duck to water really.  I mean love doing the accents.  I’ve always — I — when I was brought up in the highlands of Scotland I was next to an barracks, so there’s all these different accents, you know, different English, British Isles accents coming through, and I always mimic them.  So, I love doing the American, you know, on the show. And it’s flattering to hear that you didn’t have a clue, you know.

Q: Were there any visual cues they gave you in the room to help you feel the part more like?

CF : They show pictures of the, of the character. They, they show drawings and stuff of your character and other characters, which kinda helps.  And when you — I don’t know how Kevin does a bad — and, and when you go in that booth on your own I kinda close my eyes and, you know, you go into that world.  So, if you have drawings of people who live in that world it helps.  You know.  Um, so, yeah, they give — they do give some visual help to it.

Q: Could you tell me what your favorite Disney movie of all time, both of you guys? 

KM : Of all time?  Um, what was the one, what was the one with the cat — there was like two cats or something like that.  It’s —

CF : Aristocrats.

KM : Aristocrats.  I knew it was Aristocrats.

CF : Wall-E, uh, the — of recent time Wall-E is my favorite.  I love that. I don’t so — ‘cause I have young kids, and I’ve seen it 500, 600 times.  So, I —

CF : — you know, I — like I’ve seen it more than the guys who made it.

MARK ANDREWS & KATHERINE SARAFIAN, Director & Producer

Q : What kind of age group are you seeing for this? Is six a good age?

KS: You know, I think it’s a good question.  There’s no specific age we would say start it, but, I would say it’s a real PG movie. It’s a PG movie for a reason. We’re advertising it as PG because this is, you know, I mean even in the classic G rated like Disney tales they’re usually killing off a parent or shooting somebody in the woods or whatever. So this, you know, those had some dark elements. This one though it is a PG for a reason for that kind of scary action that’s in there and every, I think every parent will have to make the choice.

Q : Was it always going to be a Scottish princess?

MA : Yes, no it was from the get go, from the original pitch.  The three things that John Lasseter and Pixar look for is they look for, uh, you know, a great character, a great story and a great setting. And so Brenda Chapman who, uh, my fellow director on the project, her original pitch was about that parent child relationship based off of her own experiences with her own at the time six year old daughter who’s very precocious and independent and talked back.  And she kind of projected ahead going oh, oh, what kind of teenager is this little girl gonna be if she’s already a teenager at six, you know.

And then she has a love for Scotland.  It’s just a land that’s rich with legends and stories and stuff so why not put it there in back in the past to, you know, call from that environment, you know, a story and, and that’s what she pitched to John Lasseter at Pixar and they said, yeah, that sounds great, let’s do it.  And then the details of how it worked out, you know, those are things that we were hammering out for the next, you know, five to six years.

Q : Did you spend time in Scotland?

MA : Yeah, absolutely.  We spend a lot of times in Scotland.  We had two different research troops there I mean ‘cause we can get a lot of stuff on line and pictures and things like that and I’m very read about the histories and stuff. So but that only takes you so far. The things that you discover when you’re actually in the place is invaluable and I know a lot of writers, you know, who write historical fictions and stuff.  They go and visit these places to get to know them on an intimate level because there may be a bit of detail that they can pull from there, you know.

KS : We were able to experience how open everybody was there. Like will you tell us a story?  Oh, I’ll tell you a great story. Or sing a song. Oh, I got five songs. You know, just whereas here in the United States, will you sing me a song? Oh, I couldn’t do that, you know, I don’t wanna.  You know, it’s very, very open storytelling culture and we tried to use every bit of that in the film.

All photos taken by Louise Bishop and Marshall Weinbaum.

Disclosure: Disney/Pixar sponsored travel, accommodations and activities during my stay in Los Angeles. Thoughts are my own.