As part of my whirlwind weekend in Los Angeles to cover the premiere of Brave (read more about that here), I also had the chance to interview the voice talent and director of this memorable new family film. Prior to the interviews, I knew a little about the voiceover process, with respect to animated films that the cast doesn’t really work together. Voice talent is given cues from directors and looped in with other voices to create what seems like a linear and seamless series of events. Actress Kelly MacDonald (voice of Merida), remarked on this process by stating, ” Everything in animation has to be that much bigger” where something as simple as a breath needed to be bigger and more textured.
Actor Kevin McKidd(voice Lord MacGuffin) also remarked on this process by stating, “ I found it quite tricky, but Mark Andrews, the Director was a larger than life manager.” Adding, “He would do a line and then you see them and they weren’t quite happy, and then he’d say — he’d come with the, the mic and go say the line again and pretend your character just got poked in the eye with a stick. ”
It was also fascinating to hear from Director Mark Andrews and Producer Katherine Sarafian who have been working on this production since 2006. In speaking about how the idea came together, Mark noted, “co-director Brenda Chapman had an pitch about this 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.” Adding, ” 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.” John Lasseter at Pixar loved the story, which Mark noted includes, ” a great character, a great story and a great setting.”
In speaking about evoking emotions from the talent Mark noted, “Animation is devoid of happy accidents. Animation is devoid of organics. So I had to construct that as a director by projecting ahead and I giving them enough to feed the scene because I know about what it’s going to be about.”
As the first female protagonist in Pixtar, Katherine spoke about gender as it pertains to sterotypes in film. She stated, “We wanted to create a character who was relatable in that way to audiences of both genders, of just like you want to do your own thing. You’re not focused on getting married and you’re comfortable in your skin of either gender and yes, that means yeah, you — maybe you sew and maybe you climb waterfalls in a dress and it doesn’t make you want to be a boy.”
Kelly also noted about having this exciting role and stated, “it was a bit of a surprise, but it didn’t alter anything for me and the way I felt about the project.” Adding, “I’m just really lucky to be a part of — of anything that they do.”
As I mentioned, I really enjoyed this multilayered movie that touched upon family, tradition, and choice that made it even more vivid and exciting after hearing from the cast, director and producer involved whose heart and sheer talent went into the making of this modern-day masterpiece.
Check out this new clip from the movie:
Brave is out now, and presented in Disney Digital 3D’¢ in select theaters.
All accommodations and airfare are paid for by Disney.