The story of Disney/Pixar's new animated feature “Brave” was very personal for the film’s directors, Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman. They drew from the experiences of their own families, combining that with their Scottish heritage and love of the country. With their strong backgrounds in storytelling and filmmaking, they were able to weave a tale that was original, emotionally stirring and full of thrilling adventure.
“Brave” follows the heroic journey of Merida, a skilled archer and headstrong daughter of King Fergus (voice of Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (voice of Emma Thompson). Determined to carve her own path in life, Merida defies an age-old custom sacred to the unruly and uproarious lords of the land: massive Lord MacGuffin (voice of Kevin McKidd), surly Lord Macintosh (voice of Craig Ferguson) and cantankerous Lord Dingwall (voice of Robbie Coltrane).
Merida’s actions inadvertently unleash chaos and fury in the kingdom, and when she turns to an eccentric Witch (voice of Julie Walters) for help, she is granted an ill-fated wish. The ensuing peril forces Merida to harness all of her skills and resources—including her clever and mischievous triplet brothers—to undo a beastly curse before it’s too late, and discover the meaning of true bravery.
There’s a reason why the story of “Brave” is so relevant, says Chapman: it’s inspired by a real relationship. “I was dealing with a very headstrong daughter,” she shares. “She was so passionate and so strong—and she was four at the time. I thought, ‘What’s she going to be like as a teenager?’
“I started to imagine what a fairy tale would be like,” continues Chapman, “with a working mom and a really willful daughter whose strength you don’t want to squash—but sometimes you do want to squash it a little. But in the end, it wasn’t a fairy tale at all. ‘Brave’ turned out to be more of an epic action-adventure.”