Kelly Macdonald, a Scottish actress, sat for an interview this week just hours before she walked the red carpet (actually emerald green) to open her newest film in Hollywood, California. Showing no signs of nervousness, the beautiful 36 year old chatted easily with the group of 25 family bloggers, of which I happened to be one, about her role as the voice of Merida in BRAVE.
She laughed and smiled easily throughout the hour and with her lovely Scottish lilt she shared bits about her life, characters she’s played in the past, and what it was like to do her first animated film.
Macdonald, who hails from Glasgow, Scotland, spends most of her time now in New York and it was there that she did the bulk of the recording sessions for BRAVE. As voice talent records alone in a booth without the benefit of other actors to help bring out their performance, Macdonald credits the “larger than life American” director Mark Andrews with helping her adapt to the new format and bringing out her best performance.
Interview with Kelly Macdonald – Voice of Merida in Disney Pixar BRAVE(video)
If Macdonald looks familiar, it may be because the award winning actress has been actively working since her first role in Trainspotting in 1996. Since that time she’s been seen in Nanny McPhee, Gosford Park (a personal favorite), Intermission, and the Cohen Brother’s hit No Country for Old Men. On UK and US television, she’s best known for her roles in The Girl in the Café, State of Play, and HBO’s Boardwalk Empire.
While there are some physical characteristics that can be applied to both Merida and Macdonald, as for personality, there are some differences. She describes her animated characters as openly feisty and she sees Merida’s strength as being outward; she describes herself as having an inner drive.
So how does Macdonald feel about her animated counterpart and her role of Pixar’s first female lead character? Macdonald says with an easy smile, “I don’t think about Merida as being a princess particularly. I think she happens to be a princess, but it’s not who she is. And I think the biggest thing is that Merida’s a teenage girl who makes some bad choices and she doesn’t need a prince to come in and rescue her and make it all better.” Macdonald goes on to explain that in the story, Merida acknowledges she’s made some mistakes, “And then she sets out to try and repair the damage she’s done. And she apologizes. It’s a big thing, apologizing. I think that’s the real message.”
Rated PG for animated violence and intense scenes
which may be too much for younger audiences
ABOUT THE MOVIE
Since ancient times, stories of epic battles and mystical legends have been passed through the generations across the rugged and mysterious Highlands of Scotland. From Disney and Pixar, a new tale joins the lore when the courageous Merida (voice of Kelly Macdonald) confronts tradition and challenges destiny to change her fate.
“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, discovering the meaning of true bravery.
Directed by Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman, and produced by Katherine Sarafian, “Brave” is a grand adventure full of heart, memorable characters and signature Pixar humor that audiences of all ages around the world have come to eagerly expect.
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