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'Brave' Star Didn't Know She Was Pixar's First Princess Hero

Fred Topel Fred Topel
June 25th, 2012 1:06pm EDT

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It’s no surprise that the latest Pixar movie Brave became the number one movie in America last weekend. What’s surprising is that it is a princess tale, more akin to the classic Disney films than the modern Pixar ones. This fact was lost on its star, the voice of Princess Merida, Kelly Macdonald.

“Attention to detail is not my strong point and it quickly passed me by that I was going to be the first female protagonist in a Pixar movie until quite recently,” Macdonald said. “I’m kind of glad that I didn’t know what I was doing, because it would have been a lot of pressure. I don’t think I personally have watched a Pixar movie and felt wronged in that there wasn’t a female protagonist. I think that they make films about fish and toys and robots, and there’s some really strong female characters in those films, in The Incredibles and Jessie from Toy Story. So I never felt like I was missing out on that, but I feel very privileged having said all that.”

Macdonald, an actor best known for hard edged movies like Trainspotting and No Country for Old Men, put her trust into the artists of Pixar.

“I think as soon as I was asked to go in and meet some people from Pixar, I mean just the name Pixar, you know it’s going to be special. So I had no doubt in my mind that the finished product was going to be just really special and cutting edge. That’s the great thing about Pixar, is like every movie that they bring out is like the most cutting edge technology. You look back at the films, and Toy Story was 15 years ago and you don’t look back and think, ‘Oh, if they had the technology they have now it could be such a better film.’ It still stands up and it’s extraordinary. What they do is extraordinary and to think that comes from the top. John Lasseter is a very special man and it’s just people that love their jobs and do their jobs very well.”

Merida doesn’t want to marry any of the kingdom’s suitors like her mother wants. In real life, Macdonald says she was not as rebellious as Merida.

“I wasn’t Merida-like when I was a teenager. She’s very adventurous and outdoorsy and energetic, and I was not.  I was indoorsy. But I was a teenage girl, so that was the the thing that I zoned in on really. I could have done with a bit more of that to be honest, something to rebel against.  I didn’t really. My mom was very easy-going and I didn’t have much to rebel against. I moved away from home when I was 17 and that was fine.”

Brave is now playing.

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Photo Credits: Disney Enterprises; PR Photos