Pixar's 'Brave': First Look art -- EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS

Stones-Pubstill

Image Credit: Disney-Pixar

In many ways, Pixar’s 13th feature-length movie Brave (out June 22, 2012) ventures into new territory for the animation studio: The Scotland-set adventure film will be Pixar’s first fairy tale, its first picture starring a female protagonist, and its first film co-directed by a woman. EW.com has the first look at some of the concept art for the project, and we can also confirm that Reese Witherspoon will no longer voice the movie’s heroine, a tomboyish princess named Merida, due to scheduling issues. Instead, the character will be played by the (appropriately) Scottish actress Kelly Macdonald (No Country for Old Men, Boardwalk Empire).

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Image Credit: Disney-Pixar

Brave is set in the mystical Scottish Highlands, where Merida is the princess of a kingdom ruled by King Fergus (Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson). An unruly daughter and an accomplished archer, Merida one day defies a sacred custom of the land and inadvertently brings turmoil to the kingdom. In an attempt to set things right, Merida seeks out an eccentric old Wise Woman (Julie Walters) and is granted an ill-fated wish. Also figuring into Merida’s quest — and serving as comic relief — are the kingdom’s three lords: the enormous Lord MacGuffin (Kevin McKidd), the surly Lord Macintosh (Craig Ferguson), and the disagreeable Lord Dingwall (Robbie Coltrane).

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Image Credit: Disney-Pixar

Brave is directed by Mark Andrews (the Oscar-nominated short One Man Band) and Brenda Chapman (The Prince of Egypt). Chapman conceived of the project, which was initially titled The Bear and the Bow, and was supposed to be its sole director — and Pixar’s first female director. But last October, it was reported that Pixar had replaced Chapman with Andrews. Now, although Andrews is presently in charge of guiding Brave across the finish line, both Andrews and Chapman will be credited as the movie’s directors, according to a Disney spokesman.

Comments (186 total) Add your comment
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  • Jillibean

    It’s about time Pixar had a female as a main character!

    • Cygnus

      Although it’ll make $200mil, I think it’ll be Pixar’s first dud. Just the fact that they’re losing stars and directors, means that this was a foundering project. Pixar films have stood up not because of the computer technology, but because of the humanistic stories. The story is going to have to save this one.

      • ecuamerican

        None of those things directly correlate to Pixar creating a dud. “Ratatouille” let go of the original writer and it easily became one of my favorite Pixar movies (and critically hailed as probably the best movie of that year). Reese Witherspoon is perceived to be a diva and I personally don’t like her, so I’m glad she dropped out (or pushed out, as I happily imagine). Changes to creative teams are natural in Hollywood and no one knows best how to execute it better than Pixar.

      • Barney

        Well, to play devil’s advocate, several Pixar films have gone through similar issues. Toy Story 2 was originally going to be direct-to-video, and had major production issues, and then it was revamped and turned into (arguably) the best of the 3. Ratattoille also had it’s director replaced midway through production, and that is my personal favorite Pixar film.

        You may be right and it could be it’s first dud (not counting Cars and most likely Cars 2 as well, hehe) but I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt.

      • jets

        I think Cars 2 looks like Pixar’s first dud. (I actually count Cars 1 as a clunker). …and looks like not everything is happy-family-fun time at Pixar. sounds like some drama went down over this. Nice to know Pixar studios exists in reality with the rest of us. Also, wonder if there’s some “Braveheart” coppying going on with this? That’d be awesome. Looks good!

      • Woot

        Megan Mullalhy (or however you spell her name…Karen from Will and Grace) was originally going to voice Dory in Finding Nemo, but they let her go. As we all know Finding Nemo was no dud.

      • Alyssa

        @ at the above. A DIVA? Reese-is one of the most mellow actresses in Hollywood as far as publicity goes. Look up the word before you call someone that. Divas tend to make alot of waves-hence they are called Divas.

      • Kat

        I’m glad they went with an actual SCOTTISH actress to play a SCOTTISH princess – Can’t imagine Reese Witherspoon doing that accent any where close to half way decent.

      • Kimber

        @Alyssa – yep – she’s a diva. I have a cousin in the biz who says she is the single worst actress he’s had to work with – it’s not a well kept secret in Holllywood. Don’t fall for the fake southern lady act – those of us who are true southern women can spot a fake a mile off – both divas and diamonds.

      • Cygnus

        Not to mention Reese recycles men every other year.

      • Alyssa

        Okay…hmmm. I’ll stick with what I have heard and seen myself. But whatever. I like her. Off topic now @ Cygnus-What do you think of Jennifer Love Hewitt then? Reese has had Ryan, Jake, and she just got married. Probably missed someone- JLove has had 12-14 guys or more since she has been 18

      • Stewart

        What speculative tosh! This comment is the usual erroneous conclusion based upon little fact and ignorant assumption and opinionation. Wait until you can see the film before you judge it willya?

      • myprettypony

        Pixar isn’t Dreamworks. They do not need a star to sell their movies. Look at Up…yes Ed Asner is famous, but he certainly isn’t a high wattage superstar. Incredibles and Finding Nemo as well didn’t have A-list superstars. While the actors were all well respected actors, they certainly weren’t high watt celebrities like Reese Witherspoon. I’ll save my judgement for when I actually watch the movie, thanks.

      • hannah86

        Losing one star, but their cast is already filled with others and Kelly Macdonald is a well known actress and if they’re looking for a Scottish accent, I really don’t think Reese Witherspoon would have done a good one, especially compared to someone that has one.

      • Ian

        Cars may not have the same box office numbers as other Pixar films, but calling it a dud is stupid. It made more money on merchandising than ANY other Pixar film by far. It’s easily their best cash cow. How much merch do you see out there for Incredibles, Finding Nemo, or Wall*E? Compare that to the amount of merch for Cars. It’s not even close. Cars has made more cash for them and Disney than anything else they’ve done. The licensing revenue is through the roof. Hence the sequel (and a lot of new characters to slap on toys, sheets, toothbrushes, and everything else you can come up with). My kid has seen every Pixar film, and Cars is the one he watches over and over. It’s a movie custom-fit for 5-10 year-old boys.

      • jonesgirl

        I saw Cars 2 at an advanced screening about two months ago and can personally attest that Cars 2 is the first Pixar dud. Sad but true.

      • JS

        Ian has it right above. There are a lot of studios in Hollywood that would kill to produce a “dud” like Cars.

        Not to go political on everyone, but I’m convinced the hatred many people have for Cars is because of it’s central theme that the simple life is best, and it’s extolling of the small-town, rural America that is becoming a thing of the past. This is a message that is often looked upon with disdain by many “young & hip” city-folk.

      • john

        @jonesgirl, unless you actually work at Pixar, which I highly doubt, there is no way you’ve seen the film. It wasn’t even finished two months ago. You are full of crap.

      • James D

        @ Kimber. I have a brother in the biz as well. He works as a production assistant for films. He’s actually worked on Walk the Line and said that Reese was so nice, and Joaquin Phoenix for that matter.

      • jordan

        The real tragedy is that Cars 2 replaced Newt.

      • therealeverton

        I’m really not sure what your definition of a “dud” is here? If it’s a relatively weak movie then their first Dud was A Bug’s Life, which is average by any standard, let alone Pixar’s. If it’s gross, then Pixar hasn’t really had a single “dud”. Not even close, not even A Bug’s Life.

        Also Toy Story 2 being direct to DVD was all Disney. Pixar stepped in and “saved” it.

      • Kevin

        Alyssa, yes DIVA is the correct word. A lot of the actors and directors that have worked with her have had few nice words to say about her and her on-set behavior. She thinks she is better than everyone and her attitude is a very well-known fact.

      • ZM Shore

        Cars 2 will be the firs story flop, financially it will do well, but you watch the cars 2 trailer… uh… there gonna have to do A HELL OF A LOT to make me like it

      • Coop

        There has been something going on, but it’s foggy as to whether there is actually drama or just people digging for it. I’m assuming the latter. Movie production’s not set in stone- Aladdin had problems very late into production, Who Framed Roger Rabbit cost well over its initial projected budget, and actors are frequently dropped or replaced as needed, etc. Pixar has a high standard, so people seem to be waiting for them to foul up somehow. Though I’m relieved Reese Witherspoon left, I think she’s a mediocre voice actress.

    • jjnado

      umm….who’s to say wall-e wasn’t female? i mean, are you robot sexist? pixar’s best movie had a robot…are you telling me that robot had a sex? maybe wall-e was female and EVE was male? do you know? i don’t! no one knows! they’re friggin’ ROBOTS! So, yeah, Wall-E’s a chick

      • SC

        WALL-E was clearly a “male” robot; everyone perceived him as such.

        Likewise, EVE was a girl robot.

      • Derpa

        FAIL

      • Matthew

        I was thinking the same thing. People love to gender stereotype everything.

      • tally

        Well, the people who created his character, for one thing. The artists at Pixar referred to Wall-E as “he” and Eve as “she” from the beginning.

      • del

        …And? Lots of contemporary artists refer to their junk piles as masterpieces. Creators’ intents only count in-production; once the little robots are out in the world, no one gets to dictate their significance to other people.

        So, again, why can’t Wall-E be a she? Or a zir? What part of its robot-anatomy makes it irredeemably male? I think it’s perfectly fair to count Wall-E on neither “side” of the biological spectrum, or read her as feminine if you so choose.

      • doctorwhom

        Wally (Wall-E) is traditionally a male name, and Eve is the most inherently female name one could imagine (esp considering it’s the biblical name for the original female). The characters also mimic the gender roles of wall-E’s favourite movie “My Fair lady”. true they’re not anatomically gender defined by mammalian terms, but it would be pretty hard to argue Wall-E as the first pixar female lead.

      • doctorwhom

        furthermore, by the above mentioned rationale that Wall-E is a robot and therefore not anatomically gender-defined, you could similarly argue the toys of toy story could be either gender. In fact I don’t recall seeing a single frame of genitalia in any of pixars movies, so you could say they’re all females if you wish. However, in the real world we don’t need to see someone’s private bits before deciding their gender. gender in the modern world is user defined, and i’m pretty sure Wall-E would associate with the male persuasion.

      • Zeta

        did you even actually see Wall-E ?

    • Geronimo

      Pixar seems to be in a “one for Disney, one for us” pattern, more or less. Wall-E and Up were “less Disney,” Toy Story 3 and Cars 2 are “more Disney.” Brave seems to be the former, and Monster’s Inc 2 seems to be more the latter.

      The bottom line is that Pixar has set its own bar pretty high. Even movies that I was not necessarily a huge fan of (Monster’s Inc) are really good movies. And while I am kind of dreading cars 2, I think I have to give it a chance.

      I think predicting Pixar clunkers is foolish. If they ever have one, then you can get into that business. But they’ve definitely earned the benefit of doubt.

      • Tow Mater

        I am a big fan of Pixar movies and the art for Brave looks great and I look forward to the release. As far as judging Cars et al…Cars is a movie for children people. Every boy I meet under 8 loves the movie and the merchandise. Stop the hating on the movies for kids and let the target audience choose what they like. My 5 and 7 year old nephews probably would not like Black Swan or The Kings Speech but that doesn’t make them bad movies. Geronimo your point is a good one, just replying here as our comments seem to be in the same vein.

      • Brandon

        I agree. Cars was definitely my least favorite (there was talk of that in the earlier parts of the thread…I think it’s because it was just too weird, with the windshield eyes and sentient cars) but I still enjoyed it a lot and it was Pixar’s most beautiful film at the time. I can still thouroughly enjoy myself when I watch it, even if it’s my least favorite. During the whole trailer of Cars 2 I was grumbling to my friend about how it supplanted Newt (a sequel of the worst movie in place of a completely original film from the most creative studio in the business! Jipped!), but she kept saying, “They’ve never given you reason to doubt them!” And it’s true. As soon as they make a bad movie, we can guess about their next one. Until then, we have to assume it’s going to be great. After ELEVEN dynamite films in a row, they’ve definitely earned it.

      • Angelica

        jobaladas on June 26, 2007 um dos moraies e mais brilhante videos de todos os tempos, o qual fala e mostra uma das maravilhas do mundo automobilitico e um dos carros mais lindos da epoca o plymouth belvedere, queria fazer uma pergunta alguem pode me responder se existe ainda algum plymouth belvedere novinho ainda!!

    • Moo

      It’s not based on a comicbook? (turning head sideways)

    • David

      Pixar films are cinematic gold and modern day classics!! Dreamworks flicks, Ice Age sequels, The Incredibles knock-offs and Happy Feet as owls are pure pop trash!!!

      • ruby

        the people who made happy feet also made the legend of the guardians movie, and, unlike happy feet, legend of the guardians was based off of a very popular book series. it was NOT “pure pop trash”. many of the guardians fans were INSANELY eccstatic over even getting a movie for those books!

      • Jennifer Juniper

        I love The Legend of the Guardians!

      • Joe the Timelord

        Indeed. Musical interlude training montage aside, it was an amazing film. And it had virtually nothing to do with the concept of Happy Feet. Of course I’m not saying you should like it, but at least provide a more applicable insult next time.

    • Gedson

      #1 Kenny Chesney fan on October 25, 2011 I don’t know about Seventeen but GirlsLife is real bucaese i won from their. Twice. I’m not sure though. I would think they are real bucaese if someone actually did win they still would have to spend money no matter what

  • darclyte

    I’m glad that they changed the title as it originally sounded like a movie about a hunter in the woods. I love Pixar, and I’m looking forward to seeing this even with the behind the scenes drama which can sometimes mean trouble.

  • Kool Kat Walk

    When I first saw Kelly Macdonald’s name, I was like, Yeah, Trainspotting!

    • Channing

      Oh wow, that’s right! I had completely missed that connection.

    • Quirky

      I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that Kelly MacDonald will offer a slightly more realistic scottish accent than Reese Witherspoon would.

  • Elle

    Interesting. Almost reminds me of how to train your dragon.

    • JS

      They’re similar in that both movies are set in the same period of Scottish history/folktales. Other than that, I doubt there is much of a connection.

      • Trav

        How To Train Your Dragon wasn’t even remotely Scottish.

      • Joe

        Actually, I think they were Scottish Vikings. The Vikings took over Britain.

      • Simhedges

        “Dragon” was pretty Scottish (apart from the American accents). The sea, the vegetation, the light, the adult voices the music, – everything Scottish. Large part of Scotland were taken over by the Vikings – particularly the coasts, and the Orkney and Shetland Islands. Orkney and Shetland are proud of their Viking heritage – there was an earl of Orkney called “Thorfinn Skullsplitter” – if that’s not Viking, I don’t know what is!

      • SheeperCreeper

        Aren’t Vikings Scandinavian? I feel like saying that those characters were “Scottish Vikings” is like saying the Visigoths became Roman the moment they sacked Rome…

      • Wilderbeast

        Viking defined- One of a seafaring Scandinavian people who raided the coasts of northern and western Europe from the eighth through the tenth century. A Scandinavian. The word Viking itself means “to go on an expedition”. Viking was more of a referral to what Scandinavian pirates did they a word of an actual group of people.

        Some Scottish people may have been descendants of some Vikings, because heck, the Vikings were pirates and some did settle in England and Scotland, but that does not make these descendants Vikings. Especially if they did not ” go on an expedition” like their predecessors. Dreams Works was pretty much pulling it out of their butt when they cast voice actors with Scottish accents to voice some of the characters in ‘How to Train Your Dragon.’ Probable because they sounded more imposing. (shrugs) Anyhow, due to the raiding nature of Norseman Vikings, they ‘borrowed’ a lot of the celtic art style, which is why the style of art in the ‘How to train Your Dragon’ appears similar to the traditional Scottish celtic style.

        As an aside the Longships, the Viking ships, that appear in the movie, are sometimes erroneously called “drakkar”, a corruption of “dragon” in Norse. The Viking did have a concept of Dragons. Probable also a ‘borrowed’ concept, but still, Dragon were not exclusively a Scottish beast. I mean, the Chinese have Dragons in their culture too.

        That aside I am really looking forward to this movie. If nothing else because as a proud redhead myself, I’m glad to see another female heroine that isn’t blond.

  • Amy

    Great cast of actor’s doing the voices!

  • Fangirl23

    I totally prefer Kelly Macdonald as the lead but I don’t understand why Reese Whitherspoon had to drop out to do “scheduling issues”. I mean, how much time does it take to record your voice? Didn’t Eddie Murphy record Donkey’s voice over the phone for the last 2 Shrek movies? Lame.

    • Fangirl23

      *Witherspoon

    • Ali

      It’s more that she was probably pushed out of the project.

      • Z

        Her paycheck was probably too big anyway, she pushed for more and got let go. Besides Kelly Macdonald seems a better choice overal- 1. she’s actually Scottish and 2. It would just be weird to here reese witherspoon as a cartoon, especially a Scottish one. It was odd for Pixar as well, because they don’t rely on A-List casting for the story (sure Hanks, Crystal, Goodman, and Owen Wilson are all pretty famous, but there voices fit each character).

        The real question is.. What is John Ratzenburger’s role?

      • ZZ

        He’ll be playing a fun alligator role. No clue what that exactly means and where the hell can you find alligator in Scotland, but there you go.

      • ZZZ

        @Z – it’s called monsters & aliens, and reese was the main character, been there done that cartoon voicing…

    • Todd

      Kelly MacDonald is GREAT casting. I’ll take her over Reese Witherspoon any day of the week!

    • mdmphd

      The new Pixar won’t miss Ms. Reese. I look forward to WATER FOR ELEPHANTS as she may be interesting in a femme fatale role(and this is Robert Pattinson’s chance to escape some typecasting), but I haven’t really liked her since PLEASANTVILLE. She was OK as Susan in MONSTER V. ALIENS but the audience was more interested in Seth Rogan, Will Arnett and Rainn Wilson. I did NOT vote for her Academy Award. Felicity Huffman could’ve done WALK THE LINE but Reese could never have done TRANSAMERICA. Ms.Laura(Reese) has a really good agent and publicity machine and they’ll spin this away, so this next movie can roll full steam ahead with MacDonald, who has a decent accent in her body of work.

      • KB

        Wow, now trying to picture Felicity Huffman in Walk the line… you apparently have a better imagination than I do!

    • Subham

      Mashoenima on June 13, 2011 They talking about how I like fried ihkccen, even though, THEY are black and probably have fried ihkccen for breakfast.

  • steph

    Ooooo this looks exciting! I love concept art!

    • Ariful

      emolium1 on April 30, 2009 Please read this beacuse it acually works!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1.Put both of your hands on your chest2.Think of someone thatyou like 3.Tommorow that person will ask you out or say i love you.4.Heres the catch just send to 5 more videos

  • Maureen

    Visually it looks beautiful!

  • RyanK

    Is this concept art or the actual look of the movie, because I absolutely love the water color style.

    • steph

      it’s concept art. you can tell because everything is really loose and not really defined.

    • Liz Lemon

      It’s still quite promising for what the final film may look like. Pixar films never disappoint when it comes to visuals.

  • crunchberries40

    Smells like pixar just farted. Girls will love it, boys will hate it(unless they wear a dress). Which spells F-L-O-P. Just think of “The Princess and the Frog” and “Tangled”. Right, I hear of a lot of young boys buying their favorite female heroine toys and getting together with the girls to play “Brave” on a saturday afternoon. Riiigggghhhhtttt. (Unless they wear a dress). Flop, Flop, Flop, Flop.

    • Kelly

      So you are saying that only boys determine the fate of a Pixar movie? Nice.

    • Kelsey

      You mean the same Tangled that made $550 million worldwide? Yeah The Princess and the Frog didn’t make a ton of money (still like $225 million, though), but I’d argue that that had more to do with the 2D, traditional medium simply dying out, which is sad.
      I’d rather see Pixar make good films, not just good merchandising vehicles. That’s a big part of the reason why I’m not a fan of Cars. The story and film quality took a backseat to how many toys they could sell off of it.

      • Ana

        The film quality for Cars was excellent. It doesn’t stand out as much because the main characters design but the scenery was incredible. Toy sales had nothing to do with the movie making process since, at that time, Disney controlled that, not Pixar.

      • Melokesm

        My guess is that all of the Cars haters do not have young boys in their family. My nephew worships Cars and Cars 2 will be the first movie he sees in the theater.

      • shadowcat

        Seems like there is alot of Cars bashing here… I am an older female and when I finally saw the movie, I loved it! (of course I like racing and the Rt 66 nostalgia, so that was a plus!) I thought it was a very well done and touching movie. Brave looks like another animated movie I will want to see!

    • Voodoo

      You work for Dreamworks, don’t you?

    • Alyssa

      Princess and the Frog had over 270 million dollars and over 65 million in DVD sales. Disney and you guys can let that cop out go now. I really wish Walt were still alive. He did his work out of passion not for money. Oh excuse me it made over 71 million in DVD sales.

    • Filler

      The Disney Princess line has been the fastest growing Disney brand in history. Between 2001-2006, Disney Consumer Products revenues went from $300 million to $3 billion, in very large part due to the introduction of the Princess line. The point being: things targeted at young girls are far, far from an auto-flop.

    • hannah86

      Yes, not as many boys are attracted to a Princess movie, but if this is like Mulan… boys will want to see it. And if they’re afraid to say they’re watching a movie with a girl hero, then they need to get over themselves. Cheering for a female lead won’t give them cooties and make them a girl.

    • Sarah

      You know what? Who cares about little boys. They have enough movies geared towards them. Little girls deserve a movie aimed at them. Do you know how great it is to see some one on the screen who looks like you? The one major flaw Pixar has is that they barely have female characters. I love Jesse and Eve, but they aren’t the leads and they are the minority. We need more little girl movies.

    • Marcus

      This is why gender is so effed up in this country.

    • Henri M.

      Are you familiar with Pixar at all? This is going to be an epic story in the vain of the Brothers Grimm, not princess fluff like Tangled and Princess & the Frog.

      • Emil

        Question: Are you familiar with the Brothers Grimm? And when was the last time you actually read the Brother’s Grimm “Rapunzel?” Have you actually seen “Tangled?”

        Name change aside, the latter is arguably superior. In the former, all the good guys are terminally stupid and the villain totally gets away with her villainy at the end. I was impressed that Disney managed to make such a good film from a such a bad fairy tale.

    • Zeta

      I think it could never be a flop, just like someone mentioned, not only boys will determine whether this is good or not, as long as there’s a good story and fantastic visuals (which Pixar has nailed oh so many times before) people will like it.

    • Ursula

      Because a little boy could never, ever look up to a girl hero because that would be WRONG. Bygods they might grow up respecting women as their equals!

  • Dumbledore Fluffernutter

    Yeah- Maybe Reese couldn’t nail the Scottish accent and was asked to leave. It’s not like she’s a great actress or anything.

    • Brett

      Yeah – ’cause the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences just hands out Best Actress Awards like swag at a gifting party.

      • ZZ

        LOL

      • dee123

        They do actually! all you have to do is get knocked up & pretend you can dance.

  • sherimoonzombie

    Go Brenda! I went to elementary and high school with Brenda — before she went on to do such great work with Disney, Dreamworks and now Pixar. For whatever reason they brought in Andrews, at least they’re still going to give Chapman credit.

  • keith

    These stills are gorgeous, but that is no surprise I guess.

  • Kelsey

    I think it sounds like fun. And who cares if they have a girl lead? Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid had female leads and they’re arguably the two greatest animated films of modern times. I get tired of people trying to project gender roles onto films. If the story and the film are good, shouldn’t that be enough?
    And nothing against Witherspoon, but I’m glad they went with a Scottish actress to play a Scottish heroine.

    • Alyssa

      the only people concerned about that are the studio exec. themselves. Why do you think they changed the Title, or the Title of Tangled.

      • Annms

        The title of tangled changed due to legal rights…inform yourself a bit.

  • kelsey

    You had me at Pixar. You further intrigued me with Kelly MacDonald. The former director of “Prince of Egypt” is just icing on the cake.

    • karen marcotte

      Anything with Craig Ferguson in it will be a hit!!!

      • Liz Lemon

        Craig Ferguson is in it too! I completely overlooked that! And also Julie Walters. It looks like the whole cast of Harry Potter: Kelly, Emma Thompson, Robbie, and Julie are all Potter veterans.

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