Pixar BRAVE Enough To Depart From Usual Fare?

Classic Pixar characters from Nemo, Woody, to Lightning McQueen have all been voiced with American accents. In BRAVE, not only are we introduced to Pixar's first female heroine, but Merida, the lead character, is also the first Pixar character to be voiced in a foreign accent.

Given BRAVE's setting in the highlands of Scotlands, it only makes sense for BRAVE's animated characters to speak in their native tongue typical of the region, but Hollywood traditionally shies away from using the location's vernacular in favor of familiarity.  Pixar's film Ratatouille, for example, takes place in France, but Remy, the aspiring chef rat, and Linguini are voiced by American actors (Patton Oswalt, Lou Romano), but surrounded by characters with French accents.

Brave Director Mark Andrews and Producer Katherine SarafianAt a recent press conference with BRAVE director Mark Andrews and producer Katherine Sarafian, the two filmmakers said the Scottish accent was never in question for the production team, Disney or Pixar, and was the right choice. Scottish dialects range from region to region which Andrews found fascinating when visiting Scotland during his research trip. For Andrews, his only concern was the "readability" and syntax. Issues of syntax came up during the recording of the actor's voices. Scottish-born actors Kelly MacDonald ("Boardwalk Empire"), Billy Connolly, Robbie Coltrane (Harry Potter movies), Kevin McKidd ("Grey's Anatomy"), and late night host Craig Ferguson return to their roots by lending their voices to BRAVE. Director Mark Andrews described the actors as "fabulous," but he reigned in the largely Scottish cast when they resorted to their native dialect and mashed up of words in a Scottish way.

"When it got to heavy, brogue, or what not… or they were going too fast. There was just 'ok let's slow it down and separate a little bit'. It wasn't an issue."

Producer Katherine Sarafian chimed in and revealed the actors did several takes of every line to get a variation. When it came to editing the dialogue, the editorial team picked the lines that were easily understood. In regards to American audiences, in particular children, not grasping what was said, Chapman believes the animation will help bring the point across.

"We know our audience is very smart and they'll figure it out.  And if they don't know what is said, we try to make sure the animation is compelling enough that you get the gist of it… that you get the meaning."

BRAVE is a departure for Pixar in many ways, but as with most Pixar stories, the elements that make most Pixar films classic are clearly present in their latest animated endeavor.  

BRAVE is now playing in movie theaters.


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