June 22nd is a big day. That is the day when the brand new Disney Pixar movie Brave hits the theaters. Moms, dads, sons, and of course daughters, will be lined up to fall in love with the new Disney (via Pixar) Princess – who is not like any Princess we’ve known before.
Merida isn’t just a new idol for costume loving girls, a kick-ass girl who knows how to use her weapons, but she is also the very first female lead in a Pixar film – something that many feel was truly overdue.
On the sprawling Pixar campus in Emeryville, California, we were given the chance to speak with Brave‘s director Mark Andrews about the movie, having a strong female role and how girls and boys will flock to the film.
On the Origin of the Story:
“Brenda Chapman (the initial director and writer of Brave), she came up with the storyline, and the characters…and wanting to set it in Scotland. It came out of her being a parent and her trials and tribulations with her daughter. She approached John (Lasseter) and said, “Hey, I want to do this movie about this mother-daughter relationship. And I want to set it in Scotland.” And he said, “Great, go.” And then she started developing that more (and)it came out of that, her being a parent.”
On Brave Being Not Just for Girls But Boys
“I’ve been telling stories for 20 years. I’ve been here at Pixar for 10 working on The Incredibles and Ratatouille. For me, as a storyteller, it’s always about the universal relate-ability of the story. I don’t want to alienate anybody, right? I don’t want anybody to go, “Oh, that’s not a movie for me.”
“I want people to come and see the movie. And go, “Oh yeah, it’s a fish. I’m not a fish. But I know exactly what that fish was going through.” Or, I’m a robot and I felt like that in my relationships. You know, with my significant other. So it’s gotta have something for everybody. I get asked – ‘are you afraid that (the protaganist being girl) is gonna get rid of the boys’ No, I’m, I’m a father of four.” I’ve got a girl and three boys, just like King Fergus.”
“My boys saw the trailer and they’re all, “What’s that, I want to go see it!” And it was just a girl and a bear, right? So they see a girl with a ball in her hands, they’re all, “That could be me.” They see a strong character, (that) is what they see, right? And what that character goes through. And so I think that it’s for everybody. it becomes genderless. I’m glad I have a strong female character in this movie – a couple of them. And for my daughter, that she can go into a movie and see another strong female character. But that’s coming up so much more often these days.”
On Being Part of the First Female Pixar Lead & If There Was Pressure:
“There is a little bit. But again, I could hide under my story envelope. Because to me it, it doesn’t become about gender or firsts. You know. It’s just about.’make it work, make it work, what’s the story, what’s the story’. You know. And this story’s about a parent and a child. I’m a dad, right? I have children, I was a child. So I can relate to all of it. And it’s those moments that I want to try and create in the story, so that anybody watching this will go, “I get it.” I went right through that same, same thing. I went through that same process, that same arc.”
On Whether This Was Always Going to Be a Mother/ Daughter Movie:
“I don’t think (that this) was in the Pixar conscious that Ed and John were all sitting around going, “What are we gonna do next? We haven’t done a mother and daughter story. You know, we haven’t set anything in Scotland yet.” It’s not like there’s a big board of stuff, you know, they’re doing tactical with pie charts asking people what they want to see. It comes from the directors here.”
“It comes from their passions and their experiences. NEMO came out of Andrew being a father for the first time and his worries about raising his son. Pete (who did Up) has an affinity to old folks and we call him “the ageless one,” here. Because he just kinda has that affinity of growing old, ’cause at the end you can still have this vibrant life. I went to school with him at Cal Arts and all of his films at Cal Arts – his student films – were all about old people.”
“The great thing about Pixar is, you can’t put us in a box of what’s going to come out next. Right? Well, we got sequels coming, that’s fine. But we still have original content that you can’t guess.”
And Brave is just that – an original. It opens everywhere on June 22nd.