After twelve days at the Edinburgh International Film Festival that included offerings from Taiwan to Brazil to Denmark, BRAVE may have seemed like a rather safe and conventional choice to some. However, the inclusion of Disney Pixar’s latest film as the Festival’s Closing Gala was an incredibly impressive and assured choice from Artistic Director Chris Fujiwara – especially in his first year at the helm.
Stars of the film, Kelly Macdonald and Kevin McKidd spoke to us on the Red Carpet, as well as director Mark Andrews, producer Katherine Sarafian and Chris Fujiwara.
It’s been a very long and very successful two weeks – are you tired?!
Chris Fujiwara: No. Well, I’m tired, yes, because we’ve been working very hard, all of the team has been working very hard, but I think we’re all really excited and we’re given energy with the anticipation for tonight’s film. I’m completely pleased. The response from the audience, guests and everyone who has come up to me has been all really wonderful.
You must be really happy to have the European premiere of BRAVE. What are your thoughts on the choice to have it as the Closing Gala?
Fujiwara: It seemed like an almost inevitable choice in a sense. The fact that this film is coming out this summer made it one that we were inevitably interested in because it’s a film from and about Scotland that focuses on Scottish talents. It’s also a film that, because of Disney and Pixar, will inevitably be eagerly anticipated all over the world and will do big business – and has already started to. It’s basically a film we felt deserved to be our closing film!
Do you think BRAVE gives an authentic picture of Scotland?
Kelly Macdonald: I don’t really think authenticity is the name of the game with any animation really – Pixar is not about that. But it’s definitely made Scotland look amazing! It’s not a twee version of Scotland and I’m happy about that, I just think it’s definitely still got all the best bits of the countryside.
We’ve had cars and toys before, so how does it make you feel to be the first proper female lead in a Disney Pixar film?
Macdonald: Honestly, I didn’t feel any pressure because I wasn’t aware, and even now I don’t feel any pressure because you’re in safe hands with Pixar and I would have done anything they wanted me to do! I feel very privileged.
It’s been sixteen years since TRAINSPOTTING and now you’re returning to a Scottish role! How does that feel?
Macdonald: Well, things have moved on a lot, I’ve done a lot since TRAINSPOTTING. And weirdly Merida is about as close as I’ve come to playing Diane. Well, that’s not quite true, apart from the fact she’s a teenage girl and she’s kind of feisty!
And I guess it was nice to return to a Scottish role after playing Margaret Schroeder in BOARDWALK EMPIRE?
Macdonald: It was nice not to have to think about the accent! I worked on BRAVE at weekends and my week was spent on BOARDWALK, so it was quite hard to drop the accent!
How does it feel to be back in Scotland?
Kevin McKidd: Fantastic! I haven’t been able to wear a kilt in many, many years in America as people look at you funny and wonder why you’re in that dress! I’m actually wearing the DunBroch tartan which has been commissioned by Pixar and the sporran’s handmade and my children’s names are on it in Gallic.
You were able to get some of your home dialect in the film. What did that mean to you?
McKidd: I couldn’t believe it! Well, I’ve spent the last few years pretending to be an American, so it was nice to be able to be myself and not have to worry about it. When I’m over there I keep saying ‘trash’ rather than ‘bin’ so it’s nice to be back to normal!
What’s the hardest challenge the sound booth brings?
McKidd: I think fight scenes are quite hard as you jump around looking and feeling ridiculous, and it’s actually quite tiring pretending to be swinging a sword. Laughing’s hard – really hard. After a few takes things aren’t quite as funny!
How does it feel to be having the European premiere in Scotland?
Mark Andrews: So exciting! We started here six years ago with a little research trip, so we’ve kind of come full circle and now we’re back it’s awesome!
Could you tell us some more about your lovely sporran?!
Andrews: Ahh, well it’s a custom job made by an artist in Inverness and I had it made years and years and years ago when I first got married and it has my clan motto on it.
There’s a lot of talk about the lack of a male romantic lead – is that a conscious decision you made?
Andrews: Absolutely, who needs one! It’s not all about love and romance. I mean is a princess or woman defined by the guy she’s with? Absolutely not. This is a young woman who’s coming of age and a child becoming an adult. That’s what the story’s about.
Katherine Sarafian: BRAVE is a love story, but it’s about family love, you know? You have to treat yourself and be able to find yourself and love yourself before you’re ready for that.
Why did you not have the original premiere in Scotland?
Andrews: I grew up in L.A. and it’s exciting to have a premiere there and get everyone to come and see it! But it’s even more exciting to have a premiere here where the film was ‘made’ and where the heart of it is, but unfortunately we’re not here for a long time.