Over at Entertainment Weekly, four new posters for Disney/Pixar‘s “Brave” have appeared, in anticipation of the film’s fast-approaching June 22nd release. Additionally, director Mark Andrews, who infamously took over the project after the film’s original co-writer/director Brenda Chapman was fired, offered commentary on the new posters, which feature select characters from the off-kilter fairy tale, delivering tidbits of plot information that had not previously been leaked.
The first poster is of our heroine, Merida (Kelly Macdonald, in a role originated by Reese Witherspoon, who left the production after Chapman was dismissed), a tangle of unkempt red hair and a steadfast bow in her hands. She’s a character who refuses to be married off, and instead goes on a mystical (and quite dangerous) quest that leads her to use a spell by a powerful witch (Julie Walters). “How she resists [this custom] leads to more and more trouble that ultimately endangers not only the kingdom, but her loved ones,” Andrews told EW. And while technically Merida is a princess, don’t expect the movie to overemphasize that (as much as Disney Consumer Products might want a new set of dolls for its popular Disney Princess line).
“Merida just happens to be, by default, in the society of a princess,” Andrews explained. “We don’t really call her Princess often in the movie. And she’s trying to reconcile this difference between how the world wants her to be, and how she sees herself. Ultimately, she’s going to have to look inside herself, and what she finds in the mirror is not exactly what she expected. That’s kind of our definition of ‘brave’ in the movie — looking inside yourself and coming to grips with who exactly you are.” This is all very reassuring indeed. We have worried (often) that Chapman’s removal would negate some of the movie’s more feminist leanings, but this comment makes it sound like things are still pretty much on target. Good sign.
The second poster features Merida’s parents, King Fergus (Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson), looking rather stoic. From what we understand, much of the first half of the movie has to do with Merida’s relationship with her mother. Andrews explained the relationship briefly: “Elinor has big plans for Merida, since she’s the next in line. And Merida doesn’t want to do it. There’s this difference between mother and daughter, and it goes back a long ways. When we come into the movie, we show how they were [when Merida was a child] and what they’ve become at this turning point in Merida’s life.”
As for King Fergus, apparently he has a moment where he bursts into song, revealing key components of the movie’s mythology (at one point it was called “The Bear and the Bow,” and the marketing materials thus far have teased a monstrous bear that factors into Merida’s quest — honestly we’re a little surprised the bear didn’t get its own poster). “The song’s about his trials and tribulations with the great demon bear Mordu,” Andrews tells EW. “It’s the evil bear of the kingdom — the one that Fergus hasn’t been able to defeat yet and is responsible for taking his leg.”
For the third poster, they’ve highlighted Merida’s suitors — Lord Macintosh (Craig Ferguson), Lord MacGuffin (Kevin McKidd) and Lord Dingwall (Robbie Coltrane). We’ve seen these characters briefly in the trailers, but haven’t heard too much about them until now. Andrews says that Macintosh (the wiry fellow with the blue paint — a tip of the hat to Pict history) is “paranoid about everything… And he’s got his eyes on you, those big, googly eyes;” MacGuffin, the large blond gentleman is “stoic, loyal, and steadfast;” while Dingwall is “the oldest member of the clans,” as evidenced by his “fused neck and spine,” a unique and welcome design/character choice that is refreshingly weird.
And rounding out the posters is one featuring Merida’s triplet younger brothers – Hamish, Hubert, and Harris. But just because they’re tiny (and, Andrews says, don’t actually speak) doesn’t mean that they’ll slip into the background of this folk tale. “You can’t tell them apart, and they steal the show,” says Andrews. “They love sweets and are always getting into mischief. And they can do no wrong as far as Fergus and Elinor are concerned.”
“Brave,” which is entirely superhero-free, opens on June 22nd.