Scotland The Brave: Movie bosses on challenge of capturing Scotland’s beauty

The director and producer of Disney and Pixar’s latest blockbuster animation, Brave, have been opening up about the task of capturing the rugged beauty of Scotland and presenting it in a way never seen before on the silver screen.

In an interview with STV’s resident film buff, Grant Lauchlan, the film’s producer Katherine Sarafian and director Mark Andrews explain the difficulties of making an animation of such scale, and the appeal of Scotland to Hollywood cinema.

Mark – who has previously worked on the Oscar®-winning animated features The Incredibles and Ratatouille – reveals the technical challenges he’s come across in bringing the Highlands to the big screen.

“The crowds in the film, the way we were doing the photography, we were smoking sets, our very theatrical lighting, our effects, the water [was difficult to capture]. To bring those sights and sounds and textures of Scotland alive was a huge hurdle. Not to mention, there’s always the story, it’s always a challenge to get that just right.”

Producer Katherine agreed: “If you’ve seen the landscape of Scotland, there’s the Highlands and the Lowlands and the heather and the moss and the grass, the rivers and all the beauty of the country. We wanted to capture that and yet do it in a completely new way so that was one big challenge.”

When asked if they were anxious about the Scottish audience's reaction to the film, Katherine giggled: “We definitely wanted to do right by Scotland and I think we did enough research that we knew we’d gotten to something. We can’t know until you all see it whether you approve.”

Brave follows the courageous Princess Merida, voiced by Kelly Macdonald, on her journey to break the mould of tradition and defy an ancient custom in order to follow her own path in life. The decisions the flame-haired princess makes along the way on her quest to change her fate has chaotic consequences for the Kingdom. With the help of her troublesome triplet brothers, Merida must find a way to make things right before it’s too late.

Showing his love for the country where he even spent his honeymoon, Mark explained America’s fascination with Scotland.

“It’s rugged and it’s earthy and there’s something that’s just really captivating about that. If anybody comes over here, you feel a connection whether you’re Scottish or not, to this land, it’s on a primal level and I think that’s kind of catching.”

Katherine added: “I think also in America we don’t have castles on every corner, we don’t have rugged landscapes, we have wonderful, beautiful things in America but this is captivating, it gets into your soul.”

Brave is out in cinemas around the UK now.


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