Brave star Emma Thompson “couldn’t live” without Scotland

Working on Scottish-themed animation Brave was a dream come true for renowned actress Emma Thompson, the star revealed to STV’s Grant Lauchlan during a recent interview for the new Disney Pixar tale.

Half-Scottish Emma spends around five months a year living up north, so working on the animated spectacular, which is based in the country’s beautiful Highlands, and getting the chance to perfect her mock-Scots accent was like a working holiday for the star.

“I’m up four or five months of the year, we live up there as well and my husband prefers living up there, he much prefers it. We have our own bar for crying out loud…it’s just one of those place we’re happiest,” Emma revealed to STV’s movie man Grant.

She added: “If it weren’t overrun with midges and rain it would be overrun with tourists which would be good in one sense, but also kind of not, and not in others, so you’ve got to be grateful for certain aspects.

“But it’s the best part of me that was born and bred in the heather, and in the streams, and the hills. I couldn’t live without Scotland, I simply couldn’t.”

Emma plays the mother of feisty Princess Merida in the new Disney Pixar tale, which tells the story of a young, headstrong woman who won’t let anyone else dictate her future - particularly not her fearsome mum.

Speaking about the character, Emma said: “She’s [Merida] got a heap of problems but they also have a really strong relationship, so this big problem is really about her wanting her daughter to do something she doesn’t want to do, or at least she doesn’t want to do it in the way her mum wants her to do it.

“It’s that moment in time between parent and child where neither one is really listening to the other, so they’re so used to that same old same old, and so because of this sudden break in communication there is a huge rupture in their relationship, which because the relationship is so close proves to be catastrophic.

"Everybody will relate to it because it’s about growing up, its about being a parent and being human."

So as a parent herself, is she worried about keeping her own darling daughter Gaya in check?

“I don’t want her to be a good girl particularly,” Emma revealed, adding: “I don’t want her to screw up her life, I don’t want her to become a junkie put it that way. As long as she doesn’t become a junkie I’m fine, that’s what really worries me.”  

Speaking about the creative process that goes into making an animated tale click, Emma admitted that while it might seem like an easy gig, there's a lot more that goes into it than most people realise.

“You do one or two recordings for a few days maybe once or twice a year, so it’s a long-term gig but with short bursts. But the actual work itself is curiously demanding because you’re not on set, you’re not in costume, you’re not in makeup, you’re not with actors. There’s a camera running but it’s you just and a microphone and you have to make it believable.

“You have to inhabit that world and there’s none of it there, nothing, so the act of imagination…you have to use every bit of creativity and imagination at your disposal. So it’s both things – it’s easy in terms of time and commitment and all that sorts of thing, but difficult creatively.”

Brave is out in Scottish cinemas just now and will hit the rest of the UK from August 13.

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