Mark Andrews is just the kind of kick-ass director whose ideas can’t be pigeon-holed and contained in a box. And that’s kinda the Pixar way where vibrant ideas are embraced and block-buster movies are born. And on June 22nd, Brave will hit theaters and I had the opportunity to speak with Andrews during a Disney/Pixar trip in April.
Here’s a bit of the transcript!
“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 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
As a storyteller (and) 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.
Was there Pressure to have the First Female Pixar Lead character?
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.
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.
Brave is the story of Merida, a skilled archer and impetuous daughter of King Fergus (voice of Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (voice of Emma Thompson). Determined to carve her own path in life, Merida defies an age-old custom sacred to the uproarious lords of the land: massive Lord MacGuffin (voice of Kevin McKidd), surly Lord Macintosh (voice of Craig Ferguson) and cantankerous Lord Dingwall (voice of Robbie Coltrane). Merida’s actions inadvertently unleash chaos and fury in the kingdom, and when she turns to an eccentric old Wise Woman (voice of Julie Walters) for help, she is granted an ill-fated wish. The ensuing peril forces Merida to discover the meaning of true bravery in order to undo a beastly curse before it’s too late.
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