Scotland hopes for tourism boost from new Disney movie
Scottish tourism hoping for repeat of Braveheart bounce with Brave release
Tourist bosses in Scotland are hoping for a visitor bonanza after the new Pixar 3D film Brave, set in the Scottish Highlands, is released in the US in June. The film's spectacular trailer was launched in Los Angeles this week. The big hope is for a gala Scottish premiere and talks are said to be ongoing.
The movie's star Princess Merida, voiced by Kelly MacDonald, is said to be more an" anti-princess" rather than your regular royal family daughter.
That description comes from Mark Andrews, co-director of the Walt Disney cartoon epic.
The red-headed Scottish heroine Merida breaks new ground as an archery-loving girl on horseback in the Oscar-winning studio's first fairytale.
"She isn't your typical princess," said Mark. "She doesn't wear nice clothes except in a couple of scenes when her strict mum , Queen Elinor, (voiced by Emma Thompson) makes her do it for special functions.
"She's an active and action-oriented person. She wants to get out in the outdoors of the Highlands, escaping from castle life and exploring the woods."
The film is set in a spectacular medieval Scotland . In addition to Kelly and , Emma Thompson, Billy Connolly is Merida's one-legged father, King Fergus (leg bitten off by a bear) and Craig Ferguson, Kevin McKidd and Robbie Coltrane say their piece as the kingdom's noblemen.
Brave is the first Pixar film with a female heroine. But Andrews said "Brave" was less about girl power than the conflicted relationship between mother Elinor and her defiant daughter .
It is the first animated film part for Kelly, who has appeared in such movies as "Gosford Park" and "Finding Neverland." She visited Disneyland earlier this year and watched Disney princesses gallivanting during the afternoon parade, reported the San Jose Mercury News.
"I just thought, 'My goodness! There's eventually going to be a Merida doing her thing up there,'" said Kelly.
"The people that they cast to be the characters and wear the costumes at Disneyland have to do the accent, so somebody at Disneyland is going to be doing me. Some American girl will have to do my Scottish accent. It kind of blows my mind."
The film is a reunion for Glasgow girl Kelly and Kevin McKidd, now a doc in Grey’s Anatomy. Both appeared in Trainspotting.
Andrews described Brave as “an epic adventure full of action, humour and heart. There’s no more perfect setting for this powerful tale than the dark and rugged Scottish Highlands. Imagine: magic, mystery and danger—all set within a haunting and beautiful landscape.
Tourist bosses in Edinburgh are hoping for a repeat of the Braveheart bounce when visitor numbers leapt as the movie starring Mel Gibson as William Wallace won best film at the Oscars.
Mike Cantlay, chairman of VisitScotland said: “We’re absolutely thrilled about Brave. Pixar simply don’t make bad films and for one of their films to be set entirely in the Highlands represents a massive opportunity for Scotland.
"As such, we’re already discussing with Pixar and Disney a potential partnership when the film is released.
"Scotland is still seeing the benefit of Braveheart which was released more than 15 years ago and Brave could be just as big. The sky really is the limit.”
A Visit Scotland spokesman confirmed that talks had been held in Edinburgh between VisitScotland and Pixar. "Pixar are really behind this film in a big way. They are very excited about it."