1. COSTUMES — In the Movie BRAVE, Merida has a total of 22 different costumes. She has five dresses, a cloak, hand wrap and necklace, as well as torn dresses! King Fergus, Merida’s dad, wears nine different simulated garments at the same time! Each has its own movement that must be “simulated” by algorithms in the computer. To achieve the mass of Fergus’s kilt, the drape going across his chest has eight layers of cloth folded over and interacting with each other and other garments. The left, right and back sides of the drape have six layers each.
Queen Elinor, Merida’s mom, wears an emerald dress in the film. To develop the look, the art department took actual matte silk fabric samples and painted metallic colors onto the fabric, adding other subtle embellishments.
2. CHARACTERS — Merida is passionate and fiery. She’s a headstrong teenager of royal upbringing who is struggling to take control of her own destiny. She feels most at home in the outdoors honing her impressive athletic skills as an archer and sword-fighter, and racing with her horse, Angus. Queen Elinor (mom), is a vision of grace, wisdom and strength of character. She is dedicated to the well being of her family and kingdom since her husband, King Fergus, is more impulsive. King Fergus (dad), is the protector of his kingdom and family. He is a heroic warrior with a majestic bear cape, broad sword and a knobby peg leg. The identical triplets are Merida’s siblings. They are adorable, red-headed and are always ready to stir up a bit of mischief. Angus is Merida’s powerful horse and confidant. The Lords of the kingdom — Dingwall, Macintosh and MacGuffin — are the unruly, overzealous leaders of their respective clans.
3. HAIR — Hair was a very important factor in this film. Did you know that if Merida’s curls were straightened, her hair would be four feet long and reach the middle of her calf? Insane! Merida has more than 1500 individually sculpted, curly red strands that generate about 111,700 total hairs. Her mother’s hair would be about six feet, six inches long if it were unwrapped.
Another unknown fact is that more than 100 unique hair/facial hair combinations used in “BRAVE” for human characters and animals. Each variant can appear in any of nine different colors, creating more than 900 hairstyle/color variants.
4. CASTLE — Here’s another cool fact — No other Pixar film before “BRAVE” has had a castle in it, so the DunBroch castle had to be designed from the ground up, inside and out. The production team visited, researched and studied a number of castles for reference. The DunBroch Castle was inspired by several other castles, most notably Eilean Donan Castle in the Highlands and Dunnottar Castle, located just south of Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire.
5. LOCATION — To get inspiration and ideas for the movie BRAVE, the production team took two research trips to Scotland. While the modern-day country does not reflect the ancient time period seen in the film, team members visited landmarks locations and attended select events to get a flavor for the current culture, and observe how much of Scotland’s ancient history and tradition is still present.
6. MAGIC OR MYTH — In Scotland, there is a natural phenomenon of swamp and bog gasses that seep up through the earth, and are blue in color like the flame of the pilot light. Scottish lore says that some people would follow these lights, thinking they were little fairies. The production team took this myth and created the “will ‘ the wisps” in “BRAVE.” The will o’ the wisps light a path and beckon Merida into the forest, leading her to change her fate.
7. ROCKS — The Callanish Standing Stones on the Isle of Lewis are one of the oldest of Scotland’s mysterious wonders. They provided reference for the mysterious ring of stones Merida discovers in “BRAVE.”
8. STORY BOARDS — For each story boarding scene, there are approximately 200-500 drawings which take 3-5 days to complete. 81,833 is the amount of drawings that were completed and delivered to the editorial team. Total story boards: 111,394! 100 scenes drawn and only 35 are in final film. Crazy but cool fact!
9. SIMULATION — There is simulation work (computer simulated movement) in 96 percent of all shots on “BRAVE.” Ninety-six is an unusually high amount for a Pixar film — the studio’s simulation team was especially brave taking on such a challenge.
10. TIME — Do you know that the movie BRAVE was first started in 2005? Yes indeed. It’s amazing to know that an animated movie can take so long but they certainly got it right. It’s true when they say good things come to those who wait.
*All photos copyrighted. Property of Pixar Studios.
Disclosure: Disney provided an all-expense paid trip to San Fransisco, California for three days for the Disney/Pixar Event. All opinions are all my own, as always.