Kelly Macdonald as Merida
Emmy Award® winner Kelly Macdonald voices Brave’s lead character Merida, Pixar’s first female protagonist. A rambunctious, talented teen archer whose temperament can occasionally be as fiery as her flowing locks, Macdonald gives her character an innate strength and unique Scottish sensibilities, as the auburn-haired teen tussles with fate.
Head-strong, with a love for exploring the vast beauty of the Highlands on her horse Angus, Merida often rebels against the royal obligations put on her by her mother. Yet after defying an ancient custom, Merida is forced to race against time to put things right; a mission that puts her on a path of mythic destiny.
Best known for her roles in Trainspotting and Martin Scorsese’s hit HBO period drama Boardwalk Empire, Macdonald has built up an impressive body of work.
Whether working with Danny Boyle in the iconic Edinburgh black comedy or the Coen Brothers in her critically heralded performance in No Country for Old Men, she brings an arresting presence to every part. Her turn in Brave is likely to be as captivating as the incredible Highland scenery Pixar’s talented artists have recreated.
Billy Connolly as King Fergus
The utterly inimitable Glasgow comic voices a character of equal stature in Brave’s heroic King Fergus. Father to Merida, the mighty, near Munro-sized lord lost his leg in a battle with the ferocious demon bear Mor’du. Holding a grudge against the brute, Fergus has since become an unrelenting hunter. The only thing he loves more than mounting new trophies on his wall is regaling folk with his tales of bear-battling bravery.
Brought to life by Billy Connolly, Fergus is not the first animated character the comedian known as ‘Big Yin’ in his homeland has voiced. In 1995 he lent his larynx to Disney’s enchanting, eco-conscious Pocahontas.
Best known for his legendary standup performances, Connolly has also carved a respected path in Hollywood, appearing in hits like The Last Samurai, Muppets’ Treasure Island and Gulliver’s Travels. With such legendary comic vibrancy Connelly is sure to make King Fergus unforgettable.
Kevin McKidd as Lord MacGuffin and Young MacGuffin
With a career that encapsulates hit US medical dramas, cult werewolf films set in the Highlands and the highest grossing video game of all time, Kevin McKidd is the perfect fit for the bombastic brawn of Lord MacGuffin. A fair and even-handed lord with a bellowing voice, he’s still not above a sizeable scrap when the mood takes. In contrast, his son Young MacGuffin is a restrained lad whose few words come in a regional dialect few of his friends can understand.
In voicing both roles McKidd had the opportunity to bring some of his Inverness upbringing to bear. Young MacGuffin’s distinct speaking style was inspired by McKidd’s grandfather who spoke Doric, a dialogue sometimes heard in the northeast of Scotland.
Thanks to a career that spans his recurring role as Captain Soap MacTavish in the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare series of games, the vastly popular Grey’s Anatomy and HBO’s sweeping production of Rome, McKidd has plenty of experience starring in productions of Brave’s grandeur.
Craig Ferguson as Lord Macintosh and Young Macintosh
Since 2005 Craig Ferguson has been a mainstay of American television with The Late, Late Show, and the multitalented actor, author and comedian is sure to leave his mark playing Brave’s Macintosh family. A couple of off-kilter kilt-wearers, both Macintosh and his son sport Braveheart-style blue war paint, boasting brash personalities, but also good hearts at their core.
Though best known for his popular chat show, Ferguson has enjoyed a varied career. His comedic timing was perfectly showcased in his role on The Drew Carey Show, while his memoir America on Purpose quickly became a New York Times bestseller. With a beguiling comic craft Ferguson’s roles in Brave will be an undoubted highlight of Pixar’s latest adventure.
Robbie Coltrane as Lord Dingwall and Wee Dingwall
One of Scotland’s best loved actors, Robbie Coltrane will bring over 30 years of screen experience to his parts playing the Dingwalls in Brave. Capturing audiences’ imaginations with his seminal turn in TV’s Cracker, Coltrane’s characters are occasionally ill-tempered, diminutive clan leaders. Though Dingwall and his son might be short in stature, neither has a Napoleon complex, with father always willing to unleash his wee lad like a trained attack dog.
The man behind their cantankerous, animated Scottish tones barely needs an introduction. Playing roles as varied as The Pope to Rubeus Hagrid (Harry Potter’s fantastical eight foot-tall friend) over a near 40 year career, Robbie Coltrane will bring both gravitas and laughs to his tiny tartan men.
Emma Thompson as Queen Elinor
While she might be best known for playing prim and proper ladies of English aristocracy, Emma Thompson is actually half Scottish. Daughter of Glasgow-born actress Phyllida Law, the multi Oscar® winner voices Brave’s Queen Elinor. Mother to tempestuous teenage hero Merida, she’s the diplomatic foil to her husband Fergus.
With her time spent equally trying to keep the peace between the kingdom’s volatile clans and guiding a boisterous daughter keen to buck family tradition, Elinor doesn’t exactly have a quiet life.
In 1992 Thompson, who often lives in Scotland for three or four months every year, won her first Academy Award® in her breakthrough role as Margaret Schlegel in Howards End. She won her next golden man for her adapted screenplay of Sense and Sensibility. Since then, she’s gone onto become one of Britain’s most respected actresses, amassing a near peerless filmography. And she’s sure to bring an appropriately regal quality to Brave’s majestic monarch.