Pixar chose ancient Scotland as the setting of its new movie Brave, the studio's first feature to star a female lead. I was lucky enough to travel to modern Edinburgh, Scotland, to see the film and interview the stars and filmmakers this month. Brave is about Merida, a young princess who resents her mother's misguided attempts to marry her off to one of three chosen suitors. But as a headstrong teenager, Merida acts rashly to contradict her mother's wishes and puts her mom — the queen — and the kingdom at risk.
While in Scotland, I learned a bit about Scottish traditions, like clan fighting, and even got to test my skills at archery, a sport Princess Merida excels at in the film. The heritage of Merida's homeland is a crucial part of the redheaded heroine's story, and being in Scotland made me more connected to the character's independence and authenticity. Pixar's animators expertly capture the luscious and rolling countryside of Scotland, which I got to see in person. And as she rides alone on her horse, Merida's wild, fiery mane contrasts beautifully against the many shades of green. We get the picture that she's not afraid to stand out.
Before Brave hits theaters on Friday, take a look at my snapshots from the press trip to Scotland.