'Brave's' Kelly Macdonald on Her Character Merida: 'She Makes Her Own Trouble' (Video)

The "Boardwalk Empire" actress, who tells THR she didn't have a lot of familiarity with Disney princesses, voices Pixar’s first heroine in the upcoming Disney film.

Kelly Macdonald, who voices Merida, the red-headed heroine of Pixar/Disney’s Brave, isn’t very familiar with the Disney princesses of the past. But the one fictional leading lady she did look up to happens to have a lot of the qualities that Merida is bringing to the screen.

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“As far as Disney princess go, I had watched Snow White, but I don’t think I’ve seen any others,” she tells The Hollywood Reporter. “The figure I looked up to was Calamity Jane.”

Macdonald points out that Calamity Jane and Merida, the Scottish princess who bucks tradition in Pixar’s film, are more similar than not.

“She’s out on a horse, she’s a bit of a tomboy, but she sings songs,” says the Scottish actress. “Thankfully Merida doesn’t sing.”

While Merida may not sing, Macdonald, who plays Margaret Schroeder on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, had plenty of other challenges to overcome while voicing her character.

The story follows Merida as she makes a wish to change her fate, that ends up having terrible consequences. Merida is then forced to use her bravery and skills as an archer to right a terrible wrong.

Merida’s journey is quiet an adventure, which required Macdonald to voice a lot of physical moments, such as running into branches while riding a horse.

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“At the end of the session, there would just be a page of noises I would have to go through one by one,” says Macdonald. “So I would be standing silently in front of the mic, just trying to get my head around what that might be like. It’s definitely a challenge.”

Pixar’s 13th film is the first to feature a female heroine. Macdonald tells THR she liked Merida’s “energy and her feistiness.”

“I also liked that she gets it wrong. She makes her own mistakes and then she doesn’t need a prince charming to come and makes things better,” she says.  “She makes her own trouble, and then she gets herself out of that trouble, and I think that’s a very good message.”

Brave opens in theaters on June 22.

Watch THR's full interview with Kelly Macdonald above.

Email: Rebecca.ford@thr.com; Twitter: @Beccamford

Video by Spencer Byam-Taylor and Victor Klaus.