Check out this interview with KMK and his “Brave” co-stars at the movie’s press day on June 18th.
Q :We all know the Disney Princess franchise is huge.
Q :Number one, what was your first feeling when you knew you were going to be the newest Disney Princess? And secondly, do you have any plans to continue with the voice of Merida in any future projects, whether they be toys or more films?
KELLY :Um, I, ah, um, attention to detail is not my strong point and – and I have, it – it quickly passed my by that I was going to be the first female protagonist in a, in a Pixar movie until quite recently, until, really until I started doing interviews. Um, and I – I’m kind of glad that I didn’t know what I was doing, because it would have been a lot of pressure. But, um, it, I don’t think, I – I don’t think I personally have watched a Pixar movie and – and felt – felt wronged in that there wasn’t a female protagonist. I think that, you know, they make films about fish, and toys, and robots, and, you know, and there’s some really strong female characters in those films and in the INCREDIBLES and – and Jessie from TOY STORY. So I never felt like I was, um, missing out on that. But I am very, I feel very privileged having said all that, I am very privileged. And what was the second part?
Q :Are you continuing with the voice in any future parts?
KELLY :No, I – I mean, I – I – I’ve been doing, ah, there is kinds of kids games, Leapfrog games and – and video games. I actually did more voice work on the video game then I did in the actual movie.
CRAIG :Disney is so powerful that Kelly no longer owns her own voice. [Laughs]. So, ah, as she speaks to you now, she begins to owe the Disney Corporation money.
KELLY :Money. Yeah. [Laughs]
CRAIG :I will now answer all of her questions. [Laughs]
Q : Oh, thank you. Kelly, first of all, I’m sorry. Two things, are you the go to girl now for Scottish heroines?
CRAIG :Scottish heroin.
KELLY :I know, Scottish heroin. I don’t know where you heard that nasty rumor, ah, no.
Q : But to what extent could you identify with this character? I mean, was there any aspect of it that you could relate to?
KELLY :I think what you, I wasn’t, I wasn’t Merida-like when I was a teenager. I was, I was, she’s very adventurous and outdoorsy and energetic, and I was not. I was indoorsy and, um, just not. Um, but I – I was a teenage girl, so that was the – the thing that I can, ah, I, ah, zoned in on really. I, like I – I, you know, it’s that all teenagers are awful, but teenage girls are kind of worst I think, than teenage boys.
Q : What about her rebelliousness?
KELLY :What about her rebelliousness?
Q : Can you relate to that?
KELLY :No, well, I, my mom was really, I could have done with a bit more of that to be honest, something to rebel against. I didn’t really, she was very, um, easy-going and I didn’t have much to rebel against. I kind of, you know, I moved, I moved, I moved away from home when I was 17 and that was fine. And, you know, I – I made my own choices quite early on.
Q : For all three of you, great performances. I just wanted to ask you, most of the time in animation, the voice actors go into a booth by themselves and the director is there and someone’s there feeding them lines and so forth. Did any of you have an opportunity to work either with each other in the booth or with anyone else during the whole process.
KEVIN :No, no, not at all. I mean, everyone was in different areas of the country and parts of the world. So there wasn’t, it was a shame, but I think (Producer) Katherine Sarafian so often says that, we never would’ve gotten any work done if we were all in the same room, you know.
KELLY :That’s true.
KEVIN :Um, but no, it was a shame we didn’t get a chance to do sessions together, but no we didn’t.
KELLY :Did they normally do that, I don’t know if that’s the norm?
KEVIN :Don’t know.
KELLY :I think, I think it, I think it’s the norm when, that you’re on your own.
KELLY :And – and you concentrate on that one – one voice.
Q : So how was it being solo rather than working with some people?
KEVIN :It’s great because it’s all about you. [Laughs] You know, because …
CRAIG :I think, I think it’s nice because you make the movie in your head …
CRAIG :… while you’re doing it. You can, you can work when you, you know, you close your eyes and – and see the film in your head and just participate in it. And what the interesting thing about this film is when – when I saw the film, after I had seen it in my head, it – it was better. Um, [Laughs], which – which means that Pixar, are – are better than me at making [Laughs], ah, animated films. But I – I think, I think that that’s not going to be news, you know.
Q : So we all know animation is a long process that takes many years and the story continually develops through that. How did your characters change as the story developed?
KELLY :Well I – I – I – I’m kind of the late comer to the – the movie. I, I mean, they started making this seven years ago and I’ve only been involved for the past sort of 18 months. So I think I, I think they pretty much had Merida down and knew what that, what was going on there. But I think you probably had more experience.
KEVIN :Um-hum. Yeah.
CRAIG :Well, ah, Kevin’s character, um, changed a lot, you’ve been on for a long time.
KEVIN :Yeah, I was, I was, I started I think four years ago and Young MacGuffin, I was only cast as Young MacGuffin to start with. And then at that time he was going to end up winning Merida’s hand in marriage. And then the story …
KELLY :I didn’t know that.
KEVIN :Yes, but …
CRAIG :But no one would’ve believed that. That’s what I’m saying. Once you got, once you got … See this is why we have to work as separately. [Laughs] Because … [Laughs]
KEVIN :Exact, and so, but, the shift, I think it was a good shift, you know …
KELLY :Right… because of the whole point, the whole message is that – that this protagonist is – is – is as you said, I’m going to find you one in my own sweet time, you know? And, um, so I was guided that poor Young MacGuffin didn’t get to win the hand of Merida. But, um, I think for the greater good of the, of the film and the, and the message it was a good thing. Um, and Lord MacGuffin was always kind of as he was based on a grumpy big proud old man, you know.
Q : This is for all three of you. I want you to think long and hard about this. If you could turn your mom into an animal, what animal would you choose to follow in their footsteps?
KEVIN :Wow. [Laughs] Okay.
KELLY :Careful now.
CRAIG :I – I – I would …
Q : Well you couldn’t actually turn her into it, but you could help see the ground work of it.
CRAIG :So you could sort of be involved in a conspiracy to turn your mother into a … [Laughs] I don’t, I don’t think, I – I don’t think I would ever have done that.
KELLY :No, uh-huh.
CRAIG :I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t have thought my relationship would have been improved by her having claws. [Laughs]
KELLY :I agree.
KELLY :Oh, I – I can’t even think of an animal that, I mean, she she’s a homebody, my mom. I would, I would, I think I would turn her into a cat, because I think she would be very happy.
KELLY :In front of the fire.
KEVIN :I don’t know what I would turn my mom into. [Laughs] But it all feels like every answer’s going to be bad. Um …
KEVIN :Ah, yeah. I mean, turn her into a beautiful hummingbird, so she could fly and be free, there you go, so, yeah.
CRAIG :Oh, yeah, that’s very nice, yeah.
KEVIN :My mom will like that. [Noise] [Laughs]
CRAIG :I’ll be alright, I’ll be alright, I’ll be alright. [Laughs]
KEVIN :I’ll give you my real answer later.
Q : Given the way that North American actors tend to mangle Scottish accents when they play Scottish parts, going back to, “I cannot do it captain,” do you all feel gratified that this is a cast of people mostly doing their own accents? And are your voices in the film close to your speaking voices?
CRAIG :I didn’t understand a word of that. [Laughs]
Q : I’m very sorry. Most …
CRAIG :No, no, no, no, no, no. [Laughs] I think it, I think it’s – it’s very, I think it’s just like a sign of the times. I think the world is different than it was maybe 20, 30 years ago, when, ah, regional accents were a very exotic and odd thing. But – but, you know, with – with, ah, the internet and with the YouTube and with, you know, with all the different, ah, communication systems that exist in the world, I think regional accents are, people’s ears are much more tuned to – to authenticity and accents now. And I think that’s part of the smart planning of – of this film. The, and also, if you’re going to make a film about Scotland, it’s probably a good idea to have Scottish people. [Laughs]
KELLY :But also, I, having, ah, I – I am Scottish, and I also read things that have said that I have a terrible Scottish accent. So – so …
KELLY :Yeah. What people don’t know, they don’t know, you know. It’s like, um, yeah, so.
Q : I’m still hoping that by the end of this press conference we’ll all get kilts. My question is, you know, how Pixar is always famous for going to the place and research the place really well, like they did with UP, and they did the same thing here for BRAVE. Did you give your contribution to Chapman and Andrews about the looks and the vibe for the film? Like, oh we don’t do that in Scotland, or characters, or anything like that? Did you give any suggestions or any inputs to it?
KEVIN :Well, you know, the film was very well formed by the time I – I joined it. And the story was pretty much set and all that stuff. So they just, I think they just wanted us to really bring our voice, you know, you voices into, and to – to, they were very open to us in, you know, they said, this is the line of dialogue. And we’d say, yeah, we could say it that way, but it would be more natural, or a Scottish person would say it more like this. Or it could be funnier if you say it this way. So they were very open to us, you know, changing things and giving them different options. You know, as far as, the look of it, I think they had all that stuff sorted.
CRAIG :Yeah, they – they – they kind of know what they’re doing. I think it would be a bad idea to, as a voice actor, to run over to Pixar and tell them it doesn’t look very good. [Laughs] I – I don’t know, I don’t know how long you would be working there. [Laughs]
KEVIN :Yeah. [Laughs]
KELLY :Also I – I think the filmmakers have seen more of Scotland than I’ve seen it.
CRAIG :They’ve been around a lot.
KELLY :Yeah, they’ve seen a lot.
CRAIG : They’ve seen a lot of it, yeah.
Q : I think you may need to stand up so they can see you.
KELLY :Oh, hello.
Q : This is for Kelly. What’s the best part about playing Princess Merida?
KELLY :The best part is that, um, I had so much fun. I got to play, um, I got to play this part that I would never get to play in a live action film. Because I’m not a teenager and, um, I got to be really cheeky and obnoxious to my mom, which was quite fun. Um …
KELLY :Yeah, I – I, it was just, it was just the most fun I – I – I’ve ever had at work without having to wear a costume and get my hair done.
Q : This is for Kevin. How did you go about developing two distinct tonal influences for the two voices that you’re doing?
KEVIN :Yeah. Well, I started as Young MacGuffin and, um, it took us a while because they wanted the Young MacGuffin to be kind of that, you know, nobody could understand a word he says in the film because his Scot-, his accent’s so thick. And we started messing about with this sort of made up words and all that. And, um, and that didn’t seem to work, and I suggest this dialect which is from my area in Scotland called the Doric, which my grandfather spoke and it’s a very thick, almost Norwegian style, um, dialect, you know, that’s quite strange. And, um, so I did that and then we started going, well you’re going, and then they offered me Young, Lord MacGuffin, the older character, the dad. And I, we started doing sessions where I do both of at the same time and I ended up just sort of meeting somewhere in the middle, kind of neither, between a rock and a hard place. So we just had to kind of, we’d do it in the mornings with Lord MacGuffin because my, because I’ve just woken up and my voice was all … And then after lunch we would do Young MacGuffin was the – the thing we landed on. Um, and, you know, I just kind of like basically channeled my dad for Lord MacGuffin, because he’s grumpy and old and I’ve channeled myself, um, as a Young, because I was a very, very painfully shy, um, boy. Um, that’s why I became an actor. So I channeled that painfully shy, young boy that I was.
Q : Is there a network of Scottish people in Hollywood? Do you guys get together and read stories? [Laughs]
CRAIG :We can’t tell you that. [Laughs] Or we’d have to kill you. (inaudible). [Laughs].
Q : This is for all three of you. I know we’ve talked a lot about the voice work, I mean, you’ve captured the essence of these characters. My question is, during the voice work, did you know or have a feeling, and when was that, that this film was special?
KELLY :I think as soon as I was asked to – to go in and meet some people from Pixar, I mean, just the name Pixar, you know it’s going to be special. And so, I had no doubt in my mind that the finished product was going to be, ah, just really special and – and – and cutting edge, you know, that – that – that’s the great thing about Pixar, is like every movie that they bring out is like the most cutting edge technology. And, um, but you look back at the films, and TOY STORY was, ah, 15 years ago and you don’t, you don’t look back and think, oh, if they had the technology they have now it could be such a better film. It’s still, it stands up and it – it – it’s extraordinary, what they do is extraordinary and to think that comes from the, from the top John Lasseter is a very special man and – and just the, um, it’s just people that love their jobs and do their jobs very well.
Q : But it’s more than just the creative, I mean, it’s more than the creative, the voice work was phenomenal and was there a moment when you were in the booth that you knew, you had a special feeling, or you knew that this would turn out to be something great, all of you?
CRAIG :I don’t know, I don’t know how productive it would be to – to have that special feeling while you’re doing the work. You know, I think that it would be counterproductive. I – I think it’s better to – to do, ah, particularly in – in an environment where so much of what, of what the performance is, is not you, you know, you do the voice and you have that. But there are so many things that are outside of your control. So trust is involved. When – when you see the name, when you, when the name Pixar is on the offer, what it is, it’s not really an offer, it’s more of summons.
KELLY :Yeah, um-hum, yeah.
KEVIN :Um-hum, yeah, yeah.
CRAIG :It’s like Pixar requires your presence in this film.
CRAIG :And you go or you’re a fool, you know.
CRAIG :And so that’s kind of like what happens, is that, they’ve earned that right by the – the, they’re, by – by what they’ve done. And so, what I, what I think the special feeling, if you have any special feeling, ah, but it’s not a, you know, any kind of judgment on your own performance, but other than – than – than realizing what these people have done, trusting that they will be able to do it again, and letting them. And that’s really what it is, it’s really trust if there’s any emotion involved.
KEVIN :Um-hum. Yeah, no …
Q : I’d like to ask Craig, could you contrast this experience on BRAVE with doing Gobbler in HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON?
CRAIG :I – I could …
Q : Are they very different or the same?
CRAIG :Well, um, it’s a different person, ah, ah, it’s a different person, so – so – so that’s different, but the technique of doing it is – is much the same. Ah, the – the – the, ah, you know, it’s not the biggest stretch in the world to go from one Scottish speaking character to another Scottish speaking character. But – but that’s – that’s kind of, ah, I assume that’s why they asked me to do it, you know. But, um, the contrast if any, I think was the, ah, the personality of the character involved.
CRAIG :It was a different personality. That’s really what it is.
Q : A lot of fun on both then?
CRAIG :Oh, lots of fun. I – I was always kind of interested in the accent work when I did the – the character before the Viking character with the Scottish accent that, many of you people over here said, how come the Viking sounds Scottish? And no one said, how come the Young Viking sounds American? No one asked me that? [Laughs]
Q : Kevin, sorry, I need to go here, but Grey’s has such a disastrous ending with losing little Grey and all that. Can you talk a little bit about the deaths in the cast? And since your one of the few characters who knows he has his job, you weren’t on the plane and you didn’t finish your Residency, what do you hope for the next season?
KEVIN :Well, you know, it’s – it’s, it was a really dramatic finale. I mean, they’re – they’re brilliant writers on that show, you know, they really know how to grab people and keep them especially in their finales and their season premieres. You know, they, you know, they’re killing people off, having planes crash, I amazed that, you know, a plane crashing into a mountain side and only that many people died, you know, it’s like. Um, but they really do a great job and it was, it was sad to see Chyler Leigh go, you know, um, very sad. And it, we don’t know, I mean, I don’t know what’s going to happen next.
KEVIN :I mean, they – they keep their scripts very close to their chest, we start back shooting through, in three weeks, four weeks’ time. So, I could tell you more then, but, I mean, I know as far as what the premiere’s going to be, it’s going to be pretty intense, you know? Um, I mean, it’s going to, it’s a real game changer, you know, doing something like that to a show, killing people and making people go through a trauma like that, it’s a game changer. So, it be, it’ll be fun to see where we all go there, you know.
Q : Hi there. To expand a little bit on what you were talking about, Craig and also for the both of you. In addition to these two characters, you brought Al to back to live in such a wonderful way. Are you finding animated characters to be any more complex, layered, more interesting to you than real life characters? And for you guys like of the same way. I guess you’ve done more animated than the other two right?
KELLY :I’ve done, nothing. This is my first. Yeah.
CRAIG :I think that, I – I think that it – it – it’s good for me because I’m not a very good actor. So what I do is … [Laughs] I – I don’t get in my own way. I, what I’ll do is, I’ll do the voice. I’m pretty good at voices and then people who are good at acting can draw in good acting. So – so I – I do the voice and then they draw in good acting. Because I may, I – I think I get in my way, I think I would get in my way with a lot of that. Plus, I have a day job and so I can’t go and make a film. I can go to the Valley and for a couple of hours and work on one, but I can’t, I can’t go away and make a film, I can’t go on location, I can’t, I can’t do any of that.
CRAIG :Not that anyone is asking me, but I, but even – even [Laughs]. Beware, you know, I – I – I’m not, I’m not available, so don’t even bother. You know, so, but that – that’s what I think is. Also, the thing that is about it, that – that I like about it, is that you’re not limited, and – and Kelly said this, you’re not limited by who you are physically.
CRAIG :You know, you can play anybody and anything. So – so the world that, the worlds and the, and the – the opportunities that are available to you as an actor, are – are expanded by just working only with your voice. Not, they’re not lessened, it – it – it’s, there’s, you can do anything and be anywhere. And we have a tradition where we are from, I don’t know if you did much, but – but certainly Kevin and – and I did radio work.
CRAIG :In Scotland and you, and you do that when you start out, or you certainly you used to, and doing radio drama, radio comedy it – it’s kind of, it’s very similar to what we do here I think.
Q : I wanted to ask, I believe the theme of the movie is taking control of your destiny or whatever. Is it something in your life that was kind of out of control for a bit that you took control over?
KELLY :Are you asking that to Kevin? I think she’s asking you that.
KEVIN :Ah, yeah, I mean, I guess, I was from a wee town in the northeast of Scotland and, you know, and there was nobody up there that, I think I was about eight or nine when I suddenly wanted to do this crazy acting thing. And I had no clue how to ever pursue that up there, you know, there was no theater, you know, national theater in Scotland or anything up there, you know, there’s sheep, and, ah, fields …
CRAIG :And they’re a very tough crowd. [Laughs]
KEVIN :Exactly. And so, yeah, it was like, you know, I kind of just had to really take matters into my own hands and sort of really doggedly pursue this thing, which I tried to eventually – managed to get to be lucky enough to get to do. So, yeah, I mean, I think the message is a very powerful one for young people. Um, because I really took, you know, it’s like this – this kids who’s on one path, you know, I was going to be a plumber like my dad essentially and I manage, and I kind of changed that. Now there’s probably good sides and bad sides to me changing my own fate, you know.
CRAIG :Very difficult to get a good plumber in Los Angeles.
KEVIN : [Laughs] Exactly. So, you know, there, I think that’s another subtle message in the film that, do you really want to change your fate or not, you know, there’s always a payoff, you know.
Q : I want to know how you prepared yourself to do such wild character? And what is the wildest thing that you have done in your life?
KELLY :Oh, dear.
KEVIN :The wildest thing? [Laughs]
CRAIG :You have no idea, who you just asked. [Laughs] I – I can’t tell you even now, the wildest things that I’ve done in my life. But I, ah, I – I think that, ah, I think the preparation is done for you in a way that, in a sense that, I think that – that, movies are good if they’re cast well. Certainly, and what I think they have done, is they may have cast people who are likely in these roles. So, it’s not a huge leap for me to – to be this character in this film. I don’t think it’s an enormous leap for either the, of my two colleagues here to do the same thing. It’s about, it’s about you cast the right actor for the role and that, I think that’s – that’s 90 percent of the preparation right there. I get, you trust that they’ve done that. And you bring to whatever you have to it.
Q : Yeah. Kelly, did it make a difference in your performance to be aware of this character Merida, to have this curly hair, red hair?
KELLY :No, I – I mean, I, like I said, I – I – I became involved about a year and a half ago. So they had, you know, they knew what Merida was going to look like and – and, but I didn’t, you know, when I went in for my recording sessions, there wasn’t photos of … You know, I keep saying photos, like she’s a real person. Drawings of her, um, up in the sound studio or, you know, I didn’t think about it too much. It was very like, ah, Craig said, it was kind of you, I kind of forgot about that and just got on with the job in hand. And – and then and I, you know, I had it all in my head. And luckily, we had, ah, Mark Andrews at the helm, who’s the most energize – energetic kind of, ah, amazing presence. And he would bring it, would bring it to life and that really helped me actually. Um, but I didn’t think about the hair, I didn’t think about any of that stuff, um, for no particular reason. So when I saw the finished product, I was completely, it was, it was almost like a total surprise, you know.
Q : I actually had wanted to ask a accent question, but I don’t know if we’ve covered that ground way too much. So let me throw to another one. You didn’t get to work with him because of the nature of the making these, but I think that everyone that we’ve ever had a chance to interview, who’s related to Scotland, has stories about Billy Connolly and being impacted by him, probably over the last 25 years he’s had such influence. Can you talk a bit about that in the sense of even though you didn’t get to actually work with him directly, being in a film with him and what his humor has meant to you?
KEVIN :Wow, I mean, you know, I remember a few years ago, I think it was about 15, maybe 20 years ago, he did a tour of the north, of – of all the little villages halls and the whole Scotland. He went around and did all the kind of Town Halls of Scotland. And he came to my town Elgin and because I was this theater, oh, so sort of theater rat, you know, um, in Elgin. I got to do a follow spot for two nights in Elgin Town Hall.
KELLY :Oh, wow.
KEVIN :And I couldn’t keep the follow spot still because I was laughing so hard and the follow spot was going like that. And he started making jokes about me, you know, he was like, you up there, (inaudible) or stay still with the follow spot. He’s been, I mean, I, he’s like the god of, you know, the granddaddy of Scottish comedy and he’s been unbelievable and, you know, it’s, I’ve – I – I still haven’t properly met him. I’ve done his follow spot, but I still haven’t properly met him. [Laughs]
CRAIG :Billy would, Billy is, ah, ah, Elvis to me. Billy’s Jackie Robinson as far as I’m concerned. Billy changed the game. You know, when I was a kid, when I was at school, Billy released an album, a comedy album called Solo Concert. And now, if you listen to young black comedians talk about Richard Pryor, that’s who Billy is to me. You know, that – that just, I had never seen anyone do anything who sounded like me, who came from the same socioeconomic group as me and did that. I’d never seen that before.
CRAIG :I had seen English actors pretend to be Scottish. I had seen characters of Scottish people, but I had never seen anything like that. So – so Billy to me is like, you know, it’s something, I think John Lennon said before Elvis there was nothing, I think it was John Lennon that said that. And that’s kind of how I feel about Billy. Before Billy there was nothing, you know, I – I, it was, it was a – a different thing, it was, it was a different game. So in one sense he is, ah, um, ah, found of Billy, god. [Laughs]
KELLY :No, for me, I hurled myself at Billy Connolly when I first, I, he was in, he was doing a session when I first went in to read for the part, ah, Billy had just been doing a session before me. And, before – before I even knew what happened, I was like around his neck like a monkey. And I thought, what am I doing? [Laughs]. So, yeah, I, it’s not just a male thing.
KEVIN :Is he coming tonight?
KELLY :No, I don’t think so.
CRAIG :Don’t think so, I think he’s in Australia.
KELLY :We’re sort of past the halfway point, so (inaudible). She’s still alive, she’s alive, she’s alive
The more I read/hear about it, the more excited I get for this film!! Who’s with me?