Pixar has a leading lady at last

Pixar’s Brave opened this weekend after years of planning and production (and months of successful merchandising). It’s the story of a headstrong teenaged archer/princess named Katniss Ariel Jasmine Merida who defies her mother in order to find her own way. I was surprised to learn that it’s Pixar’s first movie with a female lead character. In its 17-year history, there have been plenty of memorable female characters, but none have been the lead until now.

36-year-old Scottish actress Kelly Macdonald was tabbed with the honor of voicing the young princess, and by all accounts does an admirable job. Macdonald had to channel her inner eye-rolling, teenaged brat in order to do it, and joked on NPR’s Morning Edition that she was afraid of her own mother seeing the movie because of all of the adolescent attitude she called on to depict friction with her onscreen mother, voiced by Emma Thompson.

Listen to the interview here.

If I were to  make a list of my favorite Pixar female characters from a voice performance perspective, It would include Violet Parr (Sarah Vowel) and Helen Parr (Holly Hunter) from The Incredibles, Dory (Ellen Degeneres) from Finding Nemo, and Jessie (Joan Cusack) From Toy Story 2 and 3.

I’d love to hear your thoughts — who am I forgetting? Let me know who’s on your list in the comments (“Leave a Reply”) section.

Watch a trailer for Brave

and another one.

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