Thursday, September 17, 2009

Pixar's First Fairy Tale: "The Bear and the Bow"

NOTE: If this post looks familiar, you are not seeing things. I'm re-posting it as I felt it got buried in other news a few days ago.

Pixar are busy working on their first fairy tale titled "The Bear and the Bow".

Apparently writer and director, Brenda Chapman*, loves Grimm's fairy tales and Hans Christian Andersen's tales. Her story is a combination of her love for those tales and a reflection on raising her daughter. (source:

The "Bear and the Bow" takes place in "a rugged and mythic Scotland", where Merida, a member of the royal family, decides to give up her family name for her dream of becoming an archer. Merida makes reckless choices, preferring to run wild through the Scottish highlands than put on a dress and behave herself at court, resulting in peril for her father's kingdom and her mother's life. "Merida struggles with the unpredictable forces of nature, magic and a dark, ancient curse to set things right." (quotes from
The characters made public so far are Princess Merida - whose hair is constantly tangled (voiced by Reese Witherspoon), King Fergus (Billy Connolly), Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson), a witch - who prefers to be called a wise woman - baddie (Julie Walters), a fifteen foot bear and Merida's younger triplet brothers.

Here's Reese Witherspoon on her character Merida(from
"I get offered a lot of animated movies… [then] Pixar came along with [a] great character. A girl from royalty who would rather be a great archer? And she has a Scottish accent? Who could turn that down? You always go for the great character to play, even if she’s animated."
And here's a very interesting report from

Though it's tempting to roll one's eyes at yet another female lead character that's a princess -- especially coming from Disney-owned Pixar now -- the movie is already displaying a refreshing change of pace by reportedly focusing more on the princess' relationship with her mother than the quest to find a prince. Even the inclusion of a non-evil queen is a big step for animated features which, often based upon Grimm's fairytales, overwhelmingly feature evil stepmothers and the like.

[Once Upon A Blog's FTNH: How interesting! This sounds like a long overdue updating of the independent/rebellious princess genre that doesn't rely on a romantic plot - there has yet to be mention of a prince, other than Merida's younger brothers, at any point, though that bear is looking a little suspicious to me. Reports are that the story does, indeed center more on Merida's relationship with her mother, so I'll reserve judgment on the bear! ;) ]

While only early concept art was shown at the event, Empire Online reports that it was indeed gorgeous. See what else they had to say by clicking over to the source.

(Source for quoted text: )
The tone of the film is reported to be a mix of fantasy, humor and exciting adventure in a rich and mythically lush tale. I'm really looking forward to finding out more about this film.

"The Bear and the Bow" is scheduled for a Christmas 2011 release.
NOTE: *Brenda Chapman was one of three directors on "The Prince of Egypt" for Dreamworks and was involved in story/development in varying capacities on Disney's "The Little Mermaid" (story trainee), "Beauty & the Beast" (key story artist), "The Lion King" (head of story) as well as for "The Rescuers Downunder" and "The Hunchback of Notre Dame".

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