Disney * Pixar Brave Fun Facts

The new Disney * Pixar film Brave opens TODAY nation wide. In honor of the movie’s release I thought I would share some Brave Fun Facts for your enjoyment. It’s fun to know these little bits of trivia. It gives you a better appreciation for the movie.



OH MOTHER – The story of Merida and her relationship with her mother, Queen Elinor, was inspired by director Brenda Chapman’s own relationship with her young daughter.

COSTUME CHANGE – With five dresses, plus a cloak, quiver, hand wrap and necklace, as well as torn dresses, Merida has a total of 22 different costumes. She also has five different hairstyles. Diva? Never.

GOOD HAIR DAY – Merida has more than 1500 individually sculpted, curly red strands that generate about 111,700 total hairs.

BIG STRETCH — If Merida’s curls were straightened, her hair would be four feet long and reach the middle of her calf.

Queen Elinor

UNWRAPPED – If Elinor’s hair were unwrapped, it would be about six feet, six inches long.

King Fergus

COMPLICATED KING — Fergus wears nine different simulated garments at the same time—each has its own movement that must be “simulated” by algorithms in the computer. His head hair and mustache are also simulated, as well as his sporran (pocket-like pouch) and scabbard (sheath for a sword). He has arm hair, chest hair, hair lining in his boot, as well as a full bear pelt on his bear-clawed cloak—all of which are simulated in some way.

LOTSA LAYERS — To achieve the mass of Fergus’s kilt, the drape going across his chest has eight layers of cloth folded over and interacting with each other and other garments. The left, right and back sides of the drape have six layers each.

The Lords

A LITTLE FUZZY – Pixar artists divied up the Lords’ hairier characteristics in unique ways:

  • Lord Dingwall has chest hair, arm hair, back hair and ear hair.
  • Lord Macintosh and Fergus are the only characters with fur on their boots.
  • Lord Macintosh is the only character with fur on his sporran.

TARTAN TIME — For each clan, artists at Pixar created a new, unique tartan design.

TAKING LIBERTIES — The DunBroch tartan pattern is physically impossible to make with traditional tartan weaving methods.

Tertiary Characters

HAIRY SITUATION — There are more than 100 unique hair/facial hair combinations used in “Brave” for human characters and animals.  Each variant can appear in any of nine different colors, creating more than 900 hairstyle/color variants.


FOUR-LEGGED FUR – Hair was created for 70 different animals—some living, some living forever as taxidermy—including 11 horses, 13 birds 7 bears, 16 other animals and 23 animal pelts.

THE WORLD IS MY INSPIRATION – The demon-bear Mor’du’s skin textures are based on satellite images of scorched earth.

The Environment

The Castle

INSPIRED — Several castles served as reference for the DunBroch family castle, most notably Eilean Donan Castle in the Highlands and Dunnottar Castle, located just south of Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire. Dunnottar, a ruined medieval fortress believed to be from the 15th or 16th centuries, sparked a pivotal change of plans for the filmmakers. They intended to set the film’s family castle on a loch up in the Highlands, but inspired by Donnottar’s dramatic location, decided to move it to an outpost of the sea.

BREAKING GROUND — No Pixar film before “Brave” has had a castle in it, so the DunBroch castle had to be designed from the ground up, inside and out. Everything from the architecture of the structure itself to the tapestries in the hall and the moss on the stone walls was designed and built as 3D models in the computer. The production team visited, researched and studied a number of castles for reference.

SAFETY FIRST — The walls of the castle have six lookout towers for guards.


WALK-IN CLOSET – For the tertiary characters, 29 different modular garments were created for “Brave.” From those (using varied boots and sporrans), 94 unique costumes were created.

TOP-NOTCH TAILORS — Some Pixar simulation artists worked as in-house, technical tailors on “Brave,” building three-dimensional garments in the computer based on sketches provided by the art department. The 3D garments were “sewn” together in the computer, and then extra details such as frills and gathers were attached.   

LIMITED SELECTION — Because “Brave” is set in ancient Scotland, the types of fabrics available during that time were limited to wools and linens.

PLAY CLOTHES — Merida’s outfit for her everyday activities was designed using tightly woven, heavy linen that is colored a rich blue. The simplistic cut of the dress and the flexibility of the fabric allow her to move easily and comfortably.

SIT UP STRAIGHT — Merida’s formal dress was designed in a light colored fabric, tailored to be tightly fitted and constricting with stiffer fabric, which reflects Queen Elinor’s regal, controlling influence. The hem is decorated with beads and jewels.

CRAFTY — To develop the desired look for Queen Elinor’s emerald dress in the film, the art department took actual matte silk fabric samples and painted metallic colors onto the fabric, adding other subtle embellishments. Shading artists in the characters department then replicated the look in the computer.

The World of Ancient Scotland

AMBIANCE — The art department crafted approximately 350 paintings of leaves, brush and moss to create the appropriate atmosphere for the Scottish Highlands during ancient times.

LOCATION SCOUTS — The “Brave” production team took two research trips to Scotland. While the modern-day country does not reflect the ancient time period seen in the film, team members visited landmark locations and attended select events to get a flavor for the current culture, and observe how much of Scotland’s ancient history and tradition is still present.

ORDER UP – During the Scotland research trips, the production team frequented a restaurant near the Edinburgh Castle and feasted on its homemade haggis—a pudding made with sheep’s heart, liver and lungs.

WEE ROOM — On one of the research trips, the group stayed at the Kintail Lodge Hotel, in the western highlands of Scotland. There were eight men on the research team during this trip, and all eight were assigned to lodge in the hotel’s “Wee Bunk House,” a tiny room separate from the main hotel building that had six beds and one bathroom. (The women enjoyed more comfortable accommodations in the main building.) Lodging in these cozy quarters proved a memorable experience: the production team’s key meeting room at Pixar is named in honor of the Wee Bunk House.

MAGIC OR MYTH — In Scotland, there is a natural phenomenon of swamp and bog gasses that seep up through the earth, and are blue in color like the flame of a pilot light. Scottish lore says that some people would follow these lights, thinking they were little fairies. The production team took this myth and created the “will o’ the wisps” in “Brave.” The will o’ the wisps light a path and beckon Merida into the forest, leading her to change her fate.

ROCK AROUND — The Callanish Standing Stones on the Isle of Lewis are one of the oldest of Scotland’s mysterious wonders. They provided reference for the mysterious ring of stones Merida discovers in “Brave.”

The Film

DO THE MATH — In creating “Brave,” 111,394 storyboards were drawn, 84,421 of which were delivered to Pixar’s editorial team to create story reels of the work-in-progress film.

ON THE MOVE — There is simulation work (computer simulated movement) in 96 percent of all shots on “Brave.” This is an unusually high amount for a Pixar film – the studio’s simulation team was especially brave taking on such a challenge!

Pixar Insider

FOOD FOR THOUGHT – The “Brave” character team consumed more than 60 packages of double-stuff Oreos in 2011.

TRADITIONS – All of Pixar’s films feature some hidden gems and “Brave” is no exception. In fact, these time-honored traditions are all featured in one set.  There’s also a tribute to longtime Pixar story whiz Joe Ranft in the same location.

  • Visible somewhere in every Pixar film to date, A113 is the classroom at CalArts that has been “home” to John Lasseter, Brad Bird, Pete Docter and Andrew Stanton.
  • Each Pixar film pays homage to “Toy Story” by featuring the infamous Pizza Planet Truck.
  • Pixar films always tease a character from the next Pixar release.

LET YOUR GUARD DOWN – Actor John Ratzenberger, Pixar’s “lucky charm,” has had a voice role in every Pixar film. “Brave” is no different – Ratzenberger plays one of the castle guards at the entrance to the great hall. And the second of the hall guards is voiced by none other than “Brave” composer Patrick Doyle.

For more information about the film visit www.Disney.com/Brave. You can also “like” the movie on Facebook (www.Facebook.com/PixarBrave) and follow Disney * Pixar on Twitter (@DisneyPixar).


*I was not compensated for this post. I posted this information for the enjoyment of my site readers. Any opinons expressed are my own.


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About Kimberly

Kimberly Vetrano resides in the suburbs of New York City with her family and “mini zoo” consisting of five cats, a dog and a Goldfish. Kimberly is a teacher’s assistant for a Kindergarten class. When she is not working or blogging, Kimberly enjoys taking photos of nature and hanging out with family and friends.