The Stories of Scotland
The film’s setting in lush, wild Scotland was an essential source of inspiration. Recalls Director Mark Andrews, “We went to the highest part of Scotland and the lowest part of Scotland—and everything had a story.”
Castle DunBroch was deliberately designed to be almost part of the promontory on which it sits. “We didn’t want the castle to be a new castle,” says production designer Steve Pilcher. “No way! We wanted it to have been there a few hundred years before the film took place.”
Production designer Steve Pilcher says that the notoriously variable Highland weather was one of the most important elements to capture in order to convey the right sense of place. “Mist, rock, ruggedness, skies that are changing all the time with the rain, snow, big patches of sunlight moving over large landscapes…That’s what has to come across.”
Brave's creative team made multiple trips to Scotland, determined to get the details just right. They returned with notebooks full of drawings and memories, and cameras filled with pictures—everything from majestic panoramas to careful studies of lichens and mosses.
The Standing Stones
Merida’s fate changes when will-o’-the-wisps lead her to a mysterious ring of ancient stones. The Standing Stones, which became the film’s visual anchor, were inspired by the real-life Callanish Stones on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides.