First Look at Some Concept Artwork for Pixar’s Brave

I’m not a big animated guy, so I wasn’t really aware Pixar was already at work on their latest movie, called “Brave”, which also happens to be their 13th feature-length film. The movie will mark several milestones for the company, and according to EW, “Brave” will have the distinction of being Pixar’s first fairy tale, first picture starring a female lead, and first film co-directed by a woman. So what’s it all about? If, you know, any of that matters to you. It’s Pixar, so I’m just looking forward to a brilliantly animated movie with a great storyline.

Brave is set in the mystical Scottish Highlands, where Merida is the princess of a kingdom ruled by King Fergus (Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson). An unruly daughter and an accomplished archer, Merida one day defies a sacred custom of the land and inadvertently brings turmoil to the kingdom. In an attempt to set things right, Merida seeks out an eccentric old Wise Woman (Julie Walters) and is granted an ill-fated wish. Also figuring into Merida’s quest — and serving as comic relief — are the kingdom’s three lords: the enormous Lord MacGuffin (Kevin McKidd), the surly Lord Macintosh (Craig Ferguson), and the disagreeable Lord Dingwall (Robbie Coltrane).

Reese Witherspoon was supposed to voice the lead, but the ever-popular scheduling conflicts got in the way, and “Boardwalk Empire’s” Kelly Macdonald (top, left) will take her place. Macdonald, appropriately enough, is Scottish, so I guess that means she’ll be using her natural accent.

Some concept artwork from “Brave”, due out June 22, 2012.