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Brave's Callum O'Neill: Wee Dingwall's got small man syndrome
Brave is the Disney/Pixar Princess story with a difference. No more is the Princess a wilting flower desperately waiting for Prince Charming coming to save her - oh no! Scottish Princess Merida is a free-spirited teen with strong ideas and an argumentative nature!
MSN Movies chatted to actor Callum O'Neill, who voiced Wee Dingwall in the movie - a vertically challenged boy with a lot of fight inside him! But just don't tell Callum he looks like the animated Scottish lad - he doesn't take comparisons well!
Wee Dingwall seen second from left here
Tell us a little about Wee Dingwall:
Some people have said there are physical similarities between myself and Wee Dingwall and I find that quite insulting, he laughed.
He's got big jug ears, prominent teeth and a gormless look on his face. I hope I'm not like that!
In comparison to the other characters, Wee Dingwall is only about three feet tall! He's the human equivalent of a terrier dog. He lives in his own little world but the smallest sniff of a fight and he's in there.
What do you like about feisty Wee Dingwall, and how did you get the part?
He's a wonderful character. The reason he's introduced into the film is because he's the sun of Lord Dingwall. I think he's got small man syndrome. He has to fight for those six or seven inches!
I auditioned for the part of Wee Dingwall and a mere twelve months later I was told I told the part! From the very first idea coming up, of having a Princess story set in Scotland, to it opening in the cinemas eight years passed in total.
What have you enjoyed the most about being part of Brave?
To be involved in a Disney Pixar movies is just an amazing thing. The director Mark Andrews also directed Toy Story 3 and Finding Nemo - Brave has beaten them all in terms of box office records! As it stands, worldwide, it's taken over $360m! SO this is a huge, huge film. It's the first time Pixar's had a female protagonist.
I would say wholeheartedly and with a huge sense of pride that Scotland is one of the biggest characters in the film.
Brave is different to many of the Disney movies. There are no prissy Princesses - she doesn't mind getting her feet wet:
You pick up on a good point. Disney are the most famous in terms of bringing the princess role to the thoughts and hearts of many young girls who want to be Princesses and want to emulate those characters. However, she's quite different. She's not waiting for a man to come and rescue her, save her, marry her or take her away from evil or whatever.
She's very much got a 21 century attitude and wants to be in control of her own destiny. And this is, in essence, what the film is about.
It's also about the relationship between a mother and a daughter. I've never been either one of those, but after watching the film I really understand just how important it is. It's so emotive and so beautifully done that I defy any mother who has a daughter not to well up when they watch the film.
Princess Merida shooting an arrow
In the US we hear they're putting subtitles on the film, because audiences can't understand the Scottish accent, is this true?
Not that I've heard of, no! Pixar and Disney were absolutely of the opinion that they wanted to keep it authentic with Scotland and they said to the actors 'Please use colloquialisms and the vernacular that you would usually'.
Did you get the chance to go to Pixar's studios?
No, everything I did was in a studio in London. I'm based in London now, so everything was recorded there. I spoke in real time with the animators and co-directors in California, as we were doing it.
When you're working in a film, you work in isolation. Billy Connelly did his stuff then Kelly McDonald did her stuff. Robbie Coltrane, who plays my father, I didn't meet until the European premiere in Edinburgh!
What attracted you to working in animation?
I love doing animations. You have to work with your complete imagination and it's down to yourself. I love that side of it. Voice work I've been doing for over seven years now. Every single time you do it, the job changes. And
I think variety is definitely the spice of life.
The film's called Brave: what's the last brave thing you've done?
Well, here's something brave I'm about to do... I want to take archery lessons up in Scotland. I watched it at the Olympic Games and found it fascinating. There are several places in Scotland that provide archery lessons. I always like to dip my toes into new things, and I thought I should do something that compliments Brave too. I'll make sure they point me in the right direction ha!
Any opportunity to go back to Scotland is one that I won't waste. I love to go to things like the Highland Games. My brother and my grandfather have performed at the world bagpipe championships and my sister's performed the highland dance at the games! It's a place I'm very very proud to be from.
Brave is currently out in cinema's nationwide.
Check out www.visitscotland.com/brave for more information about the Brave and Scotland.