D23: John Lasseter and Kelly Macdonald talk Brave

A number of firsts for Pixar

“This is totally unique, unlike any film we've made. It's our first fairytale, our first period film... and it's our first female lead character,” John Lasseter told the D23 Expo while introducing the film Brave .

Lasseter admitted that the period nature of the piece - it's set in Scotland in a rugged and mythical time - meant that Pixar had to take care that every aspect was right.

“It's the most different film for Pixar,” he said, adding, “a real challenge for us – the hair, the clothing.”

With that in mind the artists behind the project took two research trips to Scotland to help them authentically recreate everything from costume to landscapes.

Perhaps that's why director Mark Andrews showed up in a kilt, as he previewed a sequence that sees lead character princess Merida ( Boardwalk Empire 's Kelly Macdonald) take on the suitors for her hand in an archery contest.

TF 's initial verdict: while technically brilliant, the scene seemed to lack that certain special magic usually associated with the studio.

Macdonald's enthusiasm for the role helped give it a boost, though. “It's better than OK,” she said of being cast as Pixar's first lead heroine. “It's like I was asked to play Woody.”