Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Brave director: Make Merida tomboy

Kelly Macdonald voices tomboy princess Merida in Disney film Brave

Brave's co-director Brenda Chapman has criticised the sexy make-over of the film's protagonist Princess Merida for a new toy range.

Merida, voiced by Kelly Macdonald, appeared as a teenage tomboy in last year's Oscar-winning Pixar animation. But she has been "glammed up" prior to her official induction into The Disney Princess Collection, where she now appears slimmer and older, with visible make-up and a more glamorous dress.

Brenda, who maintained a co-director's credit after being replaced by Mark Andrews during the production of Brave, called the transformation "horrible", telling the Marin Independent Journal: "I think it's atrocious what they have done to Merida. When little girls say they like it because it's more sparkly, that's all fine and good but, subconsciously, they are soaking in the sexy 'come-hither' look and the skinny aspect of the new version. It's horrible!"

She added that Disney appeared to have been misguided over the amended version of her creation.

"Merida was created to break that mould. To give young girls a better, stronger role model, a more attainable role model, something of substance, not just a pretty face that waits around for romance," she explained.

More than 135,000 people have signed an online petition on Change.org calling for the studio to return the character to her roots, addressed to Walt Disney boss Robert A Iger.

The petition reads: "The redesign of Merida... does a tremendous disservice to the millions of children for whom Merida is an empowering role model who speaks to girls' capacity to be change agents in the world rather than just trophies to be admired."

Disney said in a statement: "Merida exemplifies what it means to be a Disney Princess through being brave, passionate, and confident. She remains the same strong and determined Merida from the movie whose inner qualities have inspired moms and daughters around the world."

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