King Fergus, left, voiced by Billy Connolly, and Queen Elinor, voiced by Emma Thompson and Merida, voiced by Kelly Macdonald, in a scene from Disney/Pixar's movie "Brave."AP
January 17, 2012: Animator Ramiro López Dau is photographed at Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, Calif.Courtesy of Disney/Pixar
Ramiro López Dau is one "Brave" fella.
The Spanish illustrator brings Disney/Pixar’s newest flick “Brave” to life by taking audiences on a wild adventure with a princess living in a medieval Scotland castle who struggles to see eye to eye with her demanding mother queen.
The film hits theaters on Friday.
“When you watch the movie we all relate to what’s going on,” López Dau said in reference to the mother-daughter dynamic between the headstrong Merida and queen Elinor. “It is [about learning to] believe in yourself and fight for what you think is right.”
Born in Buenos Aires, López Dau spent most of his time in Madrid. He grew up surrounded by computers since his parents are both computing engineers. He says his enthusiasm for video games would eventually evolve into a career in animation, leading him to projects such as “Brave.”
In “Brave”audiences meet Merida, a feisty young princess and an archery wizard who fights to create her own destiny.
Set in her ways of not having an arranged marriage—as her mother suggests—Merida defies her mother and takes it into her own hands to change her fate. Unfortunately, things don’t go according to plan, forcing Merida and Queen Elinor to mend their broken bond.
López Dau notes that in 17 years this is the first time Pixar has a female lead, thus pushing López Dau and his team to go the extra mile into making Merida a one-of-a-kind princess.
“Merida was a difficult character to deal with,” said the Argentinean-born illustrator. “She is a strong character and the director wanted the attitude to show in every movement.”
For Brenda Chapman, the film’s initial director, it was all about conveying a relatable person.
“I wanted a real girl,” Chapman told The New York Times.
“Fairy tales have gotten kind of a bad reputation, especially among women,” she said, adding that this is the closest to a fairytale that Pixar has come to doing.
“I wanted wildness about her,” she said. “That’s where the hair came in, to underscore that free spirit. But mainly I wanted to give girls something to look at and not feel inadequate.”
López Dau said that being Latino and part of such a passionate and animated culture has helped him master the emotions needed to portray in his animations. This, he added, greatly helped in bringing Chapman’s vision of Merida to life and was especially helpful in developing characters for other Pixar films such as “Cars 2.”
“It was cool because each person from each country got to work on the car from their country,” Lopez Dau told Fox News Latino. “I was assigned to Francesco, who is Italian. Latino and Italian cultures are very similar.”
López Dau said that his Latin Roots also came to good use when he worked in “La Luna” —a short film that plays before "Brave," based on the story of an Italian boy trying to reach the moon.
“With both [“Brave” and “La Luna”] the human animation had humor and heart,” said López Dau. “It’s hard to get it right. It couldn’t be exaggerated so it would look real,” said the artist, adding that the experience of living in Spain had a positive impact on his work.
“Everything is a lot smaller [in Spain and], there’s no money!” López Dau said laughing. “So, you have to get creative.”
You can reach Viveka Garza-Gómez via Twitter: @ekita_2