Brave star stands up for redheads

Entertainer Billy Connolly. Photo / AP
Entertainer Billy Connolly. Photo / AP

Scottish comedian Billy Connolly reckons his new film Brave is a rousing equality rally for women - and gingers.

The Disney-Pixar animation features a skilled young archer, Merida, whose father King Fergus - voiced by Connolly - wants to marry her off. But the red-haired and strong-headed Merida has other ideas.

"I hope girls will look at it and take strength from it to stick to their guns and not be told what to do," Connolly told AAP from the red carpet event on Monday night ahead of the animation's Sydney Film Festival premiere.

As for the ranga element - Brave unfolds in the Scottish highlands and red locks get a lot of screentime - Connolly won't have a bar of "anti-folliclism".

"Even as we speak, parachutes should be landing," he joked.

"People should be getting their asses kicked for using the R-word."

Connolly told AAP that between the wet weather, the kilts and the bagpipes on show at the Australian premiere, he felt right at home.

"Everywhere I go I have a (bagpipe) band marching behind me," he quipped.

"It's just one of my diva requests. That's the way I live."

He conceded Brave was a departure from some of his cheekier film roles. In a children's film, he said, there was no opportunity to swear or get his kit off - but he was just grateful to be doing voice work, which meant he didn't have to see anyone.

"You can turn up as shabby as you like and I'm a kind of shabby guy so it suits me lovely," he said,

"You have to give as good a job for a four-year-old as you do for an adult.

"Swearing and being a bit out on the edge isn't necessarily the greatest thing you've ever done in your life...you just get on with it.

"The only thing that embarrasses me is sex scenes."

And what would he be doing for the rest of his stay in Australia?

"Sex scenes," he deadpanned.

He was better behaved as he welcomed some of the 800 fans, many sporting red wigs, who had come out despite the puddles to get a first look at the film.

Connolly said the film's Merida character was a strong role model for young audiences.

"It's kind of silly to think it's that powerful but I would like to think that girls will watch somebody insisting on going for their own destiny rather than be dictated to what to do," he said.

"It's got the fairytale side going for it but she's a strong little thing."

Brave opens in New Zealand on June 21.

- AAP

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