PETE’S DRAGON flies into theatres everywhere on August 12th!
By Mary Lansing
Growing up, I vividly recall one of my most favorite movies to rent at the video store was the Disney favorite, Pete's Dragon. Released in 1977 (Same year as Star Wars!), Pete's Dragon told the tale of local kid, Pete and his pet dragon, Elliott. Starring "I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar" singer, Helen Reddy, this classic film had all of the elements we all love and depend on from Disney.
Fast forward nearly forty years later, and Pete's Dragon is back, but in a completely new and unique way for a fresh generation of families to enjoy (And Mom and Dad can reminisce about the original!).
I was thrilled to be among some of the first to see footage from Disney's Pete's Dragon, arriving in theaters everywhere August 12th. Director, David Lowery, joined us at Hollywood's El Capitan Theatre and introduced to us 4 scenes from the up-coming movie, each showcasing its strong cast, stellar storytelling and the eye-catching special effects. (Yes, we got to see Elliott!)
While this movie takes the title and premise from the original, it is very much its own story, and is in NO way a traditional "re-make", which often leaves the critics scoffing and asking, "If it ain't broken, why fix it?" yet, rest assured as Lowery has made a completely new movie, for a new era.
For years, old wood-carver Mr. Meacham (Robert Redford) has delighted local children with his tales of the fierce dragon that resides deep in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. To his daughter, Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard), who works as a forest ranger, these stories are little more than tall tales…until she meets Pete (Oakes Fegley). Pete is a mysterious 10-year-old with no family and no home who claims to live in the woods with a giant, green dragon named Elliott. And from Pete’s descriptions, Elliott seems remarkably similar to the dragon from Mr. Meacham’s stories. With the help of Natalie (Oona Laurence), an 11-year-old girl whose father Jack (Wes Bentley) owns the local lumber mill, Grace sets out to determine where Pete came from, where he belongs, and the truth about this dragon.
Following our sneak peek with Lowery, Bryce Dallas Howard joined him on stage for an informative Q&A that helped explain much about the movie and how clear Lowery's vision was when setting out to make a Disney family film. Purposely giving his film a timeless feel (one of his signatures), he answered questions from the press regarding the 70's/80's vibes to the story, and, that whenever possible, he wants to film REAL things, and reserve the use of CGI and green screens for scenes with the dragon
Howard, who is just as gorgeous and perky as you would expect her to be, spoke of shifting gears from working with dinosaurs in her successful blockbuster last summer, to co-starring opposite a dragon this Summer. Luckily, her kids are not scared of Mom on set with the dragon, as they were for her days with the dinos!
Both she and Lowery had amazing things to say about working with Redford, as well as newcomers Oakes Fegley and Oona Laurence. Howard predicts Fegley will follow in the footsteps of her dad (Ron Howard) and the duo spoke of the day Redford was late to set in New Zealand as he was rescuing a horse on the side of the road!
Pete's Dragon arrives in theatres nationwide August 12th. Stay in touch and get updates by visiting their web-site at http://movies.disney.com/petes-dragon-2016