Recently, Moviefone was privy to an exclusive preview of footage from the movie, with writer-director David Lowery in attendance. The scenes we screened emphasized the film's grounded tone and, of course, everyone's favorite Disney dragon: Elliot. Following the screening, Lowery and select members of the cast participated in a Q&A, revealing how they brought Disney's beloved tale to life.
1. The first decision when it came to designing a CG Elliot: He had to be furry. Lowery revealed that he is obsessed with his cats (same) and he used them as inspiration for the lovable dragon. He really wanted Elliot to remind audiences of a cute and cuddly pet, which the footage definitely delivered.
2.Karl Urban plays the villain, Gavin. He wants the dragon and will do anything he can to get it.
3.Bryce Dallas Howard loves the original "Pete's Dragon" and immediately said yes when she was offered a role in the reboot. She loved that this movie wasn't just a copycat; it took the core of what the live-action/animated film did and made it its own.
4. Don't look for any callbacks to the original. While Lowery gets why reboots and remakes give a wink and nod to their source material, the filmmaker didn't want to take the audience out of the movie. The reboot also does not feature any songs from the original.
5. To ensure that they could use a green screen only when necessary, they drove two hours into the woods to film every day. Lowery wanted the movie to feel as grounded as possible, and having a big, furry dragon is enough to "unground" it.
6.Robert Redford once hitchhiked to the set after being dropped off at the wrong spot. Classic Redford.
7. On the way to set one day, Redford spotted an injured horse and came to its rescue. What a guy.
8. Howard said Oona Laurence, who plays Pete's fierce BFF, Natalie, was "a little Meryl Streep." She would be playing in between scenes, come to the set, do her scene, nail it, and leave.
9. To find the perfect Pete, the casting director auditioned thousands and thousands of people worldwide. She eventually winnowed it down to about 150 kids, and, from there, Lowery chose one.
10. To land the role of Pete, Oakes Fegley was asked in his audition to build something out of the chairs in the room and to sneak up on someone. Lowery wanted to make sure that the actor cast in the role had the genuine qualities he saw in Pete.
"Pete's Dragon" hits theaters Friday, August 12.
Mr. Meacham (Robert Redford), a woodcarver, delights local children with stories of a mysterious dragon that lives deep in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. His daughter Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard) believes these are just tall tales, until she meets Pete (Oakes Fegley), a 10-year-old orphan who says he lives in the woods with a giant, friendly dragon. With help from a young girl named Natalie (Oona Laurence), Grace sets out to investigate if this fantastic claim can be true. Read More