The 1977 Disney live-action-animation hybrid Pete’s Dragon receives a much-welcome 21st-century overhaul from David Lowery, the Dallas-born director of the 1970s western-influenced Ain’t Them Bodies Saints that was partially shot in Austin. While the original was a musical that was set at the turn of the 20th century, Lowery’s Pete’s Dragon is a contemporary retelling of the relationship between a young orphan and his big, green furry best friend. Oakes Fegley stars as Pete, who is all but adopted by a dragon named Elliot after Pete loses his parents in a car accident. After spending years with Elliot in a forest, Pete is discovered by a park ranger played by Bryce Dallas Howard. The attempt to integrate Pete’s back into civilization doesn’t just threaten his friendship with Elliot—it places the dragon’s very existence in danger. Pete’s Dragon also stars Robert Redford as Howard’s father, Wes Bentley as Howard’s fiancé, and Karl Urban as Bentley’s brother, who wants to reap the financial rewards of capturing Elliot. Lowery co-wrote Pete’s Dragon with his Ain’t Them Bodies Saints producer Toby Halbrooks. In addition to Ain’t Them Bodies Saints and Pete’s Dragon, Lowery directed St. Nick, codirected Deadroom, and co-wrote Pit Stop with Austin-based director Yen Tan. He is the recipient of multiple grants from the Austin Film Society, which hosted the local premiere of Pete’s Dragon at the Paramount Theatre on July 31. Lowery will next direct Robert Redford in The Old Man and the Gun and is also scheduled to direct a live-action version of Peter Pan for Disney that he’s writing with Toby Halbrooks.
Aired: Aug. 11, 2016
Web sites: http://movies.disney.com/petes-dragon-2016 and https://www.facebook.com/DisneyPetesDragon/