There have been plenty of indie directors who’ve made the blockbuster leap, and sometimes with massive success, as Colin Trevorrow showed with “Jurassic World.” But it’s still a monumental challenge, going from working on a small, intimate set, to one with hundreds of moving parts. And “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” director David Lowery is the latest to roll up his sleeve and give it a whirl, for Disney‘s “Pete’s Dragon.”
The remake of the 1977 movie tells the story of an orphan boy and his invisible, magical dragon who flees from his abusive family. However, this new version, written by Lowery and his longtime collaborator Toby Halbrooks is said to be dropping the musical elements, and doing some reinvention of the core story. Meanwhile, the cast is pretty good, with Bryce Dallas Howard, Oakes Fegley, Wes Bentley, Karl Urban, Oona Laurence and Robert Redford (who at one time was going to to star and produce “The Old Man And The Gun,” with Lowery directing) all taking roles. Here’s the synopsis:
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.
“Pete’s Dragon” opens on August 12th.