First told nearly 40 years ago, Disney's Pete's Dragon has been re-imagined into a new fantasy film for the whole family to enjoy together.
The new Pete's Dragon opens in theatres across the country this Friday and stars Robert Redford, Bryce Dallas Howard and newcomer Oakes Fegley as the lovable 10-year old orphan, Pete. His friendly dragon friend Elliot is completely computer generated, but looks so real that kids around the world will be wondering where they can get their very own for a pet!
In this re-telling of the story 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) a forest ranger, 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.
Bryce Dallas Howard (daughter of famed actor/director Ron Howard) has fond memories of the original 1977 classic animated movie Pete's Dragon when she was growing up. She and her sister would watch it over and over again on their VHS machine as kids, so much so they almost had to replace their copy! “When I told my sister (Paige) that I was going to be in Pete’s Dragon, she started crying,” she recently told me during a one on one interview in Toronto.
She added that she is anxious to pass her geeky love for the story to the next generation. “It’s so moving to get to share a story that you’ve been a part of with your children,” she said. “They’re excited to see this. It’s huge for me because they’ve never seen me in a movie before.”
Her young children Theodore and Beatrice and millions of other children will be excited when they see Elliot the Dragon and will marvel at how life like he looks. "I was shocked when i first saw the film all finished," said Howard. "I honestly had to do a double take when I saw Elliot, i just wanted to give him a big hug," she added with a huge belly laugh.
As for working with legendary actor/director Robert Redford, Howard was in awe of his undeniable talent but was strangely impressed by one specific thing. "He's got such a great head of hair," she says with a laugh. "That's something my dad (Ron) would have been pretty jealous of."
Pete's Dragon was filmed in New Zealand and Bryce was thrilled to have her family with her during the shoot. Another once in a lifetime experience having seen the original movie so many times, was living out a childhood fantasy riding on a gimbal coated in fur made to look like a dragon’s hide. “When you’re a kid you all I wanted to do was ride on the back of a dragon,” said Howard, “but if it happens when you’re 35, there's really nothing better."
Check out my interview with Bryce Dallas Howard below.
Pete's Dragon opens in theatres on Friday August 12th.
Last year Bryce Dallas Howard appeared in one of 2015’s biggest-grossing movies, Jurassic World, and is preparing to reprise her role next year in an as-yet-untitled sequel.
She promises that in the next film, her character will not be running away from those dinosaurs in high heels. She is going to insist on wearing flats!