LOS ANGELES, April 15 (UPI) — Pete’s Dragon is giving fans a glimpse of the new, furry Elliott.
Disney released a first look at the dragon in the April 22/29 issue of Entertainment Weekly. The studio released a live-action and animated version of Pete’s Dragon in 1977 and will debut a live-action and CGI remake Aug. 12.
“Certain things about the original design we loved: Big jaw, big snout, and a clumsy quality that we really wanted to not completely forget about,” director David Lowery said in the interview.
“From the get-go, the aesthetic was always to make everything feel as handmade as possible, including effects,” he elaborated. “To really have it feel like a blur between a very grounded realistic world and a world in which a big green dragon that can turn invisible can exist.”
“David saw this furry, soft dragon that kids could imagine, when they go into the words, could actually be there,” production designer Jade Healy added. Elliott, therefore, is largely based in “the world of domestic mammals.”
The original Pete’s Dragon is set in the early 1900s, while the remake will take place in the contemporary Pacific Northwest. Both versions follow an orphan named Pete who claims to befriend a large but friendly dragon.
“It still has the essence of what was so great about the original Pete’s Dragon,” star Bryce Dallas Howard said at the D23 expo in August. “[The] story of an orphaned boy … [is] still intact. But everything else is very different. Everything else.”
“My character is a woman who is very pragmatic, a realist,” she revealed. “And during the story she comes to realize that maybe magic is possible.”
Howard plays Grace Meacham, a forest ranger who meets the orphaned Pete (Oakes Fegley) in the woods. Robert Redford stars as Grace’s father, with Wes Bentley as Jack, a lumber mill owner and dad to Natalie (Oona Laurence).