Nostalgia for the 1977 original movie dominated at Disney’s world premiere of “Pete’s Dragon” at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood.
“It was one of my favorite movies growing up as a kid,” Bryce Dallas Howard said on the green carpet. “We got to shoot it in New Zealand. I went to New Zealand when I was five with my parents because my dad (Ron Howard) was shooting a movie called ‘Willow’ and to be able to return 30 year later to shoot a movie that I loved as a kid with my young family — it’s kind of one of those full circle moments.”
Director David Lowery, who began working on the live action-CGI film in 2013, allowed that he was stunned at the outcome.
“Bryce Dallas Howard was my first choice for Grace,” he mused. “The film is shockingly close to my original vision, which hardly ever happens. It really came together exactly as we envisioned and stayed true to its roots.”
Lowery also noted that the audience was full of children. “I made this for me when I was seven years old so I hope there’s a 7-year-old version of me in the audience,” he added.
Oona Laurence, who plays 10-year-old character Natalie in “Pete’s Dragon,” said she was pleased about her scenes with co-star Oakes Fegley, who plays the titular Pete. “My character helps him understand what the world is like,” she said.
Eric Saindon and Mike Cozens, Weta Digital’s VFX supervisors on the film, said that it took 18 months to create Elliot the Dragon. “The biggest challenge for us is that he had to look goofy and believable,” Cozens added.