Whether or not any of us were actually clamoring for a redo of Disney children’s classic Pete’s Dragon, one will soon be flying into theaters regardless. Up-and-coming child stars Oakes Fegley (HBO’s Boardwalk Empire) and Oona Laurence (Broadway’s Matilda) landed the lead roles back in September, and today, we’re hearing that veteran actor Robert Redford is also in talks for a key role.
If a deal is made, the All Is Lost star will play a local who tells tall tales involving dragons, none of which are believed by the people around him.
Though the original movie was set in a fishing village at the turn of the 20th century, this new take involves Elliot, the titular dragon, coming under threat from loggers cutting down the forest that he calls home. Pete (Fegley) is a boy orphaned after both his parents are killed in a car crash, who has been raised by Elliot. As the pair search for a way to save the forest, Pete is discovered by a forest ranger and subsequently encounters the young daughter (Laurence) of a local mill owner as well as the mill owner’s greedy brother.
David Lowery (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints) is sitting behind the camera on the project, which is eyeing a potential New Zealand shoot this fall. The remake will be mostly live-action, with CGI animation being used to render the dragon.
Though the fact that Pete’s Dragon is being remade is more than a little depressing, Redford’s involvement is great news. Ever since earning raves for his performance in All Is Lost, the star’s career has reignited in Hollywood, with major roles in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and the upcoming Dan Rather biopic Truth. Seeing Redford at the box office is always a pleasure, so hopefully he’ll be able to turn in a fun performance in what, if handled correctly, could be the rare remake that isn’t a complete waste of time.