Pete's Dragon with Bryce Dallas Howard and Karl Urban begins filming today


If you thought New Zealand had seen the last of dragons in their territory, then you're thinking entirely too much about dragons! Regardless, New Middle-Earthland is now home to at least one more dragon in the form of Walt Disney's PETE'S DRAGON remake, which began principal photography today. Where as the 1977 original was a blend of live-action and traditional animation, this re-imagining will take advantage of WETA's computer artists to recreate Elliott the dragon.


If you're not up-to-date on the story, it stars Bryce Dallas Howard as Grace, a park ranger who discovers the existence of Elliott. Oakes Fegley will play the titular Pete while Robert Redford will play the kid's grandfather. If you're thinking this movie could use more Karl Urban, no worries, as he will play a New Zealand native. No word on whether or not he'll take down two Mumakil with one spear (eat it, Legolas).

For those who know the area, director David Lowery (AIN'T THEM BODIES SAINTS) will be shooting around Wellington before moving north to the Rotorua area, and will complete principal photography in the South Island communities of Tapanui and Invercargill. Given the age of the original film, the market for this remake probably isn't even familair with the source material.  In that regard, I'm curious to see what kind of vibe they're going for with this one and how the public takes it. Something tells me HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON will be an influence, just with less battling dragons and more . . . battling deforestation.

PETE'S DRAGON is scheduled to hit theaters on August 12, 2016.



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