SUPER FURRY AN­I­MAL

HOW DIREC­TOR DAVID LOW­ERY REIMAG­INED PETE’S DRAGON

Empire (UK) - - PREMIERE -

HEN I WENT TO pitch the movie to Dis­ney, I said, ‘I want him to be a furry dragon,’” says David Low­ery, direc­tor of the re­make of Pete’s Dragon. “‘And that’s all I’ve got so far!’”

It’s fair to say since that meet­ing, Low­ery and his de­sign team (which briefly in­cluded Brian Froud, who helped shape the look of Labyrinth) have come up with a lot more. As with the 1977 orig­i­nal, Pete’s Dragon fol­lows the ad­ven­ture of an or­phan called Pete whose best friend just hap­pens to be a... well, you’ve prob­a­bly guessed. The older movie was live-ac­tion, save for one com­po­nent: El­liott, the mis­chievous, fire­breath­ing, ap­ple-cooking dragon, who was a 2D an­i­ma­tion fa­mous for his bright-green skin and shock of pur­ple hair. Low­ery, mak­ing his big-bud­get de­but af­ter the el­lip­ti­cal drama Ain’t Them Bod­ies Saints, re­tained that ba­sic prin­ci­ple — El­liott is CG, ev­ery­thing else, in­clud­ing Bryce Dal­las Howard and Robert Red­ford, is live­ac­tion — but wanted to steer the dragon away from its car­toon­ish ori­gins, and from con­ven­tional movie drag­ons. “I wanted him to feel not like a Game Of Thrones or Harry Pot­ter dragon,” he ex­plains. “And Pete is sup­posed to be cud­dling up with the dragon, so let’s make him furry.”

Low­ery ended up im­mers­ing him­self in funny an­i­mal videos, and the re­sult — along with vo­cal­i­sa­tions pro­vided by John Kas­sir, the voice of the Crypt Keeper from Tales Of The Crypt — is a “75 per cent re­al­is­tic” dragon that he hopes au­di­ences will want to take home. “A lot of it is a dog, be­cause peo­ple re­late to dogs, but I’m a big cat per­son,” he adds. “I have two or­ange cats and would work as much of their be­hav­iour in there as pos­si­ble. There’s a seag­ull in there, and a tiger. Ul­ti­mately, it comes down to try­ing to make a 20-foot-tall pet.” You should see the size of the lit­ter tray. CHRIS HE­WITT

PETE’S DRAGON IS OUT ON AU­GUST 12.

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