Meet the new Elliott from Pete’s Dragon

Oakes Fegley and Ellott in Pete's Dragon

by James White |
Published on

It might not be quite the same situation as the animated-to-live-action run that Disney has been on of late, but Pete's Dragon still represents the Mouse House digging through its archives to find catalogue titles it can repurpose. And following on from the teaser trailer (find that at the bottom of the page), we now have our first clear look at the titular beastie.

Traditionally invisible to everyone but young Pete (Oakes Fegley here) unless he wants to be seen, the 2016 take on Elliott the dragon maintains some elements from the original, such as his green colour while ditching a lot of the cartoony character motifs in favour of subtler takes on the idea.

“We explored pink, just to see what would happen,” director David Lowery tells Entertainment Weekly. “From the get-go, the aesthetic was always to make everything feel as handmade as possible, including effects. 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.”

He and his effects team watched hours of YouTube animal videos (if only we knew you could write that off as legitimate research!) and came up with a blend of creatures, including an Australian flying fox, a polar bear and a certain more domestic breed of critter.

“On a personal level, I don’t even see my dog at all… I see a cat,” says the director. “So much of Elliott’s behavior, when I gave direction, would just be based on this thing my cat did that morning when he was first waking up.” Not sure we'd want to see what sort of presents this furry friend would leave after a hunting expedition...

Pete's Dragon is out in the US and UK on August 12.

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