Everyone loves Elliot! For many of us our connection with Elliot goes back to 1977 when he first appeared as the big goofy green dragon and friend of a young orphan boy named Pete in Disney’s original cherished family film. And now we’re about to meet Elliot and Pete again in the all-new live-action film Pete’s Dragon. The screenplay was written by David Lowery and Toby Halbrooks based on a screenplay by Malcom Marmorstein and is scheduled for release in theaters on August 12.
We can’t wait to meet up with Elliot again. But like any old friends reuniting, we have questions. Is he the same lovable character? Will he still make us laugh and cry and wish we could have a dragon as a best friend, too?
“Yes!” director David Lowery promises. “Elliot is just as lovable and funny as ever. We know people love the classic 1977 film and love Elliot,” he continues. “We wanted to build upon those memories, so we decided to tell a story that comes from a different angle but the fundamental charm of the characters is still all there.” Think of it as having two unique adventures with Pete and Elliot to enjoy.
“Elliot is an incredible character,” Lowery continues. “He has the same big heart and dragon-sized sense of humor, but his looks and movement are very different. We wanted Elliot to feel real, like he belonged in the real world.”
“Who says dragons have to always be scaly and lizardry looking?”
How do you make a dragon look and feel real? Good question. The answer is by studying and adapting the behavior of various animals including seagulls, cats and lions. Eventually a lot of Elliot’s movement and behavior was based on that of cats, according to Lowery.
But perhaps the biggest physical change is that Elliot is furry! “Who says dragons have to always be scaly and lizardry looking?” Lowery laughs. “Elliot is soft and fuzzy, but he’s still a dragon through and through. We’re all very proud of him.”
Does Elliot the Dragon talk? Well, in a way—although it’s in a language all his own. In fact, the filmmakers even based Elliot’s vocalizations on real animal sounds such as elephants and lions which they carefully mixed with a touch of human voice. “We spent a lot of time making sure Elliot’s ‘language’ of grunts and growls expressed his emotions clearly” Lowery says. “It has to seem real to the audience that Pete and Elliot can communicate and understand each other. And the audience has to understand Elliot’s emotions, too. That’s what builds a relationship between the audience and the characters.” When all is said (or growled) and done, that’s why we love these types of characters and why they stay in our hearts and imaginations.
“On film you see a pure friendship between a four-foot-tall little boy and Elliot, a giant 25-foot-tall dragon. Watching Pete and Elliot, you understand what friendship means,” Lowery says. To share the heartwarming adventure between two very unlikely—and very special—friends, Disney Visa® Cardmembers can use their Disney Dream Reward Dollars® toward vouchers for movie tickets at participating theaters.1,2 Don’t know about you, but we can’t wait!