Nearly everything about Disney’s Pete’s Dragon remake has pretty unexpected. First, the studio enlisted David Lowery—the director behind the Terrence Malick-esque crime film Ain’t Them Bodies Saints—to take the helm instead of some studio-friendly journeyman. Now the studio is surprising once again with its first big cast member, as word comes that Robert Redford is in talks to take on a pivotal role in the picture, which will live-action save for CG effects that will bring the titular dragon to life. Hit the jump for more on the Pete’s Dragon remake, including how much the story will differ from the 1977 iteration.
This new Pete’s Dragon is set against the backdrop of loggers cutting down a forest, with THR reporting that Redford is in early talks to play a town local who “tells tall-tales involving dragons that no one believes.” The film’s protagonist, Pete, is a boy who has been raised by the titular dragon in a forest following his parents’ death in a car accident. Boardwalk Empire actor Oakes Fegley has already been cast as Pete, while Oona Laurence (Broadway’s Matilda) is set to play the mill owner’s daughter.
The other major characters of the film include a forest ranger who stumbles upon Pete and the greedy brother of the mill owner. Production is scheduled to begin in New Zealand this fall, and while Lowery’s hiring as the director was certainly cause to become interested in the pic, the casting of Redford makes this an even more curious project. The actor has been stretching outside the indie realm as of late, most recently appearing in Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier. He’s currently shooting the political drama Truth, in which he plays Dan Rather, but if a deal makes his next project will be Pete’s Dragon.