Pete’s Dragon

A boy discovers a dragon in the woods and they become fast friends.    
  • Starring: Robert Redford, Bryce Dallas Howard
  • Director(s): David Lowery
  • Producer(s): Adam Borba, Carthew Neal, Barrie M. Osborne
  • Screenwriter(s): David Lowery, Toby Halbrooks
  • Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures
  • Animal Coordinator: Hero Animals, Arran Farms
  • Release Date: Friday, August 12, 2016

Featured Animal Action

In the opening scene where we see a team of wolves surrounding the boy, the wolves were actually dogs. Prior to filming, the dogs were called to their marks. Trainers stood off camera to keep the dogs looking in the right eye line. Both dogs were rehearsed to their marks several times. The dogs were held to their marks and then released and called back to a point in the forest where the trainer was hiding. James used a whistle to call them back to him.  The whistle was used to call the dogs giving the impression that they were scared and ran away into the woods. The dogs were provided with food and water between takes.

In the scene where we see a rabbit react then run through the woods, trainers placed a rabbit on its mark, then used an electronic buzzer to make it react to the noise. The rabbit ran from point A to point B. In the same scene, the young actor picks up the rabbit, just before a bear appears behind him. The rabbit scene was shot separately from the bear scene. Prior to filming the rabbit, trainers showed the boy how to pick up and hold the rabbit. 

In this same sequence when the bear stands up behind the boy, the bear was shot in a studio on green screen. He was never near the boy. In post they superimposed the image of the bear on to the footage of the boy in the forest. 

In the scene where the boy runs down the street and encounters a barking dog on a leash, the trainer placed the dog on its mark prior to filming. On action the trainer used cues to get the action required. 

In the scene where the dragon lands in the field and we see the reactions of nearby cows, the cows were walked to the set and released inside the roped-off area. Grain was placed in the vicinity to keep the cows eating and stationary.