A reimagining of Disney’s classic family film Pete’s Dragon will be released worldwide this August and New Zealand has a starring role in the highly anticipated film.
The crew working on Disney’s Pete’s Dragon got the chance to experience some of New Zealand’s most beautiful spots both on and off camera.
David Lowery and Toby Halbrooks
Director/screenwriter David Lowery and co-screenwriter Toby Halbrooks both took on one of New Zealand’s most famous adventure activities.
The pair took a leap of faith off the Kawarau Bridge, the site of the first commercial bungy jump operation in the world. The suspension bridge, located in the Gibbston Valley just outside of Queenstown, is 43 metres above the raging blue waters of the Kawarau River.
“I would say that going to Queenstown and going paragliding or bungy jumping, if you have the wherewithal to do something like that is highly recommended,” says director/screenwriter David Lowery. “There was so much adventure around every corner.”
Executive producer Barrie M. Osborne experienced luxury at Wharekauhau Country Estate, on a 5000-acre working sheep station overlooking Palliser Bay, in Wairarapa north of Wellington.
Exploring nature, light adventure - horse trekking, archery, clay bird shooting, golf - and indulging in fine food and wine are all on the menu at Wharekauhau Lodge. On the doorstep of the Martinborough wine region, Wharekauhau is the perfect accommodation for wine lovers. Nearby Greytown is a foodie’s destination with artisan food producers and a vibrant dining scene that means there are many treats to be had.
The small South Island town of Tapanui, located in the Otago region of the lower South Island, is famous for its fly-fishing.
Better known as the fictional town of Millhaven in Disney’s Pete’s Dragon, Tapanui has a population of only 900 people but there are a fair few more brown trout and salmon.
Executive producer Jim Whitaker, also a keen fisherman, got to experience some world class angling.
“Whenever I get a second to go drop a fly in a stream I do it and it’s beautiful,” Jim Whitaker says. “The best part of New Zealand for me is any one of the many trout streams that I’ve been on.”
About Disney’s Pete’s Dragon
A reimagining of Disney’s cherished family film, “Disney’s Pete’s Dragon” is the adventure of an orphaned boy named Pete and his best friend Elliot, who just so happens to be a dragon. “Disney’s Pete’s Dragon” stars Bryce Dallas Howard (“Jurassic World”), Oakes Fegley (“This is Where I Leave You”), Wes Bentley (“The Hunger Games”), Karl Urban (“Star Trek”), Oona Laurence (“Southpaw”) and Oscar® winner Robert Redford (“Captain America: The Winter Soldier”). The film is directed by David Lowery (“Ain’t Them Bodies Saints”) from a screenplay by Lowery & Toby Halbrooks based on a screenplay by Malcolm Marmorstein and a story by Seton I. Miller and S.S. Field and produced by Jim Whitaker, p.g.a. (“The Finest Hours,” “Friday Night Lights”), with Barrie M. Osborne (“The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring,” “The Great Gatsby”) serving as executive producer.
For years, old wood carver Mr. Meacham (Robert Redford) has delighted local children with his tales of the fierce dragon that resides deep in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. To his daughter, Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard), who works as a forest ranger, these stories are little more than tall tales…until she meets Pete (Oakes Fegley). Pete is a mysterious 10-year-old with no family and no home who claims to live in the woods with a giant, green dragon named Elliot. And from Pete’s descriptions, Elliot seems remarkably similar to the dragon from Mr. Meacham’s stories. With the help of Natalie (Oona Laurence), an 11-year-old girl whose father Jack (Wes Bentley) owns the local lumber mill, Grace sets out to determine where Pete came from, where he belongs, and the truth about this dragon. Disney’s “Pete’s Dragon” opens in U.S. theaters on 12 August, 2016. The film will be released in New Zealand on 15 September, 2016.