‘Pete’s Dragon’ Remake In The Works, Gritty Filmmaker Attached

Pete’s Dragon remake talks have moved forward with an odd choice from Disney for the project’s writing chores.

Ain’t Them Bodies Saints writer-director David Lowery and writing partner Toby Halbrooks were hired on Tuesday by the company and producer Jim Whitaker to reinvent the animated dragon from 1977’s otherwise live action musical, Deadline reported.

Lowery’s previous effort — and directorial debut — is the tale of an escaped convict, who braves the Texas hills to reunite with his wife and the daughter he hasn’t met.

Rooney Mara, Rami Malek, Keith Carradine, and Casey Affleck, star in the film that turned heads at the Sundance Film Festival and was picked up by IFC Films in January 2013. It is slated for a wider release on August 16, 2013.

Reading those details may cause one to wonder why Disney thinks Lowery is the guy for the Pete’s Dragon remake, but when you compare the two, some interesting parallels come in to focus that make the decision appear more sensible.

The original Pete’s Dragon was very much a kid’s film, but it had some very dark undertones. Pete (Sean Marshall) and his dragon Elliott (voiced by Charlie Callas) were on the run from Pete’s abusive parents led by a frightening Shelley Winters.

Set in early 20th Century New England, the original’s historical context seems akin to Ain’t Them Bodies Saints brutal setting. Also, the two films are essentially about outcasts on a journey looking for the families they’ve never had.

One of the only noticeable “on paper” differences is that Pete’s Dragon was a musical, but ComingSoon.net noted on Tuesday, that in the hands of Lowery and Halbrooks, it won’t be.

Disney has committed to remaking their back catalog lately with Sleeping Beauty starring Angelina Jolie and a planned update to the 1986 hit Flight of the Navigator.

How do you feel about adding a Pete’s Dragon remake to the mix? Will you be watching?