Petes Dragon casting

David Lowery‘s Pete’s Dragon reboot is expected to depart from the original in some significant ways, but at the end of the day it’s still Pete’s Dragon. It needs a Pete and a dragon, and now it’s found the first of those.

Oakes Fegley is set to play the little boy who befriends the dragon Elliot. In addition, Oona Laurence has been set to play his other (human) friend Natalie. Hit the jump for the latest on the Petes Dragon casting.

Variety broke the news. While Pete is straight out of the 1977 film, Natalie is a new character created just for the reboot. Pete was played by Sean Marshall in the original. The voice of the dragon, who’ll be rendered in CG, has not yet been cast.

Lowery seemed an odd pick to write (with Toby Halbrooks) the Pete’s Dragon reboot, and an even odder pick to direct. He had just directed the crime drama Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, and edited the Shane Carruth mind-bender Upstream Color.

But then, the new Pete’s Dragon sounds quite a bit different from the old one. The re-do reportedly “reinvents the core” of the story, and will be a straight narrative instead of a musical. But don’t worry, Pete is still a kid, Elliot is still a dragon, and they’re still besties.

Fegley is having a big month. He has a guest star role as young Eli Thompson on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire this season, and appears in two movies opening this weekend — the Michelle Monaghan soldier drama Fort Bliss, and the Shawn Levy-directed dramedy This Is Where I Leave You.

Laurence received a Tony last year for her run in Broadway’s Matilda, and has several film projects coming up including the indie drama Lamb with Jess Weixler and the Antoine Fuqua boxing pic Southpaw with Jake Gyllenhaal.

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