After attending the green carpet world premiere of PETE’S DRAGON at the El Capitan Theater this week, I was stalled upon exiting as so many people were surrounding Bryce Dallas Howard, congratulating her for her wonderful performance as Grace in the film. Her face lit up the theater as the energy of the moment filled participants with joy at this impromptu celebration.
Bryce’s dazzling ability to shine and light up the screen and any area she is present is apparently an inherent quality. When she walked into the interview room the following day, her bright spirit shone just as bright as it did in the movie and during the accolades the evening before. Sweet, courteous, and charming with what appears to be an endless river of joy flowing through her, it’s easy to understand why she has had a shining career parallel to her own brilliance.
In Disney’s re-imagined PETE’S DRAGON, Bryce Dallas Howard stars as Grace, a Forest Ranger who discovers a 10-year-old orphan (Pete) who says he lives in the woods with a giant, friendly dragon. Her role as the loving mother figure in the film is “spot on” and her luminescence presence onscreen enhances the wonderful spirit of the movie. (You can find our full review of PETE’S DRAGON here.)
During the interview, Bryce shared a few thoughts on motherhood and of course, a lot about the experience of filming PETE’S DRAGON. Ultimately, with any film, what people take away when they step out of the theater is the measure of success. Movie-goers will certainly walk away with a sense of appreciation for Bryce’s mesmerizing onscreen talent and likely a wistful longing to have a pet dragon, but Bryce Dallas Howard hopes there are other important messages people walk away after viewing the film.
5 Things Bryce Dallas Howard Would Like You to Take Away from PETE’S DRAGON
DISNEY FILMS ARE DISTINCT, BUT SHARE THE SAME HEART
Bryce was drawn to the script of PETE’S DRAGON, having loved the film as a child. She vividly remembers watching the film with her siblings, recalling it was one they viewed over and over.
“[Pete’s Dragon] is very different than the 1977 version,” Bryce Dallas Howard said, “but I think it’s so beautiful and it really reminded me of the Disney films that I watched as a child that were quite defining for me and emotional and really sort of cemented this idea of kind of like American values or something.”
THERE CAN’T BE LIGHT WITHOUT SHADOW
“From Pete’s Dragon, I mean I think what, what has always occurred to me was that it’s, it’s, like so many Disney movies deal with loss,” said Bryce Dallas Howard “I mean actually, like it’s like a mother can’t survive right? Like every movie it’s so crazy. And I think it is, I mean what’s really powerful about that, there’s this great Walt Disney quote that I’m just going to completely paraphrase here where he essentially was saying that you know, there can’t be light without shadows and that the Walt Disney films don’t shy away from that.”
THERE IS A FAMILY OUT THERE FOR ALL OF US
Bryce shared that she couldn’t imagine anything more nightmarish as a parent or child than experience the loss from either perspective, but applauded Disney for not shying away from the subject matter.
“I think that telling the story of after that kind of loss like showing what it takes to find your family,” Bryce Dallas Howard said. “That there is a family out there even when you’re orphaned. I think that’s a really powerful message because we all experience loss and will experience eventually.”
STORIES PREPARE YOU FOR WHAT IS AHEAD
Bryce thinks Disney films are “50 percent entertainment and 50 percent therapeutic.” PETE’S DRAGON offers full entertainment but also touches on the very sensitive subject of loss and overcoming loss in our lives. She feels that Disney films offer viewers a means of practicing emotions and experiencing life events which is, in a sense, preparation for the realities of everyday life.
“I think stories are meant to prepare you for what is ahead,” Bryce Dallas Howard said. “Prepare you for the commonalities within the human experience. Seeing that journey and that adventure finding your family and in the midst of having bonds that are impossible or unconventional, [Pete’s] best friend being like a dragon, I think that is a definitely a powerful message.”
IT’S IMPORTANT TO LOOK FOR THE MAGIC
“I think for kids and adults, [Pete’s Dragon] allows us to sort of like transcend the daily grind of reality,” Bryce Dallas Howard said. “Reminds us to look, to look for magic, to look for something that can make you believe that the supernatural exists or just that there’s something beyond. And it’s not in a religious sense at all or even a spiritual sense. But I think, I think we all have that kind of sense of wonder within us and awe within us.”
Bryce thinks that having a live-action film with a mythological character central to the story keeps the essence of magic and wonder alive for the audience and especially, children. She has enjoyed having children ask her what it was like to work with Elliot after screening the film, as if he is a real character.
“Just to keep that [magic] alive,” Bryce Dallas Howard said. “I definitely treasure that!”
About PETE’S DRAGON
A reimagining of Disney’s cherished family film, “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. “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”), Isiah Whitlock, Jr. (“Cedar Rapids”) and Oscar® winner Robert Redford (“Captain America: The Winter Soldier”). The film, which is directed by David Lowery (“Ain’t Them Bodies Saints”), is written by Lowery & Toby Halbrooks based on a screenplay by Malcolm Marmorstein and produced by Jim Whitaker (“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 August 12, 2016.
Barb Webb. Founder and Editor of Rural Mom, is an the author of "Getting Laid" and "Getting Baked". A sustainable living expert nesting in Appalachian Kentucky, wen she’s not chasing chickens around the farm or engaging in mock Jedi battles, she’s writing about country living and artisan culture.