CATEGORIES Movie NewsWriter/director David Lowery commanded plenty of attention at this year's Sundance with his Western drama "Ain't Them Bodies Saints." It looks like cinephiles weren't the only ones watching, though. Disney's tapped Lowery to rejigger "Pete's Dragon," a strange family movie from 1977 that featured actors alongside an animated dragon named Elliott. The original film starred Helen Reddy, Mickey Rooney, Red Buttons, Shelley Winters, and the late Jeff Conaway.
Lowery and Toby Halbrooks are writing the script, but there's no director attached at the moment. Although Lowery doesn't have experience working with a Disney-sized budget, snapping up indie directors for giant projects seems to be a new trend in Hollywood. Joss Whedon is a prime example of this; although he'd written scripts for big movies in the past, his main area of expertise was in TV before he was hired to helm "The Avengers." Marc Webb was known for "500 Days of Summer" before Sony picked him to direct "The Amazing Spider-Man" and its sequel. "Godzilla" director Gareth Edwards has sci-fi and action chops but he made his name with the ultra low-budget "Monsters" in 2010. Will Gluck, who's attached to direct "Annie," has only three romantic comedies to his name: "Fired Up," "Easy A," and "Friends With Benefits."
Disney's been making some interesting decisions lately, with Kenneth Branagh in talks to direct "Cinderella" and Miguel Arteta ("Cedar Rapids," "Youth in Revolt") for " Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day." It's entirely possible that Lowery could end up in charge of "Pete's Dragon" as well.