The Three Things That Can’t Be In A Disney Movie


During a recent interview with Aint It cool News, director David Lowery discussed his work on the Disney’s Pete’s Dragon remake, and the three things Disney doesn’t want in any of their films:

On the tone of the remake compared to the original: “The tone was something that was always there, but it became more refined in post-production. I love a movie that contain a multitude of tones. I love when a movie can be heartfelt and sincere and incredibly realistic and then go in a completely crazy, wild, unexpected direction. I don’t love tonal inconsistency, but I love tonal variety, so I wanted this movie to contain some of those multitudes. We definitely shot stuff that was goofier than what you saw. The three lumberjacks who follow Karl Urban around everywhere… we shot a lot of stuff with them and gradually it just sort of wound its way out of the movie. Partially because of pace, but also because the tone was such a delicate thing. We felt the slightest abrasion could jeopardize the rest of the movie. Leading into that chase at the end, especially with Karl and the “bad guys” finding the right amount of goofiness or the right amount of bravado or the right amount of crazy car chase excitement was a real delicate balance that we were refining until the last second.”

On having a tragic moment in the opening of the film: “There’s a difference between presenting an audience, especially children, with things that frighten them and terrify them and with something that emotionally engages them. When you emotionally engage them you can do that with happiness, you can do that with joy, with wonder and you can also do it with fear and sadness. You can engage them with respect to their emotional intelligence and you can push boundaries there, but you can’t bludgeon them with something awful. You’re letting them know that darkness exists, that bad things do happen in the world, but you’re also making a promise that things are going to get better. That’s what the entire pre-title sequence is designed to do. It’s sort of a road map to entire movie. It introduces sadness, it introduces joy, it introduces wonder, it introduces magic and it lets audiences know what they’re in for for the rest of the film.”

On the three things Disney doesn’t want in their movies: “When you sign a contract with Disney, the things it says your film cannot have are beheadings, impalement or smoking. Those are literally the three things you are not allowed to put into a Disney film.”