The Horse Whisperer star, who turns 80 this week, was recently in the news for rescuing an abused and abandoned horse while on the sets of his latest film, Pete’s Dragon. In this remake of the 1977 Disney musical, Robert Redford will be donning the role of Mr Meacham, an old wood carver who entertains local kids with his fierce tales of fighting a dragon, which even his daughter Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard) doesn’t believe. The actor, who has signed up with director Ritesh Batra for a Netflix film, talks about the storyline, his co-stars and shooting in New Zealand.
How was the experience of shooting in New Zealand?
The movie had a very short shooting schedule. It was a small, compacted film—very personal and intimate—but then suddenly we have this gigantic framework, the large country of New Zealand. The scope widens and there is a lot of content to deal with, which is not an easy job.
What is your take on the storyline?
Pete’s Dragon, if you cut right to the heart of it, is the intimate story of a father, a daughter, and a boy who survives an accident that kills his parents. He then goes into the woods with a lot of magic in it. It’s a very emotional human story.
What is your character like?
My character is a wood carver and the only guy who has seen the dragon when he was little. But no one believes him—it’s kind of an outlandish story for other people to accept, but they like him and think that he is eccentric. Also they like to hear the stories he narrates.
About Pete and his friendship with Elliot, the dragon?
A lost child’s vulnerability is an easy target for a dragon. He could have just eaten the boy, but the fact that he didn’t says that a link had been established based on vulnerability and love. And so the child, who doesn’t know how to fear a dragon, develops a bond that is unthinkable to other people.
Tell us about your experience of working with Bryce Dallas Howard?
Bryce has an explosive personality. She is a very loving, sweet and outgoing person. There is a lot of joy in her. She is very professional and a crafted person, and that’s a really attractive personality to work with.
Pete’s Dragon is in theatres today
— Team Indulge