When young actors, Oakes Fegley (“Pete”) and Oona Laurence (“Natalie”) walked into the conference room at the Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles the room erupted. These bright young stars have been in some pretty big roles and they can add Disney to their list of accomplishments with Pete’s Dragon now in theaters everywhere.
Disclosure: I was invited on a press trip for Disney Entertainment. My travel and accommodations were provided by Disney. All opinions are my own unless noted otherwise. No further compensation was received.
Oona plays “Natalie” in the film. She is a curious 11-year-old who sets out to uncover the truth about this dragon and determine where Pete came from. Oona has another film in theaters right now: Bad Moms, which is very different than Pete’s Dragon. Which does she like better?
They are both very different. You get different things out of them but I enjoyed making both of them. And everybody on both of them were so nice. I just want to keep on doing whatever comes my way. – Oona Laurence on making different films.
Personally, I think I’d like acting in a comedy. I wouldn’t be able to handle crying on cue and being sad all the time. Then, watching the finished product? Forget it. I’m already a bawling mess….
Oakes Fegley had so much to say during the interview. He was funny and so proud of what he’s done at this point in his life. Acting isn’t everything though and when he’s not filming he’s just a normal kid that does normal kid stuff. Even his friends don’t think of him as extra cool.
I go to school, and I play football with my friends pretty much. Or I play video games. I play a lot of video games on XBOX. – Oaks Fegley on life outside of acting.
Neither of the kids had actually seen the 1977’s Pete’s Dragon before filming. Oakes has since but to this day, Oona has yet to see the original film. Thankfully, the two versions are completely different so it wasn’t a matter of watching the first version to prepare or get into the role of their characters better. Why choose to take this role? DISNEY of course. They saw it was a Disney film and knew they had to be in it. Of course, I’m sure their parent’s had a little do it with that too. I know I’d tell my kids, “Oh gosh! You have have to be in one of my favorite classic movies!” haha.
After both going through two auditions then a chemistry read with each other, both kids were given the amazing news that they got the parts! They flew to New Zealand with their families to start this new adventure. For the 3-4 months of shooting they were able to enjoy being a tourist around town while taking in the beautiful and lush surroundings.
The people there are so nice. At the end of it [filming], my mom was like, “we have to move there!” – Oona Laurence talking about New Zealand.
What’s coming up for these kids? Oakes has a moving coming up alongside Julianne Moore. He wouldn’t give us any information about that, though. The nerve. lol. Oona will be starting high school which is enough to keep her busy for a while.
I’m so happy Oakes and Oona took time out of their day to sit down and talk to us. It was pure joy and fun during that time so a big thanks goes out to them! I wish them nothing but success in their future and hope they have an amazing time riding the high of Pete’s Dragon!
Before leaving us, Oakes and Oona let us know the one thing they hope kids (and adults) can take away after watching Pete’s Dragon
For them [kids] to know that family is very, very important. And that you can’t give up on family because they are there for you whenever. – Oakes Fegley on the message of Pete’s Dragon
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