While I was in LA last week for the Pete’s Dragon premiere, I had the chance to sit down with the young stars of Pete’s Dragon – Oakes Fegley and Oona Laurence. Below you can read about these stars from Pete’s Dragon talk dragon snot and what their favorite Disney movie is. These two kids are amazing and so smart. Acting has not gone to their heads at all and they are down to earth, pretty normal kids. We also talked to them about their roles in the movie, what they are doing next and what they loved about making this film.
Disclosure: I received an all expenses paid trip to LA for the Pete’s Dragon premiere and junket. No one told me what to say or how to think. These are all my words and 100% my own thoughts!
Oakes Fegley plays Pete in Pete’s Dragon along with who plays Oona Laurence plays Natalie. Pete and Natalie meet in the woods and Natalie is immediately drawn to Pete and very curious about who he is and where he came from. As a matter of fact, they both said after they did a “chemistry read” they got the parts. I’m not surprised because not only were they great together in the movie, but even talking with them at the Roosevelt Hotel, they have great chemistry together!
Oona may look familiar to you as she is also in another movie that is in theaters right now – Bad Mom’s. We asked her which she liked best – comedy or drama.
“I like doing both. They’re both very different. You get different things out of them. But I enjoyed making both of them. And everybody was so nice! I just want to keep on doing whatever comes my way.“
I’ve seen both movies and she did a great job at both genres. I have a feeling we will see more of her on screen in the future Oakes as well!
In Pete’s Dragon, Oakes jumps off a cliff and then his best friend and dragon Elliot catches him. This isn’t a spoiler because if you’ve seen the trailer, you’ve seen this part. Of course, that took more than one take. But how many times did he have to jump off to get the perfect shot?
“I don’t know the exact number. But I’d say probably 10ish. Or a little bit more. It was fun doing all of the stunts. We did stunt training before we started filming and we felt safe with all the stuntmen. We just had a ton of fun and felt safe while doing it. So it was… really, really cool.”
One part I love about interviewing actors and actresses, is learning what parts of the filming process where the hardest, most challenge or favorite for them. Sometimes I’m surprised by what they tell us. Of course this question came up in our interview.
Oona started off by telling us that was a hard question to answer….
“I love the whole movie. I guess the part where Oaks and Elliot say goodbye really made me cry…I mean, that part was, like, oh god. It ripped my heart out.”
“That’s one of my favorite scenes as well as… I [also] like the scene where Elliot slides into the cow. I really like that part.“
Young Stars of Pete’s Dragon talk Dragon Snot
A couple of times, the characters end up with ‘dragon snot’ all over them. We asked them what the dragon snot was made out of?
“Water, and all sorts of… stuff. But anyway, they had those air guns where you pull it back, and then it… It’s kinda like a big circle. And then you pull the tab back, and once you release it.. .. It shoves air through it. It was the same sort of thing. It was just filled with that. And then they blasted it at you.”
Neither Oakes nor Oona saw the original Pete’s Dragon before filming this version. Since they were completely different movies, they didn’t need to see it in order to prepare for this one.
“So I truly hadn’t seen it, and I didn’t see it before we had filmed. So I watched it after. I’ve seen it a couple times since then.” – Oakes Fegley on seeing the original Pete’s Dragon
Oona said still hasn’t seen it.
Oakes was pretty happy to receive this role. I mean come on it’s DISNEY! Who wouldn’t want to be in a Disney movie!
“I was actually at school. And [when I got home] my parents were on the couch. I just walked back from my bus stop, and then they told me I got the part and I was really happy. It was a Disney film. I was, like… Wow! I’m incredibly proud of myself, and I can’t believe I got the role, and it’s just been life changing.“
What’s up next for these two young stars?
“I just finished filming a movie directed by Todd Hanes. Julian Moore was in that. And I got to do another starring role in that and it was just really, really life changing, and… Really cool.” – Oakes Fegley on what is next for him
Nothing for me right now. I’m going to high school. I think that’s enough to keep me busy” – Oona Laurence on what is next for her
What it was like working with Robert Redford
“Robert was… I mean, he’s a legend. He is really, really cool. He’s funny. And he’s really nice. And he’s a lot like a father to everybody. And he’s just amazing. “
The message they want kids to take away from watching this movie
“to know that family is very, very important. And that you can’t give up on family because they are there for you whenever.“
What they like to do when they are not acting
“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.” – Oakes Fegley
“I just hang out with my friends, go to school. I don’t know. I’m just a regular kid outside of acting I think.” – Oona Laurence
You’ll notice in the pictures from the interview, that Oakes has short hair but in the movie it was long. He told us he tried to grow it out but it didn’t grow long enough. So they used extensions, real extensions that he couldn’t take out at night. Once they removed them after filming was complete he said his head felt so much lighter!
And in case you were wondering since this is a Disney movie and we all love Disney movies, Oakes favorite Disney movie is The Jungle Book and Oona’s favorite Disney movie is The Lion King.
Pete’s Dragon is now in theaters everywhere! Be sure to read my Pete’s Dragon movie review, World Premiere experience and my interview with Bryce Dallas Howard – did you know she reads blogs? She does and you can read why in my post.