This week, fans were transported into the world of Pete's Dragon, as the latest trailer for director David Lowery's upcoming Disney remake arrived online. The movie looks like a very different kind of film -- as the director purposefully didn't watch the original musical from 1977 while making it -- but it did give off the atmosphere of some of the best family entertainment we've seen in the last few decades. This can partially be explained by the various classic features that helped inspire Pete's Dragon's development.

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of sitting down with director David Lowery and actress Bryce Dallas Howard during a Pete's Dragon early press day in Los Angeles, and one thing discussed in both interviews were the movies that helped inspire both the look and feel of the new film. Some of the titles mentioned were obvious, and others the complete opposite. Read on to find out what they said!

My Neighbor Totoro

My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away

Director Hayao Miyazaki never really dipped into the world of live-action during his career, instead using his gifts to sculpt some of the greatest animated works of all time, but David Lowery was still able to learn from these features and apply feelings and ideas in the making of Pete's Dragon. Two particular titles from the Japanese genius that stood out included the brilliant My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away - both of which Lowery said were big in working with Bryce Dallas Howard. Said Lowery.

I watched My Neighbor Totoro. I watched Spirited Away. I watched those movies because I feel they capture something about childhood imagination that is unique... So we would look at that in creating the feel of the movie and with the cast, like with Bryce, definitely the Miyazaki stuff was a big touchstone in terms of just the type of movie it was going to be - especially Totoro, in the gentleness. This movie is incredibly gentle and that was a touchstone for that.

"Gentle" is definitely a word I think about when I look at how fuzzy and cute Elliott is in Pete's Dragon, and if the movie can even be half as sweet as My Neighbor Totoro, it will be a smashing success.

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