Peter Pan & Wendy, Disney's new version of Peter Pan has an uphill battle with some audiences since it's both yet another live-action remake of a Disney cartoon but also yet another Peter Pan movie. Though Disney's remakes do well at the box office they often draw the ire of movie fans, not to mention the glut of Peter Pan movies that have been released (two alone debuted in 2020). That said, filmmaker David Lowery, who masterfully remade Pete's Dragon for the studio beforehand, has a way into the material and opened up about taking on the property despite himself thinking that there are too many Peter Pan movies out there.
"I hesitate to use the word grounded because it has fairies and flying children in it," Lowery revealed to The Kingcast podcast. "But when I went to talk to the studio about it I was like 'What if we stay true to the original material, remove the problematic elements of both the novel and the animated film of course, but then treat it like The Revenant. What if we made The Revenant with flying kids?' And they were into it. It's not 100% like that but it's sort of the ethos by which we've gone about making it....That was sort of the idea, have it be visceral, have it be grounded, it's still joyful, it's still full of exuberance and magic, so that's why I don't like to use the word 'grounded.'
Lowery revealed that the film might be the first Peter Pan movie to be shot on location as opposed to sound stages, noting that coincidentally much of the crew of The Revenant are also working on Peter Pan & Wendy as both were shot in Vancouver. He opened up further on his take on the material and how he came to it, teasing some pretty gruesome elements.
"Well you can't see the video but I currently have sitting next to me a skeleton of a lost boy that didn't make it," the filmmaker added. "The weirdest thing about it is that when Disney brought it to me and asked me if I'd be interested in doing it, I had the same response which is that it feels like it's been done a lot before. Do we need another Peter Pan film?... But then I started to think about what it means to me and I just got personally invested in it and so all I can say is I'm bringing my own perspective to it and in doing so I realized it might be the most grown-up movie I've ever made, in terms of the way it's approaching its themes, ironically being about a kid that doesn't want to grow up. It's a very mature take on the material and obviously we're still shooting it so hopefully I don't realize I've gone down the wrong path and change everything in the edit."
He continued, "That in and of itself is interesting to me, hopefully it's interesting to others, but then I also really believe this to be true, it's an evergreen property. Like Robin Hood, like Dracula, there will be more Peter Pan films in the future, but for one specific generation this will be their first one, and I want to make it the best version I can for that audience, for those viewers, for those people who will be introduced to a time honored legend vis-a-vie this movie, and that's really important to me."
Jude Law stars in Peter Pan & Wendy as the infamous Captain Hook. He'll be joined by Yara Shahidi as Tinker Bell, Ever Anderson as Wendy, Alexander Molony as Peter Pan, Molly Parker as Mrs. Darling, Alan Tudyk as Mr. Darling, Joshua Pickering as John, Jacobi Jupe as Michael, Alyssa Wapanatank as Tiger Lily, and Jim Gaffigan as Smee.
Peter Pan & Wendy will debut on Disney+ in 2022.