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Robert Redford on Developing His Character in Pete’s Dragon

I attended the interview as a guest of Disney

In the upcoming Disney film, Pete’s Dragon, Robert Redford is a wood carver named Meachum who is the only one in the town who claims to have once seen a magical dragon in the woods. Earlier this month, I had a once in a lifetime opportunity to talk with Redford about his role in the upcoming movie.

When it came to the part of Meachum, David Lowery (Director) was working on a project with Redford, and he decided to put the script in front of him.  Initially, Redford liked the story; however, he did not relate to the Meachum character. Meachum was written as this crazy old guy, and that is not how Redford saw him, so Lowery let Redford develop the character further. Lowery said that because the kids in the film had no idea of who Redford was, it allowed for a lot of looseness which makes the relationships between Meachum and the kids so much more believable.


For Redford, storytelling played a huge role in his childhood. The storytelling in the film combined reality and magic together, and it reminded Redford of his own childhood.

For Redford, he prefers to help develop the characters he plays and Lowery welcomed the idea. When Redford was asked whether or not it was hard working for another director, since he is such an acclaimed director, Redford did not hesitate and said it was not hard. Redford said, “I felt free to be an actor because this was not something I would have directed, and I had the pleasure of just acting.”


Redford loved that Meachum tried to get his daughter, the local school children, and everyone in the town to see beyond what was there and to believe in the magic. Redford said, “I felt like I was part of something that would make people look beyond what they see in front of them, and take notice of what is really there.”

Redford is an amazing storyteller. He had those of us in the room with him, eagerly awaiting his every word. A reporter in the room with me asked a question about one of Redford’s film, Jeremiah Johnson. The reporter, whose name was Jeremiah, explained that it was Redford’s character in that film that he is named after. Redford was tickled by that and told us about his experience developing the script and getting that specific film made. I think all of us in the interview could have sat in that room and listened to Redford talk forever – I know I could have.


Redford was asked about his experience working with Bryce Dallas Howard, and he was so complimentary of her. He said, “She is a very talented young lady, and she has this amazing light inside of her.”

Redford has done it all and when asked if there was anything out there he wanted to do but hasn’t yet and he said, “Maybe a musical.”

Don’t miss one of the best storytellers in Hollywood in the film Pete’s Dragon in theaters on August 12th. Learn more about Pete’s Dragon online, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Chantile is a wife and stay at home mom to an amazing little girl. She is active in her daughters school, enjoys volunteering and is always looking for her next marathon or triathlon to tackle
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