Director David Lowery explains why his ‘Pete’s Dragon’ is so intentionally gentle

It seems very strange to me that it took until 2016 for me to meet David Lowery face to face.

Not because I expect I should meet every single working filmmaker. That”s just silly. I”ve met a staggering number of writers, directors, actors, and people working at every other level in film and television over the years, but there are are plenty of people I”ve never run into, and I”m fine with that. With David, though, I have a history. You see, he used to be a spy for me.

More accurately, he was a regular reviewer at Ain”t It Cool under the name “ghostboy,” and his beat was the festival circuit. I edited dozens and dozens of his pieces over the years, and I came to rely on him as a guy with a very strong sense of what he does or doesn”t like, and a real fondness for quiet, thoughtful filmmaking.

But that entire time, I never actually met him. And in the time since he released his first feature, Ain”t Them Bodies Saints, we still hadn”t crossed paths, which made my recent interview with him extra-strange as I walked into the room.

“Hello, strange person I have never met or spoken to in any capacity,” I said, prompting a very confused look from the publicist who walked in with me.

David laughed. Head closely shaved, his blue eyes piercing like he was part Husky, he stood up and shook my hand. “It”s so weird that it”s never happened.”

Still not sure what was going on, the publicist said, “This is so awkward, you guys.”

That broke the tension, and laughing, we both sat down. “First, I thought you pulled it off, and I mean, pulled it off completely in the sense that it”s your film and it”s going to stand on its own. I think people may walk in with one set of expectations, but they'll forget them completely.”

“Hopefully that's the case, yeah.”

“The movie”s beautiful, man.”

“Thank you. Thank you.”

“Let”s talk about when you first found out this was even available or a possibility. What were your thoughts on it? What made you say, ‘Yes, Pete”s Dragon. I know what the answer to that is”?”