Karl Urban has signed on to star in Disney's Pete's Dragon remake, replacing Michael C. Hall just weeks after he joined the cast earlier this month. No reason was given for Michael C. Hall's departure, or what character Karl Urban is now set to play. The actor joins a cast that already includes Oakes Fegley, Robert Redford, Bryce Dallas Howard, Wes Bentley and newcomer Oona Laurence.
The plot is based on Disney's 1977 live-action/animation hybrid of the same name, but the remake will discard all of the musical elements from the original. The story centers on young Pete (Oakes Fegley), who has been living in the woods with his massive pet dragon Elliot, after his parents died in a car accident. The remake is set in a logging village instead of a fishing town, with the logging company threatening to destroy the woods that Pete lives in.
Robert Redford is playing a crazed local who tells tall tales about dragons that nobody believes, a character that may be inspired by Mickey Rooney's Lampie from the original movie. Oona Laurence playing the young daughter of the mill owner and, while her character has yet to be confirmed, Bryce Dallas Howard's character may be based on Helen Reddy's Nora from the first movie, Lampie's daughter who works as a lighthouse keeper. David Lowery is directing from a script he co-wrote with Toby Halbrooks, with Jim Whitaker serving as producer.
Other characters yet to be cast in Pete's Dragon are a forest ranger who finds Pete and Elliot, the mill owner and his greedy brother, although it isn't known if Karl Urban is playing one of these roles or not. Karl Urban stars in the indie thriller The Loft, which opens in theaters this weekend. He is also expected to reprise his role as Bones in Star Trek 3.