It can also be a kind of coming of age, the moment when you realize that there are different perspectives, that maybe what’s important to you might not be important to someone. another, or how to see things from another’s point of view is something that happens especially at the age of Elmer who has just entered his teens.
I love that dynamic and I love the relationship that Elmer has with Boris the Dragon because we’ve worked really hard to never really let them know what’s in store for them. And sometimes they just have each other and they can only rely on each other when trying to navigate the world. With this movie, we didn’t really want to have an ending where Elmer got everything he wanted, or we didn’t want Elmer to have special powers or anything like that. We really wanted to have a mortal child, a real child at the center of it all. And if the film has strength, that’s where it is.
It is this relationship that helps Elmer understand why it was difficult for Elmer’s mother to tell him the truth about what was going on. He becomes responsible for Boris and thus understands what it is to be responsible for someone else.
Yes, and it is also compromised. Sometimes in the movie he’s not particularly truthful and he does things maybe for good reasons but maybe not great things. So I love the fact that in a family film, we can incorporate all of these nuances into the characters. And not only Elmer and Boris, but also the secondary characters. Like Saiwa’s character is someone who isn’t a one-dimensional villain or something. He has real responsibilities. And he tries just like all of us. So I love the idea that we can explore all of these personality types or different ways of dealing with the world of Wild Island and have the chance to explore that for the movie.
It’s always interested me that the story is about Elmer but it’s told by a child who isn’t even about to be born at the time of the story. What is the advantage of this as narrative material? Why is it called “My Father’s Dragon” and not “My Adventures with a Dragon?”
This film is truly inclusive. So we want the film to work for everyone, from very young children to people who are much older and who may have been through a lot in their lives. There are many layers to this story. The idea that we start and end the movie with that wonderful, mature voice of Mary Kay Place voicing Elmo’s daughter, makes it seem like, in the end, it’s all good. That Elmer grew up to be a good father. He raised a daughter who looks like a lovely person. And there’s a sense of a warm hug about it.