Disney’s latest live-action adaptation of its animated classics, Peter Pan & Wendy, is now streaming on Disney+. Here are cool things to know about the movie, from its star-studded cast to its behind-the-scenes secrets.
It’s not a straight-up adaptation
Though Peter Pan & Wendy is clearly inspired by the 1953 animated film (even using much of its music), it’s something new entirely. Though the first act of the story follows the original almost beat-by-beat, once the Darling siblings arrive in Neverland, the film takes off in a completely different direction, focusing more on Peter Pan’s relationship with Captain Hook and how Wendy confronts her fears.
It’s about overcoming the fear of growing up
The Peter Pan story has always been about childhood and growing up, but Peter Pan & Wendy really brings this home by touching on Wendy’s own struggles as she navigates the transition to adulthood. The film shows how difficult it can be to let go of your childhood and the fear that comes with growing up. It’s a powerful sentiment, especially for kids who will see themselves in Peter Pan, Wendy, and their struggle to keep believing in magic even as they get older.
It’s got a star-studded cast
Peter Pan & Wendy features a star-studded cast, Jude Law as Captain Hook, comedian Jim Gaffigan as Smee, Alan Tudyk (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) as Mr. Darling, and Grown-ish‘s Yara Shahidi as Tinkerbell. The movie also stars up-and-coming talents Alexander Molony (The Reluctant Landlord) as Peter Pan and Ever Anderson (Resident Evil: The Final Chapter) as Wendy.
It breaks barriers with diverse casting
This live-action adaptation gives J.M Barrie’s characters a fresh look that reflects today’s world. The Lost Boys aren’t just boys, but a multiracial group of boys and girls. 15-year-old Noah Matthews Matofsky, who has Down Syndrome, plays Slightly, the leader of the Lost Boys. Alyssa Wapanatâhk, a member of the Bigstone Cree First Nation, plays the role of Tiger Lily.
“They wanted to bring some new fun to this classic but also give us the fairy tale we deserve,” Shahidi Byrdie in an interview. “It’s evident they’re not just popping Black and Brown folks in the cast for the sake of updating the story. Instead, it’s about creating a story that so many more people can see themselves in after we’ve been left out for so long.”
Much of it was shot on location
The film was filmed in Vancouver, Labrador, and Newfoundland. The filmmakers used these real-world locations to create a believable Neverland that still captures some of the fantastical elements of J.M. Barrie’s vision. Despite growing up in Canada, Wapanatâhk was blown away by the eastern part of the country.
“I had no idea Canada could have these beautiful landscapes, I’ve never been to the East Coast before,” she told CTV News. “That kind of blew me away. Especially the whales, seeing the whales just kind of playing in the water… it was really beautiful.”
It’s directed by David Lowery
“In making ‘Peter Pan & Wendy,’ we set out to craft a film that honors both the original J.M. Barrie text and Walt Disney’s animated adaptation,” says Lowery (Pete’s Dragon). “We wanted to invigorate our retelling with emotional sincerity, an open heart, and a grand yearning for adventure. Hundreds of incredible artists spent many years bringing this film to the screen; I’m excited for audiences to see their work, to go on this ride, and to rediscover an evergreen tale from a new perspective.”
Where you can watch
Peter Pan & Wendy is now streaming on Disney+. Grab some popcorn, snuggle up on the couch, and enjoy!
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