Disney, Live Action, The Latest Animation News

Disney’s Live-Action ‘Dumbo’ Movie: Filming Begins This Spring + Eva Green, Tom Hanks, and Danny DeVito Join Cast

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Four days ago, we told you about Disney’s live-action adaptation of Aladdin. Now, we focus on another live-action remake that is gaining traction; a wild card of the bunch that we reported on almost two years ago.

As indicated by recent news reports, Disney’s live-action take on Dumbo, as directed by Tim Burton from a screenplay by Ehren Kruger (Transformers: Edge of Extinction), appears to be moving fast.

As revealed in a listing on My Entertainment World (discovered by Screen Rant), Dumbo will begin filming as early as this Spring (next month, to be exact). The movie has no targeted release date, but it’s suspected that it could reach theaters sometime during the second half of 2018 or the first half of 2019. It’s worth noting that Disney has a March 29, 2019 date reserved for a live-action film. Depending on how things go, that could be the film’s potential launch window.

An easy way to tell when a film is about to move into production is when you begin to get casting reports, which is exactly what’s happening with Dumbo.

The first of such reports – which broke back in January – revealed that the villain role of Vandemere, the ringmaster of a big top circus, has been offered to an unexpected choice: Tom Hanks. Other reports indicate that he may be portrayed as more of a misunderstood individual than an out-right villain (an angle that could be played strongly with Hanks).

Also joining the film’s cast is Eva Green, who will play the film’s female lead character of Colette, a French trapeze artist working for Vandemere (Hanks). This will be the third time she’s worked with Tim Burton. She also starred in 20th Century Fox’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children last year and was the villain in Warner Bros.’ Dark Shadows remake.

Finally, Danny DeVito is in final negotiations to play Medici, the owner of a smaller circus that gets bought out by Vandemere. According to Deadline’s report, sources close to the project say that the deal is pretty much closed, despite having to work around his Broadway schedule.

The only major (human) role yet to be filled out is that of the lead male character: the father of the children who develop a friendship with the titular floppy-eared elephant after seeing him at the circus. Will Smith circled this role for a while before eventually passing on it due to salary and scheduling reasons, and recently a deal for Chris Pine to star in the role also fell through.

Much like last year’s Pete’s Dragon, the elephant will be brought to life through CG animation.

To end by stating the obvious: Tim Burton may seem like an odd choice given the film’s subject matter, but consider that the original 1941 film – out of all the older Disney animated features – dealt with surprisingly dark themes for its time. Said themes play handily into Burton’s interest in stories about misfit rejects in society. So even if the original is (visually) far away from what you’d expect from a Tim Burton movie, Burton himself has plenty of room story-wise to interpret the original tale the way he sees it.

What do you think? Do any of these casting choices intrigue you at all? What are your thoughts on the project overall?

Edited by: Hannah Wilkes

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About Brandon Smith

Brandon is your average nerd with a love for nerdy things (games, comics, anime/manga, etc.). He also loves reading and writing and plans to be an author someday. For now, he writes with passion and curiosity about the world of animation. He lives with his family in North Carolina and is currently attending college.
  • Manuel Orozco

    Tom Hanks and Danny DeVito do make interesting choices but I’m still skeptical of Tim Burton directing. He’s possibly going to ruin what makes Dumbo a classic but easily pull off the Pink Elephants sequence.

  • Yellow

    I think it’s odd this movie is getting remade. Are people really interested in seeing Dumbo brought to live action?

    • brandon

      $350 million dollars worldwide for Beauty and the Beast tells Disney that they absolutely do.

  • Patrick Moffatt

    I don’t approve of this baloney

  • Jordan Briskin

    Given how he absolutely ruined ALICE IN WONDERLAND, I’m hoping by all that is holy that Tim doesn’t screw up DUMBO…

    • Manuel Orozco

      I did like Alice in Wonderland but I don’t blame you.

  • Aww I was kinda hoping Will Smith was going to join, I honestly think he would have been a great addition personally, oh well I think I can manage 🙂
    But this cast and who they’ll play is very interesting, just gonna have to see where this goes cuz I am very intrigued with these choices ^.^

    • Manuel Orozco

      I don’t know about Will Smith if it would have fit mainly because of him now as Deathstroke in Suicide Squad but oh well. I’m a little intrigued by the cast too mainly for Hanks and DeVito because of their history with the Disney family. I was assuming DeVito would be playing the kind of bastard like character he’s usually seen as.

      • Well I don’t know about just looking to Suicide Squad, that was mainly writings problem but even then he was far from the worst in that one, I’m just thinking of how much charm he has a person that he could maybe bring some kind of charm to what he could have been as a whole. But that’s just my opinion which I respect to yours
        But it is interesting on the other decisions that I agree

        • Manuel Orozco

          To each their own. I did like Suicide Squad but I wasn’t expecting something perfect. And I agree about charm since Will Smith can actually do drama. Until last September when I saw SS, I had not seen anything with Fresh Prince since the Pursuit of Happiness with his son Jaden. In fact, I had just watched it two weeks ago for the first time in a decade.

          • Yeah me neither for a long while, I have faith in him a little bit, which is a shame he couldn’t make the deal but oh well probably for the best

          • Manuel Orozco

            They can always get someone to replace him. Plus I’m not that big of a fan of Will.

          • Don’t blame you

  • Rachel Wagner

    Not a fan of this at all. Tim Burton hasn’t made a live action film I’ve liked in over a decade. CGI kind of ruined him and made his movies super boring. This looks like a terrible idea

    • Manuel Orozco

      Other than Alice in Wonderland, the only movies Tim Burton directed I ever liked are Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and his two Batman movies.

      • Rachel Wagner

        I liked Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands and Peewee’s Big Adventure

        • Manuel Orozco

          To each their own Rachel. Also did you watch any movies I recommended?

          • Rachel Wagner

            Remind me which ones?

          • Manuel Orozco

            Cats Don’t Dance Pebble and the Penguin Swan Princess Thumbelina Quest for Camelot and Ferngully. I kinda forgot

          • Rachel Wagner

            I have watched Thumbelina and Ferngully. I recognize the problems but enjoy them.

          • Manuel Orozco

            Then you will enjoy the rest I guarantee. What problems anyway

          • Rachel Wagner

            Ferngully the story is pretty bland and played out. Thumbelina has some odd tonal problems and Mary the Mole is a really bad song

          • Manuel Orozco

            I didn’t mind but I don’t blame you as long as both were enjoyable. I actually thought Thumbelina was better. Like I said, you’ll enjoy the rest.

  • drewman2014

    I don’t know if Tom Hanks is doing this because he’s got two major projects happening, ‘The Grey Hound’ and ‘The Post’.

    • Manuel Orozco

      And Toy Story 4

      • drewman2014

        Now Michael Keaton is actually in talks to play the villain.

        • Manuel Orozco

          Actually surprised me mostly because he hasn’t collaborated with Tim Burton in 25 years

  • Sebastian

    The funny history of this decision is that Elle Fanning & Angelina Jolie is responsible for this being made. They so badly wanted to see a real baby elephant but instead their getting a cgi one.