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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.