Tom Hanks, Will Smith Up for Disney and Tim Burton’s DUMBO
Disney has found much success adapting their treasure trove of animated classics into live-action films, with Alice in Wonderland, Maleficent, Cinderella and The Jungle Book all proving to be box office smash hits. The studio has Beauty and the Beast in the wings for March, with new takes on The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Winnie the Pooh, Mulan, Peter Pan, 101 Dalmatians, Snow White and The Lion King in various stages of production. Tim Burton, creative mastermind behind Disney’s Nightmare Before Christmas and director of Frankenweenie, has been planning a live-action Dumbo for quote some time – and the project is starting to take flight.
Will Smith (Bad Boys, Suicide Squad) is in talks to star as the father of the children who develop a friendship with the big-eared, flying elephant after seeing him at the circus, Variety reports. They also give word that longtime studio collaborator Tom Hanks (Toy Story, Saving Mr. Banks) has been offered the role of the film’s villain, though potential scheduling conflicts – Bad Boys for Life for Smith and The Grey Hound for Hanks – could keep the superstar actors out of the project. (For Smith, taking on Dumbo would result in shooting on the third Bad Boys being pushed back or, worst case, having the movie shelved entirely.
Walt Disney’s Dumbo is among the studio’s most iconic classics, with the 1941 masterpiece telling the tale of an ostracized circus animal embracing his uniqueness when an unlikely mentor, Timothy Q. Mouse, helps the baby elephant realize he can fly. Burton is attached to direct from a script by Ehren Kruger (Transformers: Age of Extinction), who will also produce with Justin Springer (Tron: Legacy, Oblivion). Disney has yet to set a release date for Dumbo, though it could fill one of the previously announced slots of April 6th, 2018, August 3rd, 2018 or December 25th, 2018.