Casting announcements for Hollywood’s tentpole movies have become bigger and bigger events over the past several years. It’s something that has become especially important of late with respect to Disney’s animated movies-turned-live-action productions. With the escalating success of films like Beauty and the Beast and The Jungle Book, the stakes have been raised higher than before, so casting the right performers is crucial.
Fortunately for Disney, the studio has had filmmakers including of Kenneth Branagh, Jon Favreau and Bill Condon at the helm of their live-action adaptations; and Tim Burton, like his directorial counterparts, has a keen eye for casting. Without question, Disney has trust in his casting sensibilities given the billion-dollar success of the studio and Burton’s live-action adaptation of the animated classic Alice in Wonderland in 2010. With that assurance, word of Colin Farrell circling Burton’s update of the 1941 flying elephant tale Dumbo has to come as a welcome relief for the studio.
Deadline reports that Farrell is in final negotiations to play the lead role in the film, previously considered by Will Smith, which is set to begin production this spring. The publication says that he’s up for the role of Holt, a widower of two children from Kentucky. Burton film veterans Eva Green and Danny DeVito are also in Dumbo, which is still looking to cast a villainous circus owner named Vandemere. Green plays a French trapeze artist named Colette, who works for Vandemere; and DeVito plays a kindly circus owner, whose business is threatened by his cruel competitor.
Farrell, of course, starred in Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks, but studio familiarity aside, the actor is great choice to join Burton’s troupe of performers. Whether it be as the guilt-ridden hitman, Ray, in the critically acclaimed dark comedy In Bruges or as the shady Percival Graves in the 2016 blockbuster Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (and don’t forget his under-appreciated turn as Jeff Bridges’ country singer protégé in Crazy Heart in 2009), Farrell consistently delivers in his roles with great versatility.
Only time will tell whether Dumbo can reach the heights experienced by Alice in Wonderland, The Jungle Book, and Beauty and the Beast – but with a cinematic circus populated with talent like Farrell, Green and DeVito, Dumbo will definitely fly. Check back here on Screen Rant for more Dumbo-related updates, including news about an official release date (once it’s made available).