Disney have yet to announce any release date for its live-action Dumbo remake- though the company does have many release dates scheduled for unnamed projects. Dumbo is still moving ahead, though; eyeing potential cast members and giving more details on the form the live-action/ CGI movie could take. Just yesterday, rumors surfaced that Will Smith is being courted to star in the movie, and many were confused as to what capacity that could be in; as an actor on screen, or as a voice to one of the animal characters in the story.
It’s now being reported that the role Disney want Smith to take, is that of a father to the children who develop a friendship with Dumbo – who is, it seems, still a circus animal. A deal with Smith may or may not be closed depending on what the actor decides he wants to pursue as his next project (more on that later), but Smith isn’t the only A-lister currently being courted to play an important role in the live-action Dumbo.
Variety is reporting that Disney have offered the villain role in the live-action Dumbo to one of its favorites, Tom Hanks. There is no news on exactly what this villainous role is; it could be the ringmaster who features in the original animated version, though he is thought to be more of a misunderstood person, rather than an all out villain. However, director Tim Burton has more than enough room to expand upon the role if he wishes to, and Hanks’ on-screen presence in almost all of his movies make him entirely watchable. If Hanks does join the project, it would be the first time he has worked with Burton.
Dumbo certainly wouldn’t be Hanks’ first Disney project, or his last. Now famous as the voice of Woody from Toy Story, Hanks will reprise that role for Toy Story 4, set to be released in 2019. He also played the role of Walt Disney himself in the 2013 movie, Saving Mr. Banks, where he starred opposite Emma Thompson. While it would make a refreshing change to see Hanks playing a villain, Variety also reports that the actor might instead choose to star in WWII drama, The Grey Hound, for which he has already written the script. That movie is being produced by Hanks’ long term collaborator, Gary Goetzman, so all things considered, it seems likely that Hanks would take the central role.
Smith could no doubt bring much to the role he is rumored for; his turn as a homeless father in The Pursuit of Happyness was received well by critics, and because his own children are in the public eye, many already view Smith as a father figure – but he too is facing a filming clash. If Smith does take the role, Dumbo would film at the same time as Bad Boys for Life is scheduled to start production, meaning that the long-awaited sequel could be delayed or even shelved altogether.
Described as a mixture of live-action and animation, Burton will direct Dumbo from a script by Ehren Kruger (Transformers 3 & 4), and the movie will be produced by Krueger with Justin Springer (TRON: Legacy). The addition of Smith and particularly Hanks, could give Dumbo a more credible boost, since right now people are skeptical over how it will work. That said, people also had the same worries over a live-action/ CGI Jungle Book, and yet that movie was so successful that it spawned another live-action sequel, currently in the works.
There is currently no release date set for Dumbo.