From Mary Poppins, to Harry Potter, to Dumbo? Last night, it was reported that Colin Farrell is circling a role in the upcoming live-action Dumbo from Walt Disney Pictures, to be directed by Tim Burton.
Burton has been signed on for nearly two years to direct the picture. It is said that the film will be based off of the original 1941 animated Dumbo, but expected to greatly expand on the circus life related to the big-eared elephant. Burton has nothing else in the works besides the sequel to Beetlejuice, which has no cast or production dates set yet, suggesting Burton is making Dumbo a priority. Ehren Kruger, the writer behind Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Transformers:Dark of the Moon, and Transformers: Age of Extinction, has written the screenplay for Dumbo.
In January, Will Smith was circling the project for a role as the father of some children who befriend Dumbo (he has since dropped out of the project due to salary and scheduling reasons). On the same day in January, it was also rumored that Tom Hanks was also considered for a role of the film’s villain, Vandemere (Hanks ultimately didn’t show any interest, or wasn’t actually offered the role). Both of these roles are presumed to be open, so Farrell could reasonably be doing either.
Farrell previously played loving, but flawed father Travers Goff in Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks, suggesting he could play the father figure Holt in Dumbo (this is what he is reported to be considering). But the role of Vandemere has not yet been cast yet (and Farrell demonstrated in last year’s Fantastic Beasts that he can play a mysterious, well-dressed, villainous Graves/Grindelwald) so it is possible he could also consider taking the role of the villain character in Dumbo.
Eva Green and Danny DeVito are the only other two confirmed cast members, with Green to portray a trapeze artist working for Vandemere named Collette, and DeVito to play another ringmaster named Medici.
Farrell is currently scheduled to be filming crime drama Inner City in Los Angeles, with Denzel Washington and Moonlight star Ashton Sanders. This year, look for Farrell to star in Sofia Coppola’s Civil War-era film The Beguiled, as well as his reteaming with Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos in feature film The Killing of a Sacred Deer. Farrell also recently signed on to work with Lanthimos on a TV limited series about Oliver North’s acts with Contras in the 1980s, so that may also effect his decision about joining Dumbo.
Dumbo is one of several live-action adaptations currently in development at Disney. Mulan is next on their slate, as well as Peter Pan, and Cruella, a 101 Dalmatians spin-off with Emma Stone. Look for live-action versions of The Lion King, Aladdin, and Pinocchio in the coming years.
Expect to see Dumbo flying into theatres in 2018.