UPDATE: According to Variety, Smith would be playing the father of some children who befriend the titular elephant. They also state that Tom Hanks has been offered the villain role. Doubly weird, but could be a lot of fun! The downside (there always is one) is that if Smith joins the project, it might push back production on Bad Boys For Life.
Deadline is reporting that Will Smith is circling the circus tent that is Dumbo over at Disney. Tim Burton will direct the live action adaptation of their classic 1941 animated feature, from a script by Ehren Kruger. Production is reportedly gearing up for a run faster than Casey Jr. tends to fly down the track. Chances are that Smith will first film Joe Carnahan’s Bad Boys For Life for Sony. Should he sign the dotted line here, Dumbo would likely become his immediate follow-up the the Bad Boys threequel.
Disney continues to go all-in on these live action redos of their beloved animated classics. Looking at the box office receipts of most of the ones released to date, it’s not hard to see why. With the exception of Alice Through The Looking Glass and Pete’s Dragon, audiences are eating these up left and right. Hell, even Pete’s Dragon wasn’t much of a financial disappointment and still garnered a lot of critical praise. This year sees only one such film slated for release (Bill Condon’s Beauty and the Beast), but next year the House of Mouse is aiming to resume their three-per-year schedule for their live action fairytales.
So how does a Will Smith-starring Dumbo fit into all of this? I’m not sure. I like the original Dumbo. I like Will Smith. I also like most of Tim Burton’s output, despite some recent creative failures. On paper it’s a fun combination, but then again, so was his Alice In Wonderland. I can only hope that he avoids the same creative pitfalls that plagued that production. Massive success or not, I consider it to be his worst film and also the worst of this entire run of reboots. Who would Smith be playing? A friend pointed out that Timothy Mouse would be a good fit and I tend to agree. Should he sign on, I’m sure we’ll find out who he will be playing soon enough.