Disney has been making lots and lots of money with live action adaptations of their animated classics. These movies have been runaway hits, a trend which will only continue with the upcoming Beauty and the Beast. So it’s no surprise that they are going to keep at it. It’s also no surprise that some big names are interested in starring. Big names like Will Smith.
Deadline reports that Smith is eyeing a starring role in Tim Burton’s Dumbo. No word on who Smith would play, perhaps a circus owner who takes pity on the big-warred elephant? It’s unlikely he would only be cast in a voice-over role. You don’t hire Smith solely for his voice even though he’d play a great Timothy Q. Mouse.
Is Dumbo Just What Smith Needs?
Burton has been attached to the Dumbo adaptation for awhile but this is the first bit of news in some time. Disney is insistent on putting this into high gear quickly, probably because they can see the money rolling in. It is just a handful of other live action films in production. There’s also the Cruella De Vil origin story starring Emma Stone to the Jungle Cruise film with Dwayne Johnson in the lead. Rest assured, more are on the way. As long as these things are successful – and they will be for the foreseeable future – Disney will keep making them.
Burton is an interesting choice for Dumbo. His style doesn’t necessarily fit with the story. However, his last CG-driven family-friendly affair, Alice in Wonderland, is one of Disney’s biggest hits ever. So expect Disney to encourage some of his trademark style. This won’t be your grandfather’s Dumbo.
Dumbo would come at a peculiar time in Smith’s career. He is no longer the box office behemoth he once was. While Suicide Squad made quite the gross, it wasn’t really his movie (and was universally panned). His star power hasn’t propelled Concussion, Focus or Collateral Beauty. Even his big action movies haven’t been as successful as they once were. A family-friendly Disney film might be just what he needs to inject some energy into his career after a few mis-steps.