During their presentation at CinemaCon, Walt Disney Studios gave the audience a first look at the logo for Tim Burton’s live-action/CGI adaptation of Dumbo, as well as a look at the main character himself. The studio also showed off some footage on the film.
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This new incarnation of Dumbo centers on a former circus star named Holt, played by Colin Farrell, who’s life is turned upside down when he returns home from the war. Holt, a widowed father of two kids, played by newcomers Nico Parker and Finley Hobbins, rejoins a troupe led by Max Medici (Danny DeVito), and becomes the carer of a newborn elephant who is the laughing stock of the circus because of his enormous ears. When word gets out that Dumbo can fly, V.A. Vandevere (Michael Keaton) and Colette Marchant (Eva Green) take it upon themselves to make the little elephant a star/exploit him.
The new film is said to “add a unique family story that parallels Dumbo’s journey” and pad out the 1941 film’s hour-long runtime with new material that “deepens the circus aspect of the story.” Cathleen Taff, Disney’s head of distribution, spoke of Dumbo’s first flight and how Burton is “taking that as a jumping-off point. The footage included incredible circus moments, with a Burton-esque quirkiness, showcasing the exquisite attire by Oscar-winning costume designer Colleen Atwood. Everything focused on Dumbo’s flight, with circus performers and spectators looking up with amazed expressions. DeVito is already powerful as the big-top ringmaster. “OK, OK, you didn’t really see Dumbo fly,” Taff said to the audience. “But we have to keep some tricks up our sleeve.”
Ehren Kruger (The Ring, Arlington Road, Scream 3) wrote the screenplay and is also producing the project with Katterli Frauenfelder, Derek Frey and Justin Springer (Prom). Longtime Burton collaborator Danny Elfman is set to score the film. Dumbo is expected to fly into theaters March 29, 2019.
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