DUMBO 2019

Tim Burton’s Dumbo is soaring into theaters this March. At a press conference in Los Angeles, Producers Katterli Fraunfelder and Derek Frey explained how the film team chose to reimagine Dumbo for a new audience.

©2018 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


“From I think Tim’s perspective, when we were handed the screenplay from [Ehren Kruger], it just seemed like a story that could be expanded upon,” said Producer Derek Frey. “The original [animated feature] is 63 minutes. Tim was aware that the technology had reached a point where you could successfully render an elephant into a live-action environment. And it just seemed like for Tim, he’s obviously done some reimaginings in the past. And every film that he takes on, it’s not like a simple decision. And he knows that Disney has been going back into their catalogue of films. But Dumbo is one of the original outsiders in a way. And Tim’s films are populated with outsider characters.”


“So, I think for Tim, it was the combination of knowing that the technology was there to render this character, and that pulled upon all of his strengths as an animator with his Disney background. It’s almost like Dumbo is almost like a personification of himself in a way, which is interesting. In terms of the time, so much time has gone by since the original. And it’s a simple story. It’s a beautiful story. And I think a lot of the themes in the story that Ehren created, they’re universal things. It’s about family, it’s about believing in yourself, it’s about overcoming judgment and people looking at you in a certain way.”

“Dumbo is kind of a bullied character. I know that’s something that we’re dealing with socially right now. To place it back in a time period and have this heightened reality, I think we can learn a lot now by looking back. And it’s such a beautiful world that Tim’s created and [Production Designer Rick Heinrichs] has created and [Costume Designer Colleen Atwood] and everybody and [Danny Elfman]. Yeah.”

©2018 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Producer Katterli Fraunfelder described how the design team brought Dumbo to life with CGI. “It started with Tim’s sketches, which everything starts from. And it was a lot of work. Everybody was involved. Rick, [Visual Effects Supervisor] Richard Stammers. But basically, it was Tim’s eye that kept evolving towards how he wanted to see Dumbo. He didn’t want a photo real character. But he wanted something heightened.”


“And the work on the skin and the eyes and the movements and the flying. It was just his eye in collaborations with the people he worked with to create Dumbo, that pushed forward continuously until I think last week was the end of the push. But it’s basically his vision of what Dumbo should be in the world that Rick and Colleen created. And how he fits in there and fits in with the live-action family and circus and can bring out all the emotions that Dumbo should and does.”