Over the next couple of years, Walt Disney Pictures will be presenting a number of live action adaptations of their animated classics. So far we’ve already seen takes on 101 Dalmations, Alice in Wonderland and, of course, Beauty and the Beast. The next wave begins in 2019 and it all kicks off with Dumbo, about the circus elephant who can fly. Now the new Dumbo trailer is here, giving us a greater sense of what we can expect from the film — which is looking very promising.
Handling the adaptation process is Tim Burton, who had previously turned Alice in Wonderland into a billion dollar live-action blockbuster franchise (which in itself spawned a sequel). Now he’s hoping to work his magic on Dumbo.
Describes Disney, “Dumbo introduces Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell), a former circus star who finds his life turned upside when he returns from the war. Circus owner Max Medici (Danny DeVito) enlists Holt to care for a newborn elephant whose oversized ears make him a laughingstock in an already struggling circus. But when Holt’s children discover that Dumbo can fly, persuasive entrepreneur V.A. Vandevere (Michael Keaton) and an aerial artist named Colette Merchant (Eva Green) swoop in to make the peculiar pachyderm a star.”
Interesting casting note, Keaton and DeVito battled each other in 1992’s Batman Returns— which was also directed by Burton — as, respectively, the Dark Knight and the Penguin.
For those into the history of these sorts of things, Wikipedia provides some intriguing background on the original 1941 classic: “Dumbo is based upon a children’s story written by Helen Aberson and Harold Pearl, with illustrations by Helen Durney, that was prepared to demonstrate the prototype of a toy storytelling display device called Roll-A-Book, which was similar in principle to a panorama. It involved only eight drawings and just a few lines of text, and had Red Robin as Dumbo’s ally instead of Timothy Mouse.
“Dumbo was first brought to the attention of Walt Disney in late 1939 by Disney’s head of merchandise licensing Kay Kamen, who showed a prototype of the Roll-A-Book that included Dumbo. Disney immediately grasped its possibilities and heartwarming story and purchased the rights to it. Originally it was intended to be a short film; however, Disney soon found that the only way to do justice to the book was to make it feature-length. At the time, the Disney Studio was in serious financial trouble due to the war in Europe, which caused Pinocchio and Fantasia to fail at the box office, with the result that Dumbo was intended to be a low-budget feature designed to bring revenue to the studio.” Obviously things worked out just fine for the Mouse House.
The live-action Dumbo will be released on March 29, 2019.