Last month, reports surfaced that Will Smith had dropped out of contention to star in Disney's live-action Dumbo remake, with the actor reportedly failing to come to terms with the studio on his salary, while scheduling complications also arose with Bad Boys III. Today we have word that Disney has set its sights on a new leading man, with Colin Farrell in negotiations to join the cast, which currently includes Eva Green and Danny DeVito. Disney is reportedly getting close to a production start date with Dumbo, but an exact filming date has not been given quite yet.
Deadline reports that Colin Farrell will play a widowed father of two named Holt, who hails from Kentucky. Eva Green joined the cast earlier this month, portraying a French trapeze artist named Colette, who works for the big top circus leader named Vandermere, who has yet to be cast. This role marks her third movie with director Tim Burton, following Dark Shadows and last year's Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. Danny DeVito is playing Medici, who runs a smaller circus that the villainous Vandermere acquires.
We reported in January that Tom Hanks was being eyed for the main villain role, but it was also mentioned in that report that he may take a role in the World War II drama The Grey Hound. However, just a few weeks ago, we reported that Tom Hanks is joining Meryl Streep and director Steven Spielberg in The Post, which is based on the true story of the Washington Post's involvement in the Pentagon Papers leak. That report didn't indicate when The Post would start filming, so it may be possible for Tom Hanks to shoot Dumbo before The Post, if he still is interested in talking on this role.
While production hasn't even started on Dumbo yet, there has already been a bit of controversy regarding the project. After it was revealed that Tim Burton is directing the project back in March 2015, Lisa Lange from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), drafted an open letter to Tim Burton, asking that in his new movie, Dumbo and his mother are set free from the circus, and allowed to live out their lives in an animal sanctuary, instead of, "continuing to be imprisoned and abused in the entertainment industry." This letter was drafted shortly after Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced they will retire the elephants used in its shows.
The original Dumbo movie centered on a baby elephant born with oversized ears and a supreme lack of confidence. He teams up with Timothy the Mouse to achieve his full potential and overcome all of the obstacles in front of him. Director Tim Burton's new adaptation will be a mixture of CGI animation and live action. No details have been given yet about how this story may be different from the original 1941 animated classic. Colin Farrell is coming off Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and he will next be seen in The Beguiled, The Killing of a Sared Deer and Inner City.