Alan Arkin is the latest star to join the cast of Tim Burton's live-action remake of Dumbo. The Academy Award winning actor joins Michael Keaton, Eva Green, Danny DeVito, and Colin Farrell in what is shaping up to be a pretty interesting remake as seen through the eyes of Tim Burton. Jon Favreau is currently working on a live-action remake of The Lion King and Disney is trying to remake everything they can after the smash success of the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast.
According to Variety, Arkin joined the cast of Disney's Dumbo, which is currently in production in London at the moment. Arkin will portray J. Griffin Remington, a Wall Street tycoon. It is not clear what his part will exactly be. This live-action remake will follow Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell), a former circus star who deals with the struggles of returning from war. While circus owner Max Medici (DeVito) hires Holt to care for the newborn elephant. But when Holt's children (Hobbins and Parker) discover Dumbo can fly, a smooth-talking entrepreneur (Michael Keaton) and an acrobat (Green) attempt to steal Dumbo away to make him a star.
This project almost had a much different cast when it was first in development, with Disney actively seeking Will Smith to play the lead character Holt Farrier. Negotiations with Disney apparently broke down when the actor and studio couldn't agree upon a salary for the remake. It has also been rumored that Smith had scheduling conflicts. In a strange twist of events, Disney and Smith did make a deal on another remake, as it was announced at Disney's D23 Expo that Will Smith will provide the voice for the Genie in their live-action Aladdin remake.
Disney announced the intention to make the live-action remake of Dumbo back in July of 2014 with Ehren Kruger on board to write the screenplay. It wasn't until March of 2015 that it was announced that Tim Burton would direct the remake, much to the delight of many Burton fans. Others have criticized the move, but Dumbo is the perfect story for Burton to tell. Lucky attendees at Disney's D23 Expo were able to see a first look at a maquette of Dumbo as well as a picture of Tim Burton on the iconic train, Casey Jones Jr.
As previously mentioned, the live-action remake of Dumbo is currently in production in London, England and is set to come out on March 29th, 2019. We've still got a long time to wait, but more information and set photos are sure to leak as the production gets further along in the process. Long-time fans of Burton are just as excited to see a reunion between Michael Keaton and the director who have not worked together since 1992 on Batman Returns. Hopefully this leads to some work on the often talked about sequel to Beetlejuice.