Tim Burton Will Direct a Live-Action ‘Dumbo’ Adaptation for Disney

By March 10, 2015

Disney seems to have found a new avenue of business by adapting many of their classic animated films into live-action. This week, Cinderella directed by Kenneth Branagh will be released, and we also know that the studio is prepping a live-action Beauty and the Beast with Emma Watson in the lead. Now, they’ve found yet another animated classic that they want to adapt into a new live-action project.

According to the Wall Street Journal, director Tim Burton has signed on to direct a live-action version of Dumbo for the studio. Burton, who last worked with the studio for his version of Alice in Wonderland released in 2010, has become attached to this new project after screenwriter Ehren Kruger (The RingTransformers: Age of Extinction) turned a draft into the studio. It was that draft that has reportedly pleased Disney executives so much that they immediately wanted to enlist one of Hollywood’s biggest directors to shoot it, and it appears as though that director is now Tim Burton.

Dumbo is a bit of an interesting story for Disney, as the original animated film, produced in 1941 and released by RKO Radio Pictures, was allegedly created to recoup the losses incurred by Fantasia. As the fourth film from Walt Disney’s Animation Classics, Dumbo is also one of the shortest produced by that company in its golden age, standing with a runtime of only 64 minutes. The story is about a big-eared elephant named Jumbo Jr., who is cruelly nicknamed “Dumbo” by other animals in the circus. Unbeknownst to them — and himself — he’s able to fly by using his ears as wings. The only one that shows compassion and friendship to the elephant is a mouse named Timothy, who takes it upon himself to make the elephant happy and confident.

While Dumbo may seem an unusual film to take on for a director like Burton, the film actually has a rather somber tone for a great deal of its runtime, and the circus setting will likely permit his unique stylization to be on display. Burton has actually played with the design of circuses before, as that was the main distinguishing feature of the villainous “Red Triangle Gang” in 1992’s Batman Returns. A major section of 2003’s Big Fish also took place in a circus.

The newsbreaking piece makes mention of the film being a mixture of both live-action and computer generated animation, which is not surprising given the identity and species of the main protagonist. No release information has been revealed as of yet, but we’ll be sure to keep an eye on this developing story here at GeekNation.

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Chris Clow
As a former comics retailer at a store in the Pacific Northwest, Chris Clow is an enormous sci-fi, comics, and film geek. He is a freelance contributor, reviewer, podcaster, and overall geek to GeekNation, Batman-On-Film.com, The Huffington Post, and Movies.com. He also hosts the monthly Comics on Consoles broadcast and podcast. Check out his blog, and follow him on Twitter @ChrisClow.