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It's been almost 80 years since the original Dumbo was released, and like many of the other animated movies in Disney's catalog, the studio is looking to bring back the flying elephant's adventure to the big screen in a live action remake. Despite getting off to a rough start with casting with not being able to secure Will Smith, it looks like the new Dumbo is finally having more luck with finding its main actors. Today brings word that Danny DeVito is the latest performer being eyed for the production as a key supporting character.
According to THR, Danny DeVito is currently in talks to join the live action/CGI Dumbo movie, which will expand and elaborate upon the circus elements of the original version. If DeVito is cast, he would play Medici, the manager of a smaller circus that is acquired by the movie's main villain, a ringmaster named Vandemere. It's unclear whether Medici will be a benevolent character or if he's helping Vandemere with his schemes after his circus is bought out.
Lately Danny Devito is best known for playing Frank Reynolds on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, which just concluded its 12th season and has been renewed for two more. Some of his more classic roles include playing Louie de Palma in the TV series Taxi, Vincent Benedict in Twins, The Penguin in Batman Returns, both Harry Wormwood and the narrator in Matilda, Martin Weir in Get Shorty and Phil in Hercules. Assuming everything works out with Dumbo, it won't be the only family-friendly movie we can expect to see him in soon, as he's voicing Chesterfield in Animal Crackers. Given his past experience with villainous characters, part of me wishes that DeVito was the one playing Vandemere, since I can easily picture him as the cruel ringmaster who Dumbo and the other animals fear. Either way, given his impressive resume after nearly 50 years in the business, he would be a welcome addition.
As of now, no actors have been officially confirmed for Dumbo, but besides DeVito, it was reported yesterday that Casino Royale's Eva Green is in talks to play a trapeze artist who works for Vandemere. One of the other main roles in the movie is the father of two children who befriend Dumbo. Will Smith was up for that role, but he turned it down, as did Chris Pine. As for Vandemere, Tom Hanks was reportedly being considered to play the antagonist, but it hasn't been explicitly stated whether he accepted the role or not.
Directed by Tim Burton and written by Ehren Kruger, the new Dumbo movie doesn't have an official release date yet, so stay tuned to CinemaBlend for updates on that and the project's overall progress as they come in.