Disney’s Live Action Dumbo Movie Is Eyeing Michael Keaton For A Key Role

Michael Keaton as Adrian Toomes in Spider-Man: Homecoming

Of all the live action remakes Disney has in the works for their classic animated movies, Dumbo is among the weirder choices. Regardless, the studio is pushing ahead with director Tim Burton's take on the flying elephant tale, and over the last several months, the project has slowly been assembling its cast. Now it's being reported that Michael Keaton is the latest candidate being looked at to play the villain.

Michael Keaton is in early talks to play the villain in Dumbo, who is the man who acquires a smaller circus and intends to exploit the eponymous protagonist and his mother. Previous reports have identified Keaton's intended character as a malevolent ringmaster named Vandemere. Tom Hanks was up for the villain role as of this past January, but as this Variety report indicates, the onetime Walt Disney portrayer won't be participating in Dumbo, and now Disney has set their sights on Keaton for the main antagonist. If a deal is finalized, Keaton will join a cast that consists of Eva Green and Danny Devito, while Colin Farrell is also in talks to star.

Since starring in 2014's Birdman (for which he won a Golden Globe), Michael Keaton's acting career has been rejuvenated, and he's starred in Minions, Spotlight and The Founder. He'll be seen later this summer in Spider-Man: Homecoming as a different kind of villain: Adrian Tomes, a.k.a. The Vulture. A few months after that, he'll appear alongside Dylan O'Brien in America Assassin. Perhaps more importantly is that if Keaton joins Dumbo, it will finally reunite him with Tim Burton, the two of them having previously teamed up on Beetlejuice, Batman and Batman Returns. Part of me wishes that Keaton was playing one of the crows in Dumbo if only to keep his bird streak going, but I'm sure he'd do well as the evil ringmaster, too.

Like the 1940 animated original, the Dumbo remake will follow a young circus elephant who is ridiculed because of his big ears, but it's those same ears that allow him to fly. Danny Devito will play Medici, the manager of the smaller circus that Vandemere acquires, while Eva Green will play a trapeze artist who works for the ringmaster. Colin Farell is in negotiations to play the widowed father of two children who befriend Dumbo, a role that was originally offered to Will Smith. Transformers: Age of Extinction writer Ehren Kruger penned the script, while Tron: Legacy's Justin Springer is producing alongside Kruger.

What do you think of Michael Keaton potentially coming aboard Dumbo as the villain? Let us know in the comments below, and make sure to check our comprehensive guide on what other live action fairy tale movies (most of which are from Disney) are being released in the coming years.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.