EXCLUSIVE: Disney is circling with Will Smith to star for director Tim Burton in Dumbo, the live-action adaptation of the classic 1941 animated film. The studio is moving aggressively toward a production start with a script by Ehren Kruger about the big-eared, lovable elephant. This is an intriguing family film option for Smith, who is also working toward a start date with Sony Pictures on Bad Boys For Life, a reteam with Martin Lawrence which has Joe Carnahan directing his script.
A number of hurdles would have to be overcome here, but the Disney live-action transfer of its animation library has generated the kind of hits that are good for any star’s resume. Smith, whose latest film, Collateral Beauty, opened in the holiday onslaught and didn’t connect with audiences, would be joining Burton, whose last fairy tale adaptation Alice In Wonderland grossed $1.02 billion (Burton didn’t direct the sequel misfire)
Smith would join a parade of big stars who’ve starred in these Disney films, who have included Angelina Jolie in Maleficent, Johnny Depp in Alice, with Emma Stone to star as 101 Dalmations villainess Cruella De Ville and Dwayne Johnson aligned with Jungle Cruise. Stay tuned on this.
Smith has been shooting Bright, the Max Landis-scripted, David Ayer-directed Netflix film he stars in with Joel Edgerton.