EXCLUSIVE: The cast of Tim Burton’s Dumbo is starting to take shape as Game of Thrones alum DeObia Oparei has signed on to play a character named Rongo in the live-action adaptation of Disney’s 1941 animated classic.
Details about Oparei’s character are being kept under wraps, but he will join previously announced cast members Eva Green, Danny DeVito, and Michael Keaton. Colin Farrell will star Holt, the father of two kids played by newcomers Nico Parker and Finley Hobbins. Roshan Seth, Sharon Rooney, and Douglas Reith have also joined the cast in undisclosed roles. It was recently announced at D23 that Burton’s Dumbo will be released on March 29, 2019.
The story follows the aforementioned Holt, a former circus star who finds his life turned upside down when he returns from the war. Circus owner Max Medici (DeVito) enlists him to care for a newborn elephant whose oversized ears make him a laughingstock in an already struggling circus. But when Holt’s children discover that Dumbo can fly, persuasive entrepreneur V.A. Vandevere (Keaton) and an aerial artist named Colette Marchant (Green) swoop in to make the peculiar pachyderm a star.
Ehren Kruger wrote the screenplay and will produce alongside Derek Frey (Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Frankenweenie), Katterli Frauenfelder (Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Big Eyes) and Justin Springer (Tron: Legacy). Disney’s original version focused on a big-eared, lovable young circus elephant who is mocked for his large ears but learns to use them as wings to fly.
Oparei is best known for his role as Areo Hotah, captain of the Dornish guard, in Seasons 5 and 6 of HBO’s Game of Thrones. DeObia also starred in Independence Day: Resurgence and has appeared in Netflix’s Santa Clarita Diet and NBC’s Emerald City. His other credits include Dredd, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Your Highness, Doom, Moulin Rouge and Alien 3.
He is repped by Authentic Talent Management, Scott Marshall Partners in the UK, and N. Hayes Robbins of Stone, Genow, Smelkinson, Binder & Christopher, LLP.