Will Smith turns down Disney's live-action Dumbo with Tim Burton

·UK Movies Writer
Will Smith in 2016's 'Collateral Beauty' (credit: New Line Cinema)
Will Smith in 2016’s ‘Collateral Beauty’ (credit: New Line Cinema)

Disney’s ongoing mission to remake seemingly all their animated classics in live action would appear to have hit a minor hurdle.

Will Smith had reportedly been all set to take the (human) lead in a new take on ‘Dumbo’ from director Tim Burton, but according to Deadline, talks between the actor and the studio have fallen through, for “the usual reasons, including salary and scheduling.”

Smith was said to have been circling the role of the father of some children who see Dumbo at the circus, and befriend the shy elephant who learns how to fly. Tom Hanks is also reported to be in talks for a role in the film, scripted by Ehren Kruger.

1941's 'Dumbo' (credit: Disney)
1941’s ‘Dumbo’ (credit: Disney)

Released in 1941, ‘Dumbo’ was the fourth Disney animated feature, and it’s but one of the great many the studio have lined up to be remade in live-action, others including ‘Winnie the Pooh’ spin-off ‘Christopher Robin,’ ‘Mulan,’ ‘Pinocchio,’ ‘The Lion King,’ ‘Aladdin,’ ‘The Sword in the Stone,’ ‘Peter Pan,’ ‘Tinkerbell,’ ‘101 Dalmatians′ prequel ‘Cruella,’ ‘Snow White’ spin-off ‘Rose Red,’ and ‘Cinderella’ spin-off ‘Prince Charming.’ A ‘Mary Poppins’ sequel is also coming.

Smith’s departure from ‘Dumbo’ might prove a small setback for the Tim Burton film – but all being well, this should clear the way for ‘Bad Boys For Life,’ the long-awaited third film in the ‘Bad Boys’ series, set to reunite Smith with Martin Lawrence. The sequel, to be written and directed by Joe Carnahan, was thought to have been put in jeopardy by Smith’s ‘Dumbo’ plans.

Meanwhile, the next live-action Disney remake – Bill Condon’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ – opens in UK cinemas on 17 March.

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