MouseInfo was invited to sit recently with the creators of the upcoming live-action DUMBO. The press conference featured Director and Executive Producer Tim Burton along with stars Colin Farrell (Holt Farrier, Nico Parker (Milly Farrier), Finley Hobbins (Joe Farrier), Eva Green (Colette Marchant), Danny DeVito (Max Medici), and Michael Keaton (V.A. Vandevere).
DUMBO is a charming re-creation of the animated feature (see our spoiler-free review of the film here) and during this event we got to hear about what it took to bring it all to life. Below are just a few of the things we learned.
With regards to what was so appealing about bringing this story to life, Tim Burton commented “all the old Disney fables [have a] kind of simple symbolism for real emotions” and in DUMBO it features an outsider who finds purpose and success through embracing unique innate abilities. That’s pretty on-brand for this director dealing with “somebody with a disadvantage [that] makes it an advantage… it just felt very close to the way I felt about things.”
The Elephant in the Room
One of the most challenging parts of production was the the literal lack of an elephant in the room. Dumbo is the main star of the feature and yet for the entire duration of the film he’s a completely computer generated image. “That’s a very, very unnerving thing” Burton noted about the lack of an actual main character on set, “you know what you’re trying to go for [but] until it materializes, you just don’t know.”
Why So Strange?
It’s no secret that the filmmaker lives in a perpetual world of strange. From the worlds he builds to the characters he creates to the actors he casts and that’s all part of his process. Having the right mix of people on set is important; it’s “like a family, a weird dysfunctional family,” Burton said, “all the people had to look kind of weird. Naturally. In a good way. It was like Thanksgiving dinner.” Sign me up for that dinner invitation!
Danny Devito added, “we’re all the weirdos. But there is one really weird daddy in the end. He’s pulling all the strings.” Commenting further, Colin Farrell said, “and coming from an actual dysfunctional family, I felt like I fit right in.”
See it for Yourself
DUMBO flies into theaters March 28, 2019.