Does Will Smith have the ears to pull it off? That’s the first response we have to the news that the former Fresh Prince will be starring in Disney’s live-action remake of Dumbo. Deadline has the exclusive but no details, not even what sort of character Smith would play in the movie. For all we know, he could at least be the voice of the CG elephant. Chances are, however, he’ll be on-screen in some sort of human role.
Dumbo is being helmed by Tim Burton, who previously directed Disney’s live-action version of Alice in Wonderland and produced the sequel, Alice Through the Looking Glass. Both movies featured actors distorted in ways to fit their characters. The more recent live-action remake hit, The Jungle Book, also made some subtle attempt at having its animal characters look like the stars voicing them. There were elephants there, too.
For Smith, this is a great gig, because his star appeal has dwindled and he’s had flops in recent years. Although some of these live-action remake movies do disappoint, such as the Alice sequel, most are massive hits. If Dumbo puts the actor on-screen in front of millions of family audiences, that’s fortunate for his brand. The paycheck he’ll probably get for it, and sequels if they happen, doesn’t hurt either.
Now we just have to wonder who, or what, he might play.