Before Dumbo flies back to the big screen on March 29, EW has the exclusive first look at the new character posters for Disney’s new live-action reimagining of its beloved 1941 animated tale, directed by Tim Burton.
Dumbo tells the story of a baby elephant born with abnormally large ears, who is separated from his mother and shunned by other elephants. When Dumbo is introduced to the circus audience and his large ears break free of the ties holding them back, the crowd boos him — but the baby elephant has a surprising trick up his sleeve. He can fly.
Revived for the big screen 78 years later and starring Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton, and Eva Green, the story of Dumbo lends itself to a timely conversation about being considerate. “People are worn out, not just by cruelty, but judgment and discrimination and inequality,” Keaton told EW last year, as part of the magazine’s exclusive first look at the new film. The story of an oddly distinctive but beloved elephant serves as a reminder of the importance of “inclusion, acceptance, kindness, and support,” Farrell added.
See below for Disney’s character posters for Dumbo and watch the trailer here.
Born at the struggling Medici Bros. circus, sweet newborn baby Dumbo is initially a disappointment to the circus owner due to his unusually big ears but once he shows that he can fly, he becomes a hit. The baby elephant is put through a heart-breaking journey as he’s separated from his mother, leaving him afraid and alone as he joins a fancy new circus, Dreamland, as its star attraction.
Colin Farrell plays Holt Farrier, a former horse showman who returns from World War I a widower and having lost an arm. He returns home to his two children, Milly and Joe, and a circus on the verge of financial ruin. “What once was my home and a place where I was incredibly comfortable, is now a place that I feel very estranged from,” Farrell told EW of his character. But when Holt is charged with the care of the big-eared baby elephant, he finds a whole new world of possibilities open up for him and his children.
With every hero comes a villain, and in Dumbo’s case, it’s none other than the savvy, slick entrepreneur V.A. Vandevere (Michael Keaton), the owner of a rival, state-of-the-art amusement utopia called Dreamland. With money on his mind, Dumbo becomes Vandevere’s cash cow – err, elephant — and he plans to make the baby flying elephant the newest Dreamland attraction. “Often the antagonist is really fun to play, and it was,” Keaton told EW.
Eva Green plays French-born aerialist Colette Marchant, the star of V.A. Vandevere’s Dreamland. She finds herself paired up with Dumbo for a new type of high-flying act at Vandevere’s circus, bringing her into the orbit of Holt and his family.
Danny DeVito plays Max Medici, the owner of the struggling Medici Bros. circus. He buys a pregnant elephant with the hopes that the new baby elephant would bring more visitors but is disheartened when Dumbo is born and displays his unusually large ears. Medici’s fortunes change when Dumbo shows he can fly and attracts the attention of Vandevere. “I manipulate him and everyone around him,” Keaton says of Vandevere’s relationship with Medici.