Variety is reporting tonight that Spider-Man: Homecoming star Michael Keaton has his eye on another villainous role, this time in Dumbo. One of the many, many live-action adaptations in the works over at Disney, the project will be directed by Tim Burton and has already recruited Eva Green and Danny DeVito into its ranks, with Colin Farrell looking likely to join, too.
While we don’t know too much yet about what Burton’s got in mind for his take on the classic story, Variety notes that Keaton is circling the role of Vandemere, “an exploitative businessman who buys Dumbo’s circus from DeVito.” The part was initially offered to Tom Hanks, from what we understand, and when he passed, the studio went to the Birdman star.
Clearly, Disney is aiming high when it comes to the talent they’re recruiting for Dumbo, even if we fail to see the point in remaking this particular animated classic. Of course, it’s still far too early to judge, but stuff like this is tough to watch for those of us who remember when Burton was a genuinely exciting and adventurous director, making offbeat productions like Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood and Big Fish. Now, he appears to be trapped in remake hell, delivering lame adaptations in which his once exciting aesthetic is very diluted, having lost its edge long ago.
But hey, maybe Dumbo will surprise us all and be a return to form for Burton. Who knows? Somehow, though, I think that elephant might have flown for good.