Head's up, Disney devotees, the studio is continuing its theme of turning beloved animated stories into live-action movies with a fresh take on Dumbo. Yes, Dumbo. I am not entirely sure how a live-action Dumbo is going to work either, but with Tim Burton at the helm, it's sure to be whimsical. In even better news, according to Deadline, Will Smith may star in Dumbo, increasing all adults' interest level in the film by at least 99 percent.
The next few years are looking busy for Smith, who has Bad Boys for Life and Bad Boys 4 on deck for 2018 and 2019. If he can iron out a deal with Disney to star in Dumbo, his Bad Boys plans may have to take a backseat. That's not necessarily a bad thing, though. While Smith is still one of Hollywood's biggest stars, his film career has been a bit rocky as of late. He found some success with Suicide Squad, but films like Collateral Beauty, After Earth, and Seven Pounds were panned by critics and moviegoers. Smith needs a win, and, as strange as it sounds, Dumbo could be it.
Variety reported that Smith is in talks to play the father of two children, who befriend Dumbo after seeing the elephant the circus. Depending on how integral to the plot the family is, Smith's role could be on the small side, but it would put him front and center of a new generation of kids who will adore him. Since his career in the '90s, Smith's sweet spot has been charming the youth audience, and what he needs now more than anything is to connect with the next generation.
If you came of age in the '90s, you know Smith was the great equalizer. Children and adults flocked to Men in Black, Independence Day, and even Wild Wild West. Smith's charm translated across the generational divide, and even then, he wasn't stuck just doing projects for family audiences. His star power led to adult fare like Bad Boys, Enemy of the State, and Ali, where the talented actor could show his full range.
Right now, Smith's career is stuck in a strange place where he's either revisiting old franchises or working on passion projects. Signing on to a big, commercial film aimed squarely at a family audience like Dumbo could be an excellent move for Smith to make. Parents who grew up with Smith will be far more likely to willingly see a live-action Dumbo if Smith is attached, and kids will get to meet one of the coolest actors of said parents' generation.
For Smith, a role in Dumbo could position him as a major box office draw again, and not just for comic book movies and preexisting franchises. Smith has always had the ability to switch from comedy, action, and drama deftly, he just needs to choose the right projects. Dumbo may sound like a strange fit on the surface, but in truth, the film will take Smith back to his roots as an actor, who can bridge the gap between parents and kids at the movie theater.