Disney’s 1941 animated feature Dumbo did not have much of a script. The film, which saw the titular pachyderm go off an adventure of a lifetime after he was separated from his mother, explores themes of friendship, tolerance of differences, and self-confidence. So when it was announced that the studio would be releasing an updated version of that with a live-action retelling, they tasked writer Ehren Kruger with expanding upon the original while also making it fresh by adding new themes to it.
At the Dumbo press conference, Kruger spoke about some of the challenges that came with expanding the animated original, which was 60 minutes long, to an updated 100-plus-minute film.
Director Tim Burton and composer Danny Elfman have collaborated as a directing and scoring duo for at least 17 films, beginning with 1985’s Pee-wee’s Big Adventure. While many would believe that the long working relationship between the two would mean that they know what they want from each other, that wouldn’t be the case, at least, according to Elfman.
After working together on such contemporary favorites like Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands, the two join forces once again for Disney’s Dumbo, a live-action reimagining of Disney’s 1941 animated classic. In it, Colin Ferrell play Holt, a former circus star who finds his life turned upside down when he returns from World War I a changed man and is tasked with taking care of Dumbo, a new baby elephant whose giant ears make him the laughing stock of an already struggling circus. Little do they know that the elephant has a special talent that will not only save their circus, but also attract some persuasive entrepreneurs who will exploit that talent for their own greedy needs.
We were recently invited to sit down with our fellow journalists at the press conference for Dumbo. During that time, Elfman talked about his working relationship with the unpredictable Burton, creating new music inspired by a classic film, and more. Check out what he had to say here below.
Now that Joss Whedon has taken on the responsibility of completing production on Justice League in time for its release this fall following Zack Snyder‘s departure from the movie due to a death in his family, he has brought on the always amazing Danny Elfman to compose the score for the much-anticipated DC Films blockbuster.
The hiring of Elfman comes just as Whedon is about to commence with the filming of additional scenes in London. Obviously this isn’t Elfman’s first time creating original music for a big-budget superhero movie; his score for Tim Burton’s first Batman in 1989 captured the film’s madness, melancholy, adventure, and Gothic atmosphere perfectly and continues to influence composers to this day. He also created the themes for the first TV series of The Flash, which aired for one season from 1990-1991, and Batman: The Animated Series.
This weekend, Universal will launch the start of their brand new Dark Universe monsters franchise with a reboot of The Mummy. Directed by Alex Kurtzman, the film will bring together some of our favorite classic monsters in an all new shared universe involving Universal Monsters. It will be followed up by the Bill Condon-directed Bride of Frankenstein, starring Javier Bardem; Creature of the Black Lagoon from screenwriters Jeff Pinkner and Will Beall; The Invisible Man, starring Johnny Depp; and Van Helsing, from Prometheus scribe Jon Spaihts, Arrival writer Eric Heisserer, and Dan Mazeau.
But that is just the beginning. Because Kurtzman says there are more Dark Universe films on the way. In a new interview, the man responsible for building this new Universal Monsters shared universe says Dracula, Frankenstein, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and The Phantom of the Opera are being developed. More on the story below.
Shared universes can be a tough sell nowadays, especially now since they can be perceived as derivative. However, if a studio puts the right creative minds together, these shared universes can be very successful.
Universal Pictures will take their first steps into launching their own starting with a reboot of The Mummy. And they are confident enough in their monsters filled universe that they have announced that the series of films reviving the studio’s classic characters for a new generation will be known as their “Dark Universe.” More on the story below.