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JUL
8
2 WKS

Live-Action 'Dumbo' in the Works From 'Transformers' Writer (Exclusive)

Ehren Kruger is writing the script for Disney and will produce with "Oblivion's" Justin Springer.

Ehren Kruger Dumbo - H 2014
"Dumbo" with Ehren Kruger (inset)

Dumbo may fly again.

Disney is developing a live-action take on its 1941 animated classic Dumbo and has Transformers franchise writer Ehren Kruger penning the script.

Justin Springer, who worked on Tron: Legacy as well as Oblivion, is producing, as will Kruger.

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At 64 minutes, Dumbo is one of Disney’s shortest features but remains one of its most emotionally satisfying ones as it tells the story of a baby circus elephant who is made fun for his large ears. When his mother steps in to protect him and is locked up for it, he ends up on the road with a mouse as his companion. The mouse instills into Dumbo the idea that with the help of a magic feather, he can fly.

The movie produced several classic songs, notably "When I See an Elephant Fly"; "Baby Mine," which was nominated for a best song Oscar; and "Pink Elephants on Parade." 

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The new take involves the adaptation of the original movie while adding a unique family story that parallels Dumbo's story. Also, the studio believes that because of the current state of CG technology, live-action movies featuring a soaring pachyderm (or any animal for that matter) are viable.

This is the latest classic animated title that Disney is turning into a live-action movie, and it’s a strategy that has paid off: Maleficent, the most recent example, is a re-imagining of the 1959 movie Sleeping Beauty and has grossed more than $630 million worldwide since its May 30 release. The granddaddy of them all is the Johnny Depp version of Alice in Wonderland, which has earned more than $1 billion.

Among the projects in the pipeline, Disney has a live-action take on Cinderella opening March 13, is in preproduction on The Jungle Book that Jon Favreau is directing and just put Bill Condon on a live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast.

The Transformers movies have occupied Kruger’s life for the past several years. He has sole writing credit on the current Age of Extinction and co-wrote 2011’s Dark of the Moon and 2009’s Revenge of the Fallen with Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. He also is known for his twisty thrillers such as Arlington Road, Skeleton Key and The Ring.

Email: Borys.Kit@thr.com

Twitter: @borys_kit