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Will Smith Circling Tim Burton’s Live-Action ‘Dumbo’ Adaptation

Will Smith is in early talks to star in Disney’s live-action adaptation of “Dumbo.”

Sources tell Variety that a deal is far from closed, but if Smith were to take the role, it will likely have a significant effect on the future of the upcoming “Bad Boys” sequel, “Bad Boys for Life.” Sources indicate that both films would shoot at the same time. If Smith is leaning toward “Dumbo,” the start date for “Bad Boys 3” would be pushed back or the film could be shelved entirely.

If a deal closes, Smith would play the father of the children who develop a friendship with the lovable elephant after seeing him at the circus. Insiders also indicate that Tom Hanks has been offered a role as the villain. He may, however, choose instead to star in the World War II drama “The Grey Hound.”

Tim Burton is attached to direct from Ehren Kruger’s script. Justin Springer, who worked on “Tron: Legacy” and “Oblivion,” is producing with Kruger.

The original story followed a ridiculed baby circus elephant, who, with the help of a mouse, worked to achieve his full potential. Burton’s film will be a mix of live action and animation.

The studio’s emphasis on live-action movies comes after the success of “Maleficent” and “Cinderella.” Next year’s “Beauty and the Beast” is already one of the most anticipated movies of 2017. The first “Beauty and the Beast” teaser trailer was viewed a record 91.8 million times in its first 24 hours in May, besting “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” The movie, starring Emma Watson, Luke Evans, and Dan Stevens, will be released on March 17.

Smith just wrapped production on the Netflix pic “Bright,” and was recently seen in “Collateral Beauty” and “Suicide Squad.” He is repped by CAA and Overbrook Entertainment. Deadline Hollywood first reported the news.

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