Tom Hanks Dumbo

For two years now Tim Burton has been attached to Disney’s live-action remake of Dumbo. As the project stayed in development, we rarely heard news about it, but this week is providing plenty of signs of life for the film. Yesterday it was reported Will Smith is considering a starring role in Burton’s film, and today brings us the surprising news that Tom Hanks is circling the role of the villain — a part we don’t see him in often.

Below, learn more about the potential Tom Hanks Dumbo casting.

dumbo ringmaster

In Variety‘s story about Will Smith considering Dumbo, it’s mentioned Disney wants Hanks as the villain. There no are details on the antagonist, but if the live-action film is anything like 1941 musical, maybe Hanks is up for the role of the Ringmaster — but that’s purely speculation.

Right now, he’s weighing his options between Dumbo and a World War II drama, The Grey Hound, which is director Aaron Schneider‘s (Get Low) project about a career officer commanding a Navy destroyer. Hanks isn’t an actor we typically see play cruel or villainous, so perhaps the part, if it’s good one, can show a side of Hanks we don’t see often.

We don’t know much the plot of Burton’s Dumbo, which is a mix of CG and live-action, but if Smith signs up, he’ll play the father of some kids who develop a close bond with the titular character. We’ve previously heard the film “will add a unique family story that parallels Dumbo’s journey” and “expands and deepen the circus aspect of the story.” The screenwriter responsible for this retelling is Ehren Kruger, known for the Transformers sequels, The RingReindeer Games, and Arlington Road.

If Smith does attach himself to Dumbo, it’ll delay or potentially shelve Joe Carnahan‘s highly-anticipated Bad Boys sequel, Bad Boys for Life. Their shooting schedules overlap, so Smith can only choose one.

Unlike Smith, this isn’t the sort of project we’re accustomed to seeing Hanks’ name tied to. He’s not an actor who tends to star in costly four-quadrant productions. We usually don’t see him playing characters that immediately fall under the categories of heroes and villains, either. He’s played great men and flawed men, rarely what feel like archetypes. The other project Hanks is considering, The Grey Hound, sounds more like a film we’d expect Hanks to star in, but we’ll see what decision he makes.

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