Colin Farrell: 'Shooting Dumbo was magical and fundamentally sweet at its core'March 23, 2019
Irish actor Colin Farrell has described the “magical” experience of shooting Tim Burton’s new film Dumbo surrounded by 150 circus performers.
The filming of Dumbo was “imagination made manifest physically”, Farrell said, with 150 circus performers from all four corners of the globe taking part.
As well as contortionists from Mongolia, there were wire walkers from Lithuania, South American magicians and fire breathers on set.
“It was Tim Burton’s imagination come alive and I’d been a fan of his for 30 years since I saw Pee Wee’s Big Adventure and so to finally walk on a set of his and one that was as magical and as fundamentally sweet at its core as this [was magical],” he said.
He added: “There was this kind of familial energy there. He’d obviously worked with Danny Davito a number of times, Michael Keaton a number of times, Ava Green.”
Farrell said actor Ed Osmond was dressed head to toe in spandex and wore stilts on his arms to act out Dumbo and bring the character to life.
Up until a few months of shooting Dumbo, Farrell hadn’t seen the original 1941 Disney production.
“Not that I wasn’t a fan, I’d never seen it. I didn’t see it until about a couple of months before I jumped on the plane to do this. I’d seen Lion King, Aristocrats, Lady and The Tramp and that, but for some reason this never came up.”
“But the message at the centre of the original, albeit it’s kind of dealt with in a shady way… there are some elements in the original that thank God aren’t appropriate today. It’s so telling that nobody thought it was distasteful back then. It was before the civil rights movement and things were very different I’m glad to say. But Tim has reimagined it in a way that feels modern, contemporary, very respectful, doesn’t shy away from some of the darker aspects of life like loss and suffering and grief and greed.”
“But at it’s centre it’s a very hopeful tale about inclusion and the celebration of difference and it was a lovely message to part of.”
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