As I have mentioned numerous times, hitting the junkets for a Disney film is always so illuminating as you learn so much more about the intricate details of stringing a story together from the pros. Needless to say, they never disappoint because and this session with producers, award-winning costume designer Coleen Atwood and composer Danny Elfman was no different. Here are some excerpts…ENJOY!!!!!
Dumbo being such a huge part of Disney culture and producer Derek Frey spoke to why right now is the perfect time for this kind of reimagining of the Disney Classic…
DEREK FREY: The original is 63 minutes. Tim was aware that the technology had reached a point where you could successfully render an elephant into a live action environment and it just seemed like he’s obviously done some reimaginings in the past. Dumbo is one of the original outsiders and Tim’s films are populated with outsider characters. It’s almost like Dumbo is almost l a personification of himself in a way which is interesting. It’s a simple story. It’s a beautiful story. It’s about family. It’s about believing in yourself. It’s about overcoming judgment and people looking at you in a certain way. Dumbo is kind a of bullied character. I know that’s something that we’re dealing with socially right now.
Celebrated Costume Designer Colleen Atwood has collaborated on 11 projects, so when asked about how to craft clothing for the world of Dumbo she explained…
COLLEEN ATWOOD: I think the idea of creating a world on a performance and period level together is always an interesting challenge. It sort of bridges between fantasy, reality and the challenge of combining five circuses. How they would all look, how the people in them would look and then managing 500 people a day for months on end…things like that were a different kind of challenge. The one thing that’s really amazing about this movie is that so much of it is real in the room. The sets for the big circus parade and the stuff. When you’re in the room with all that going on, you realize you’re in a really magical, rare place that you might not ever be in again in your life. Movies are changing so quickly. The digital world is changing so quickly, but you really felt like you were in the moment of an old-time movie when we were shooting it a lot of times.
Like Atwood, Danny Elfman has a long-standing history with Tim Burton as well.
DANNY ELFMAN: You know, it’s funny, this is our 17th film and I still never know what to expect from Tim at all. Working with Tim is a lot less simple than a lot of other directors. His mind is strange and interesting and he’ll say very little about the music.
We have a thing called a spotting session where we go through the whole film top to bottom and break it down into all the musical parts and give them all a name and a number. He’ll respond to what he hears. I didn’t know a lot about Dumbo. I didn’t see it as a kid and I remember that baby elephant loses his mom…yeah, that’s going to be bittersweet, sad. I had a musical idea, wrote it, played it, finished it, put it away and I’ve never done that before with Tim. It’s better just to talk about how do you feel about the movie? What do you think? Start there and see where we go. It’s all mystery.
I hope you have a little more insight into the making of Dumbo and that it pumps you up to catch in a theatre near you when it hits nationwide on March 29th.