Danny DeVito on Collaborating with Tim Burton for the Fourth Time in ‘Dumbo’

     March 26, 2019

It’s been too damn long since Danny DeVito was last seen in a Tim Burton film (over fifteen years since their previous collaboration, Big Fish, to be exact). The two artists perfectly balance one another — DeVito’s signature huckster-charm finds an empathetic grounding in Burton’s films, as if beneath all the bravado lurks a wounded outsider still struggling for acceptance. Simply put, there’s a weight to DeVito’s performances in Burton’s films that goes far beyond his (still) excellent comedic timing. The same is true for Dumbo – here, DeVito co-stars as Max Medici, the owner of a failing circus, intent on doing whatever it takes to keep his business above ground. At first, it seems like Max may be your typical show-boating con artist, less concerned with the people he employs than in making a buck or two. But as the film progresses, Max becomes an unlikely hero in the story, his rough exterior revealed to be a mask hiding his own insecurities and self-doubt. Which is all to say that it’s another great notch in the Burton/DeVito collaborations, one that will hopefully continue for years to come.

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Image via Disney

In the following interview with Danny DeVito, he discusses what makes him the perfect collaborator for Tim Burton, if he notices any similarities between his characters, and the worst nickname he was ever called (a la Dumbo). For the full interview, watch above.

Danny DeVito:

  • What is the worst nickname Danny DeVito’s ever been called?
  • What makes him a perfect fit for a Tim Burton film?
  • Does DeVito notice any similarities between the characters he plays in Burton’s features?

Here’s the official synopsis for Dumbo:

Circus owner Max Medici (Danny DeVito) enlists former star Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell) and his children Milly (Nico Parker) and Joe (Finley Hobbins) to care for a newborn elephant whose oversized ears make him a laughingstock in an already struggling circus. But when they discover that Dumbo can fly, the circus makes an incredible comeback, attracting persuasive entrepreneur V.A. Vandevere (Michael Keaton), who recruits the peculiar pachyderm for his newest, larger-than-life entertainment venture, Dreamland. Dumbo soars to new heights alongside a charming and spectacular aerial artist, Colette Marchant (Eva Green), until Holt learns that beneath its shiny veneer, Dreamland is full of dark secrets.

And for more on Dumbo, be sure to read up on just some of our previous coverage provided at the following links:

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