The “Bad Boys for Life” star is in early discussions to join the studio’s live-action adaptation of the animated classic “Dumbo,” an individual familiar with the matter told TheWrap.
Burton is on board to direct the project, one of 14 reboots of classic properties in development at the studio.
The casting would see Smith restored to his four-quadrant glory in the movie market, after a villainous left-turn in last year’s top-earning critical bomb “Suicide Squad.”
He also had a rough December release with New Line’s “Collateral Beauty,” co-starring Helen Mirren and Keira Knightley. The film has grossed just $30 million domestically on an estimated production budget of $36 million, not counting marketing costs.
Flesh-and-blood versions of animated Disney hits are big business for the studio, TheWrap reported in November.
“The Lion King,” “Peter Pan,” “Maleficent 2,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Mulan,” “Snow White” and a take on “101 Dalmatians” called “Cruella” are all in the works with bold names like Angelina Jolie, Emma Stone, “Hamilton” creator-star Lin Manuel-Miranda, composer Alan Menken and directors Sam Mendes, Tim Burton, Jon Favreau and Guy Ritchie.
“Dumbo” does not currently have a projected start time for production.
The collaboration will mark the first between Smith and Burton.