ABC7's Janet Davies sat down with the remake's stars ahead of its premiere.
"It's the ultimate, because you capture the audience, you have them right in the palm of your hand, you know, they're excited to see the circus!" said Danny DeVito, who plays the ringmaster. "And in our case, we have the special Dumbo, this elephant that can fly, oh my, my, have you ever seen an elephant fly? Well, you're gonna in this movie."
Eva Green plays Colette, a high wire artist who co-stars with Dumbo in the circus. At first she's not thrilled to be sharing the bill with a baby elephant, but fame and fortune beckon.
"She's quite a mysterious character. You don't know if she's a baddie or not at the beginning, and as the film progresses, she starts to fly with Dumbo and she gets closer to him and she's a good girl. She will do anything to save Dumbo and reunite him with his mum," Green said.
Green performed some of her own stunts.
"I was really petrified at the beginning because I thought I would never be able to do this. I mean, as a child I could not go on swings or roller coasters. It was a real phobia," she said. "I trained for a couple of months and it was kind of amazing because I really got over my fear, the circus people were very patient, and yeah I've managed do some things which is a miracle!"
The 75-year-old story is brought to life in the 2019 version by director Tim Burton.
"Every time you go to work he's painting with light, with sets and people and just putting it all into that viewfinder, so it's an amazing magical experience working with Tim," DeVito said of the director.
DeVito also had the chance to work with several circus performers.
"All of the people in our circus were tumblers, jugglers, contortionists, high wire artists, everything that you could imagine, the only thing we didn't have in our circus was animals," DeVito said. "It meant a lot to Tim, I know, and it means a lot to all of us to send out that message about animals in captivity. All the heartfelt, caring, empathetic things that you need to go through life, the lessons that you learn, are all in this movie and much, much more."
When it comes to Chicago, there's just one thing DeVito can't get on board with.
"Chicago, Chicago! I've been there a lot, but you know, I'm from the East Coast, I'm from New Jersey and you know I'm Italian and you guys like deep dish pizza, I like really thin crust pizza and that's the way it is! I'm hungry!" he said.
Davies also chatted with actor Colin Farrell about the joy of being part of this beloved story.
Farrell plays Holt, a former star equestrian with the circus who is coming home from the war after losing an arm. The only job Holt can get to provide for his kids is caring for Dumbo, which leads the family discovers the baby elephant with enormous ears has a magical gift.
"I just think it's the story of an outsider, it's the story of Dumbo, who is very different and is not accepted, he's is shunned because of his difference," Farrell said. "So it's the story of celebrating difference and inviting it into your world."
"I was so impressed by what they did in the creation of the character Dumbo because, let's face it, if the Dumbo character wasn't empathetic and wasn't cute, but not too cute, and kind of realistic, but a little bit not realistic, there's such a fine line they had to walk and I think they did an incredible job, so I was thrilled," Farrell said.
Farrell comes to Chicago every year for the annual Angelman Syndrome Terapeutics in honor of his son.
"The gala, foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics, Angelman Syndrome is the condition my son has," Farrell said. "Once a year I go, and I'm very much part of the community there, and it's an amazing thing to be part of. Yeah, I enjoy Chicago. It's a great town."
"I haven't had the opportunity to do something that's as unabashedly hopeful and also at times sentimental," Farrell said of "Dumbo." "It's just lovely to be a part of something that's heart is so big and so worn on its sleeve."
Disney produced the film and is the parent company of ABC7.