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This Fake Aquaman 2 Trailer Is Hiding A Funny DC Gag

Of course, one area where Shazam! would like to be able to be compared to Aquaman for sure is in the realm of box office receipts. Aquaman became the highest grossing global hit for the DC universe so far, which, to be sure, was something of a surprise for a character that has largely been viewed as one of the Justice League’s punchlines up until now. Shazam! isn’t expected to do quite that well, but then, Aquaman wasn’t either. The fact is that, because of the wider audience that Shazam! is likely to attract, it’s very possible that the movie could do incredibly well by selling tickets to kids who might not have been allowed to go see something like Aquaman.

Why Dark Phoenix Is Keeping Jessica Chastain’s Character Such A Mystery

The X-Men franchise has been going strong for a decade now, but the franchise looks like it may come to an end with Dark Phoenix. Simon Kinberg’s upcoming blockbuster will attempt to tell the iconic comic book story, after The Last Stand failed to impress fans back in 2006. The pressure is very high for Dark Phoenix, especially as it’s been delayed a few times already.

Dark Phoenix will pick up on the X-Men a decade after the events of Apocalypse. The story will largely follow Sophie Turner’s Jean Grey, who is struggling with a powerful cosmic force inside of her. Helping to guide her through this journey is Jessica Chastain’s mysterious character, who was shown as some type of mentor figure during the film’s trailers. But the character hasn’t even been named yet, and Kinberg recently spoke to CinemaBlend about this decision, saying:

It looks like Simon Kinberg’s decision to keep Jessica Chastain largely under wraps ahead of Dark Phoenix‘s release has much to do with the galaxy far, far away. The director/producer wants to keep the secrets of the film secure, and therefore allow moviegoers to get a full theatrical experience in theaters.

Simon Kinberg’s comments about Jessica Chastain’s mysterious Dark Phoenix role come from CinemaBlend’s conversation with the cast and crew at WonderCon. And considering what we know about the film world, his idea makes a great deal of sense. Spoilers have become essentially a curse word with popular franchises, as cinephiles want to be able to experience major releases as filmmakers intended. Studios are known to keep their cards close to the chest, and that’s exactly what Kinberg is doing when it comes to Chastain in Dark Phoenix.

You can check out our conversation with the Dark Phoenix cast and crew below, including Simon Kinberg himself.

To this date, there’s no official character name or detailed description of Jessica Chastain’s Dark Phoenix character. While she’s an integral part of the marketing material, she’s only known as some shapeshifting alien who will manipulate Jean Grey. And that’s all the information we’re likely to get until the blnockbuster finally arrives in theaters. At least, if Simon Kinberg is to be believed.

Luckily, there isn’t all that much time left before we get some answers. Dark Phoenix will arrive in theaters on June 7th. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Vanessa Hudgens Created a Coachella Essential Shopping List on Amazon

Vanessa Hudgens has worn disco sequins on the red carpet, danced in a catsuit on a television musical, and even designed a very chic line of suits. But perhaps her most well-known outfits are the ones she breaks out for Coachella, the annual music festival in southern California, of which she’s been named the unofficial queen.

Hudgens doesn’t employ a stylist to plan out her Coachella looks—rather, she uses it as an opportunity to revisit some of her favorite brands and pick out what speaks to her. “It’s my place to express how I am in that moment,” she tells Glamour. She loves getting dressed up for the festival: “My suitcase gets very full of clothes and jewelry and shoes.” Still, she has packing down to a science: She’ll plan all of her outfits at home beforehand, storing individual elements for each one—apparel, jewelry, other accessories—in plastic bags. “It all stays pretty self-contained,” she says. And to save space, especially when you’re spending days in the elements, she’s developed a phone-a-friend system: “I try to do a big group text with the people that I’m going with, to avoid doubling up on any of the necessities. I give responsibilities to people, like, ‘You’re in charge of the glow sticks, and you’re in charge of the sunscreen,’ and so on and so forth. Just so you don’t have more than you need.”

Still, odds are you’ll forget something. That’s why this year, Coachella partnered with Amazon to set up lockers inside the festival grounds that attendees can order and send products to, from sunglasses to sunscreen. “The most convenient thing ever,” says Hudgens, who admits she’s been saved by Amazon’s two-day shipping in festivals’ past. For its inaugural partnership with Coachella, Hudgens curated some of her essentials on its dedicated store.

Ahead, the actress breaks down what she’s shopping for ahead of her annual trip to the desert and why she considers those pieces a Coachella essential.

Drake, Snoop Dogg, And More Pay Tribute To Nipsey Hussle

Nipsey Hussle was an icon, not only in his native Los Angeles but around the world. The rapper — who was tragically shot and killed Sunday (March 31) outside of his Marathon clothing store — inspired countless with his authentic street stories and inspirational, entrepreneurial raps. Off wax, Nipsey’s community efforts and business acumen made him a force to be reckoned with. He was a figure whose tired smile and perennially calm speaking voice carved a figure wiser than his 33 years portrayed. His death sent fellow artists into mourning. It wasn’t supposed to happen: He’d only just released his debut studio album, Victory Lap, last year after working the higher end of rap’s mixtape circuit for over 13 years.

Artists from far and wide took to social media to mourn the rapper and send their best wishes to his partner, Lauren London, and his two children, Emani and Kross. An overwhelming sentiment shared was anger. “Sad, mad, and disappointed about my guy @NipseyHussle,” tweeted Ice Cube. Meek Mill also expressed a similar sentiment. “Broke me…. we really fighting for our lives against our own kind and really have to take risk and match the level of hatred that we are born in,” the Philadelphia rapper wrote. “I’m tired, prayers for my brother and his family.”

Aside from anger, the most prominent face of mourning came from a positive space. Pictures of the rapper smiling and interview clips were, and still are, everywhere, choosing to highlight his brilliance and tendency to drop life gems in passing conversation. Drake and Nas posted the rapper in different states of enjoyment on Instagram; Nas’s picture in particular shows the rapper with a wide grin while soaked in sunlight.

The world will dearly miss Nipsey Hussle’s talent and, most importantly, his character. Read the rest of the music world’s reactions below.

How Tim Burton Is Different From Every Other Director Danny Elfman Works With

Dumbo on a platform ready to fly in Dumbo 2019

The collaboration between Tim Burton and Danny Elfman is one of the great director/composer relationships in modern cinema. The two men first came together for Pee-wee’s Big Adventure back in 1985, and while they’ve both worked with other filmmakers in the time since then, that does nothing to undercut the fact that they’ve made 17 features together (18 if you count Henry Sellick’s The Nightmare Before Christmas). Clearly it’s a special relationship for both men, and as I recently learned during an interview with Elfman, it’s one that is unique in some very key ways.

Specifically, it comes down to the amount of time that Danny Elfman and Tim Burton actually spend talking about the work. When working with other filmmakers, having discussions about music and the proper approach can take multiple days of analysis, but that just apparently isn’t the way that Burton functions. As I learned from the legendary composer during the recent Los Angeles press day for Dumbo, going through a score discussion with the director apparently barely takes more than an afternoon. Said Elfman,

The spotting sessions we do, where we go through the whole film and talk a little bit about each piece of music, Tim is quicker than any director I’ve ever worked with. I’m working right now on a film where the spotting session will take two days. We did half of it last week, and I do half of it tomorrow. And with Tim, if it’s a two hour movie, the spotting sessions are two-and-a-half hours. If it’s an hour and 45 minute movie, it’s two hours and 15 minutes.

That’s pretty intense, but one could argue that it very much speaks to the power of the collaboration between the two men.

When I followed up by asking why it is that Tim Burton is able to plow through those spotting sessions, Danny Elfman’s explanation was simple: he doesn’t like to dissect, and instead is more interested in just jumping around and just expressing where it is that he wants specific cues. Music is apparently a detail of the filmmaking process that he doesn’t put a tremendous amount of thought into – but Elfman also made it clear that part of that extends from the fact that there is a lot of trust in their collaboration:

He doesn’t want to talk about it. It’s just like, ‘Okay let’s start the music here. And then skip to the end of the scene.’ He skips to the end. ‘I think this is a good place to come out.’ And then he might have like three words. He goes, ‘Keep it kind of understated here. Okay, next.’ It’s like, ‘Oh yeah, make sure you play the something here. Okay, next.’ He doesn’t analyze. Some people get very analytical, and they really want to talk about the psychology of a scene, and Tim doesn’t. He’s like, ‘You know, there’s music. You’ll find it. When you find it, I’ll know it.’

What’s extra funny about this, though, is that it’s not exactly a recent development that began with their work together on Dumbo. This whole conversation was accessed when I asked Danny Elfman about the evolution of his relationship with Tim Burton since they first started working together in the mid-1980s – and the four time Oscar nominee explained that things have basically been the way they are now since the very beginning. Said Elfman,

It’s still more or less the same, other than he’s much more sure of himself and what he likes and doesn’t like then when we started, obviously, in Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, and he was just like, ‘Oh, great. Music. Cool.’ And now he’s much more selective. But other than that, the process is really similar. He doesn’t talk about the movie a lot, and he doesn’t talk about the music a lot.

It’s pretty incredible to learn this when you consider the power of their work together – but also clearly a situation of “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.”

Audiences can now hear the latest score from Danny Elfman in theaters everywhere, as Dumbo is now playing in wide release. And for those of you interested in playing it at home, the MP3 album is available now, and CDs will be released this Friday, April 5th.

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How The Transformers Writers Room Led To The Creation Of Bumblebee

Bumblebee poster

At the end of last year, Bumblebee emerged as one of the big surprise blockbusters of the year. While Transformers movies of the past didn’t fare all that well when it came to approval from critics, the Travis Knight film upended that trend, and seduced both writers and audiences with an effortless charm, wonderful heart, and excellent characters. It could wind up influencing the entire future of the franchise, and it all started with screenwriter Christina Hodson’s involvement with the establishment of a specialized writers’ room about four years ago.

Paramount and Hasbro made headlines back in the summer of 2015 when they announced that they were putting together a team of filmmakers who would work together to establish a short term and long term future for the Transformers franchise. Spearheaded by Oscar winner Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind), the room included a number of talented established and up-and-coming talents, including The Walking Dead‘s Robert Kirkman and Black Hawk Down screenwriter Ken Nolan (who went on to eventually write Transformers: The Last Knight). Having recently had her script The Eden Project included on the Black List, Christina Hodson was invited to participate, and in her own words it was a bit of a surprise:

I got the call kind of out of nowhere to join the Transformers writer’s room. It was one of the first feature writers’ rooms out there; I know there have been a lot since. And it was really an amazing experience. It was 12 of us in a room for three weeks. The first week was kind of focused on learning about the franchise, and learning about the history of the movies, but also the cartoons, and comics, and the franchise as a whole. And then it was about all of us kind of figuring out what story we would want to tell within that universe.

With Bumblebee hitting the home video market, I recently jumped on the phone with Christina Hodson to talk about her experiences making the blockbuster, and our conversation started at the very beginning with how she got involved with the project. It apparently began with a form of Transformers school where she received a full education on what the robots in disguise are all about, and then things eventually opened up to allow the individuals and writing pairs to start workshopping the stories that they would like to tell within the context of the franchise.

As far as creative environments go, Christina Hodson acknowledged that it was a boon for her process, even though her colleagues were developing potentially very different approaches:

We each kind of narrowed in on our own little corner, our own little story that we wanted to tell. And it was just about supporting each other and workshopping things together. We each had our own thing, but we would take care of each other and help each other.

As for Christina Hodson’s “little story,” she had a base idea of what she wanted to do, but didn’t have the details or the full scope of it all in mind. As it happened, Paramount and Hasbro had been mulling the idea of a Bumblebee spin-off in the months prior to the organization of the Transformers writers’ room, and it was with that part of the brand that Hodson’s pitch wonderfully dovetailed. And given that she was a massive fan of the yellow robot, this was news that basically had her ready to jump up and down. She explained,

I went into that room knowing I wanted to tell ‘One girl and one robot.’ I had a vague notion of what I wanted to do. I didn’t know I was going to be allowed to make that character Bumblebee. I really wanted to, because he’s always been my favorite. And when it became clear that I was going to get to be able to play with that character I was over the moon.

Through the work with the other writers, what would be developed as the Bumblebee pitch started to take real form and develop – with it adding details like becoming a period story set in the 1980s. And while it apparently took a minute for the studio and producing partners to figure out exactly what they wanted, and how they wanted to invest their money, Christina Hodson eventually got the call.

When I asked her about what the Transformers writers’ room added to the development of the script, she acknowledged the support and feedback she received from her fellow filmmakers, saying,

It was more about having a sounding board, and having a room of fantastic and excited and passionate minds to kind of get things to sound things out with. I left that room with a pitch that the producers and Paramount and Hasbro and everyone seemed to get excited about. And they called me several months later and said, ‘That the one we want to send to script.’ So I got to then write the script based off of that. And the first draft of the script is very, very close to the initial pitch.

According to reports, that first draft of the script arrived in late 2016 – though at that time there was thought about the feature being made as a summer 2018 release. Travis Knight came on board in March 2017 to helm Bumblebee as his first live action feature, filming began about four months later, and the rest is history.

By the time it was done with its global theatrical run, the film – starring Hailee Steinfeld, John Cena, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Pamela Adlon, Jason Drucker, and John Ortiz – made $465.2 million, and now fans can continue to enjoy it in the comforts of their own home. Not only is Bumblebee available now for digital purchase and download, but 4K, Blu-ray, and DVD copies will be hitting stores this Tuesday, April 2nd. Pick up a copy, give it a watch, and stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for more from my interview with Christina Hodson.

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This Rotten Week: Predicting Shazam!, Pet Sematary, And The Best Of Enemies Reviews

As we make our way into the fourth month of the year, we have a wide variety of features going into wide release. This week we have another big superhero blockbuster, terrifying burial ground, and a civil rights story. Get ready for Shazam!, Pet Sematary, and The Best Of Enemies.

Just remember, I’m not reviewing these movies, but rather predicting where they’ll end up on the Tomatometer. Let’s take a look at This Rotten Week has to offer.

Most superhero stories are geared toward a young man’s fantasy. Get super powers, overcome obstacles, save the world. It’s a pretty standard formula. And then sometimes you get a story in which the hero IS a kid who can transform into an adult with the super powers. That’s the fantasy cranked up another notch. Such is the case with Shazam! in which young Billy Batson must merely yell out the titular word and become a Superman-like hero. How he explores these new powers (with all of their ups and downs) is the theme of this latest addition to the DC Universe. It looks pretty great.

After stumbling out of the gate, the DC Universe is making something of a comeback. Three of their last four movies – Wonder Woman (93%), Aquaman (65%) and now Shazam! – have scored well with critics. Only the absolute mess of Justice League (40%) sandwiched in there was a stumbling block. Critics are really taking to this latest offering, appreciating the candid nature of the story and the fun-loving tone.

Don’t let the comical misspelling of “Cemetery” fool you. There’s nothing funny about Stephen King’s story of an ancient burial ground that can revive the dead and turn the reanimated bodies into all-encompassing evil. Such is the case with Pet Sematary, in which the Creed family makes the bad mistake of buying a new house that just happens to have serious evil in the backyard.

Stephen King’s classics still hold up as horror fare, evidenced by the remake of IT (85%) two years ago. His storytelling and high concept plots translate well to the big screen and this latest fits the bill as well. Early sentiments are overwhelmingly positive with the Tomatometer sitting at 85% through more than 40 reviews. I don’t think it drops all that much over the course of the week but it will just a bit. Pet Sematary looks creepy as hell and critics seem to enjoy the ride.

Based on a true story, Best of Enemies centers around the desegregation movement and the relationship between a Ku Klux Klan leader and an African-American civil rights activist – clashing over a local school system in the early 1970s. From an historical perspective, this flick looks like it hits all of the right notes without ever getting into the nitty-gritty. My fear with this kind of film is, in an effort to make it mass appeal to a large audience, the tone becomes more comedic/melodramatic rather than what was found in reality.

I don’t think it looks bad, but rather a movie that doesn’t really want to offend anyone. And I think the critics see it for that and the score doesn’t quite get to “Fresh” status.

The Rotten Watch went one for two last week with The Beach Bum (Predicted: 47% Actual: 52%) falling within my range of succes. Harmony Korine’s story of Matthew McConaughey doing something like a career-achievement role as a stoner author living through a psychedelic background didn’t land with the whole crowd. Moondog and his exploits weren’t for everyone, and critics were basically split it right down the middle.

Coming in with some rather high expectations, Dumbo (Predicted: 67% Actual: 50%) ended up being a disappointment for Tim Burton and company. Despite the hype around the live action remake, critics weren’t over the moon with the result, mostly agreeing it was a big time missed opportunity considering the source material. It finished right down the middle with both the positive and negative reviews carrying mostly the same theme. Most say it was underwhelming across the board.

Dumbo’s Original Source Material Remains A Mystery To This Day

Dumbo in sad clown makeup

In the discussion about Tim Burton’s Dumbo, most speak to its original source material as the 1941 Walt Disney Animated film of the same name – but while that’s not entirely wrong, it’s also not entirely right. While there is absolutely no questioning that the new film was heavily inspired by the classic cartoon, calling it the original source material ignores the fact that the first Dumbo movie was itself an adaptation. This by itself isn’t all that interesting, but what adds a few wrinkles to the situation is the fact that the first ever version of the story no longer appears to exist.

While the Disney film obviously popularized the tale of Dumbo, it was actually first envisioned by writers Helen Aberson and Harold Pearl and illustrator Helen Durney for a toy called a Roll-a-Book. It’s believed that a prototype was created, and there is some limited artwork still floating around, but apparently it’s impossible to actually find it.

This is not due to a lack of trying, however, as I learned earlier this month during the Los Angeles press day for the new live-action Dumbo. Having learned about this strange circumstance prior to seeing the Tim Burton film and become curious about it, I decided to inquire about the mystery of the Roll-a-Book during interviews with the movie’s producers. What I discovered was that efforts were definitely made to track down the original version of Dumbo, but nobody wound up having any luck.

I first sat down with producer Justin Springer and screenwriter Ehren Kruger, and right off the bat asked if they had any luck finding the mysterious invention. What I learned was that they did a full archive sweep shortly after development on the project started, and while they were able to find some incredible treasures that have been beautifully preserved by the Walt Disney Company, one item that wasn’t included with the wide variety of materials was the Roll-a-Book prototype. Springer explained,

It doesn’t exist. Disney doesn’t have it. As soon as Ehren and I started talking about it, we did go to the Disney archives and we were able to go to the animation archives and they pulled like 20 boxes of Dumbo stuff for us. And there were old treatments, and screenplays, and artwork, cell animation, early drawings, and model sheets. One of the opportunities at Disney is that you can go back to that source material and see what some of the original thinking was… But the Roll-a-Book itself was something that we found out about because we were doing research on where the original idea came from, and read about it. But we don’t know that one exists.

The patent for the Roll-a-Book, filed November 2, 1938 and credited to inventor Everett Whitmyre, suggest that the device operated like an encased scroll that the user would navigate through with a pair of nobs. The reader would turn the nobs simultaneously, changing the image shown and letting the story continue. Specifically in the case of Dumbo, the story of a baby elephant with ears so giant that they allow him to fly.

Justin Springer and Ehren Kruger were unable to track down the Roll-a-Book, but interestingly it seems that their interest in digging through the archives was a touch contagious. The producer noted that the material they had found was passed along to Tim Burton and his team once they started becoming involved with Dumbo:

When I first met Tim [Burton] and Derek [Frey], when they were coming on-board the movie, I brought them a bunch of those files so that they could have them as well.

That was only the start for Derek Frey, though, as I later learned when I sat down with him and his producing partner Katterli Frauenfelder. During that interview I again opened by asking about the Roll-a-Book, and Frey admitted that the mystery was one that intrigued him as well in the making of Dumbo. And not only was it interesting to him, but it caught the attention of his wife Leah Gallo as well. Said Frey,

We looked [for the Roll-a-Book], and actually, my wife, who wrote the making-of book, she contacted Syracuse. I think it’s Syracuse University has some kind of record of it, or maybe the original artwork. I don’t think it’s the Roll-a-Book itself, but they were so happy that we contacted them, because we wanted to get the information on like where did this originally come from? Obviously everybody thinks of the Disney animated picture, but they got the rights to do it based off of that little Roll-a-Book. So it’s interesting.

If you can’t tell where this is going, however, the efforts ultimately didn’t bear any real fruit. Even with all of the resources of the Walt Disney Company supporting the search, the original Roll-a-Book prototype that inspired Dumbo remains a lost item… if you can even call it lost, given how it’s unclear whether or not it ever physically existed. Derek Frey summed it up this way:

From what I understand, it’s kind of like one of these myths. There was a Roll-a-Book being planned. I guess the fact is I don’t know if anyone’s actually found a physical copy of one. I think there’s imagery of it, or artwork that was created for it, and there could have been like maybe like a prototype created for it. But I don’t think there’s actually a physical Roll-a-Book. We didn’t have one, but we looked.

Frankly, this sounds like a case where the thing will randomly turn up in someone’s basement someday, with the person in possession of it being totally and entirely clueless about its pop culture significance. But until that day comes, we’ll just have to live with the material we know exists.

On that note, the original Walt Disney Animation classic Dumbo is widely available on Blu-ray, DVD, and digital. And if you’re curious about the new live-action take, Tim Burton’s Dumbo – starring Colin Farrell, Nico Parker, Finley Hobbins, Eva Green, Danny DeVito, Michael Keaton, and Alan Arkin – is now playing in theaters everywhere worldwide.

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Dumbo’s Original Source Material Remains Lost To This Day

Dumbo in sad clown makeup

In the discussion about Tim Burton’s Dumbo, most speak to its original source material as the 1941 Walt Disney Animated film of the same name – but while that’s not entirely wrong, it’s also not entirely right. While there is absolutely no questioning that the new film was heavily inspired by the classic cartoon, calling it the original source material ignores the fact that the first Dumbo movie was itself an adaptation. This by itself isn’t all that interesting, but what adds a few wrinkles to the situation is the fact that the first ever version of the story no longer appears to exist.

While the Disney film obviously popularized the tale of Dumbo, it was actually first envisioned by writers Helen Aberson and Harold Pearl and illustrator Helen Durney for a toy called a Roll-a-Book. It’s believed that a prototype was created, and there is some limited artwork still floating around, but apparently it’s impossible to actually find it.

This is not due to a lack of trying, however, as I learned earlier this month during the Los Angeles press day for the new live-action Dumbo. Having learned about this strange circumstance prior to seeing the Tim Burton film and become curious about it, I decided to inquire about the mystery of the Roll-a-Book during interviews with the movie’s producers. What I discovered was that efforts were definitely made to track down the original version of Dumbo, but nobody wound up having any luck.

I first sat down with producer Justin Springer and screenwriter Ehren Kruger, and right off the bat asked if they had any luck finding the mysterious invention. What I learned was that they did a full archive sweep shortly after development on the project started, and while they were able to find some incredible treasures that have been beautifully preserved by the Walt Disney Company, one item that wasn’t included with the wide variety of materials was the Roll-a-Book prototype. Springer explained,

It doesn’t exist. Disney doesn’t have it. As soon as Ehren and I started talking about it, we did go to the Disney archives and we were able to go to the animation archives and they pulled like 20 boxes of Dumbo stuff for us. And there were old treatments, and screenplays, and artwork, cell animation, early drawings, and model sheets. One of the opportunities at Disney is that you can go back to that source material and see what some of the original thinking was… But the Roll-a-Book itself was something that we found out about because we were doing research on where the original idea came from, and read about it. But we don’t know that one exists.

The patent for the Roll-a-Book, filed November 2, 1938 and credited to inventor Everett Whitmyre, suggest that the device operated like an encased scroll that the user would navigate through with a pair of nobs. The reader would turn the nobs simultaneously, changing the image shown and letting the story continue. Specifically in the case of Dumbo, the story of a baby elephant with ears so giant that they allow him to fly.

Justin Springer and Ehren Kruger were unable to track down the Roll-a-Book, but interestingly it seems that their interest in digging through the archives was a touch contagious. The producer noted that the material they had found was passed along to Tim Burton and his team once they started becoming involved with Dumbo:

When I first met Tim [Burton] and Derek [Frey], when they were coming on-board the movie, I brought them a bunch of those files so that they could have them as well.

That was only the start for Derek Frey, though, as I later learned when I sat down with him and his producing partner Katterli Frauenfelder. During that interview I again opened by asking about the Roll-a-Book, and Frey admitted that the mystery was one that intrigued him as well in the making of Dumbo. And not only was it interesting to him, but it caught the attention of his wife Leah Gallo as well. Said Frey,

We looked [for the Roll-a-Book], and actually, my wife, who wrote the making-of book, she contacted Syracuse. I think it’s Syracuse University has some kind of record of it, or maybe the original artwork. I don’t think it’s the Roll-a-Book itself, but they were so happy that we contacted them, because we wanted to get the information on like where did this originally come from? Obviously everybody thinks of the Disney animated picture, but they got the rights to do it based off of that little Roll-a-Book. So it’s interesting.

If you can’t tell where this is going, however, the efforts ultimately didn’t bear any real fruit. Even with all of the resources of the Walt Disney Company supporting the search, the original Roll-a-Book prototype that inspired Dumbo remains a lost item… if you can even call it lost, given how it’s unclear whether or not it ever physically existed. Derek Frey summed it up this way:

From what I understand, it’s kind of like one of these myths. There was a Roll-a-Book being planned. I guess the fact is I don’t know if anyone’s actually found a physical copy of one. I think there’s imagery of it, or artwork that was created for it, and there could have been like maybe like a prototype created for it. But I don’t think there’s actually a physical Roll-a-Book. We didn’t have one, but we looked.

Frankly, this sounds like a case where the thing will randomly turn up in someone’s basement someday, with the person in possession of it being totally and entirely clueless about its pop culture significance. But until that day comes, we’ll just have to live with the material we know exists.

On that note, the original Walt Disney Animation classic Dumbo is widely available on Blu-ray, DVD, and digital. And if you’re curious about the new live-action take, Tim Burton’s Dumbo – starring Colin Farrell, Nico Parker, Finley Hobbins, Eva Green, Danny DeVito, Michael Keaton, and Alan Arkin – is now playing in theaters everywhere worldwide.

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