Walt Disney Pictures has found a whole new film category to dominate over the past few years in the studio’s live-action remakes. By using human actors and life-like CGI to reimagine its vast library of animated classics, Disney is giving new life to older stories like Aladdin, The Jungle Book, and Beauty and the Beast. So far, the oldest of these films to be adapted has been Dumbo, a story best known for its titular elephant. But the new Dumbo from Tim Burton also puts a spotlight on some new human characters, like, Colette Marchant, portrayed by Eva Green. And in a Bustle-exclusive behind-the-scenes featurette, Green displays just how much work went into bringing this circus performer to life.
In the film, Green portrays an aerial acrobat who is the star of Dreamland, a larger-than-life amusement park run by the villainous V. A. Vandevere (Michael Keaton). Vandevere brings in the flying elephant Dumbo with the intent of making him his new star attraction, and Marchant is enlisted to perform a new act with the floppy-eared pachyderm. You’ll have to watch the film to see how that pairing turns out, but for now, Bustle can provide some insight on what went on behind the scenes prior to Green’s high-flying performance.
As it turns out, Green wasn’t exactly ecstatic about portraying a circus aerialist due to her fear of heights. "Colette’s an aerialist, and I was absolutely terrified of heights," the actor says in the clip. "And I told Tim (Burton) at the beginning, ‘I don’t know if I’ll be able to do a bit of my stunts.’" But Green was able to conquer her fears by working out and training with an accomplished real-life aerialist.
"I had to work for several months and kind of build a bit of muscle," Green says. "I trained with Katharine Arnold, who is the most amazing aerialist." Arnold has performed at illustrious venues all over the world, including at the Sydney Opera House in Australia, the Monte Carlo Casino in Monaco, the 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony in London, and in media such as the 2011 film Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. Currently, she serves as the creative director at Circus London, according to Acrobat Productions.
"When we first started, Eva had never done anything aerial before, and production in fact had said she really doesn’t like heights," Arnold says in the clip. "She worked really, really hard and basically developed lots of strength. And I think the process of that happening just made her feel much more confident. She’s really happy in the air."
Green doubles down on Arnold’s assessment in the clip, saying, "It was a real challenge, and I’m quite proud of myself. Now I’m an aerialist for real." To see more of Green’s aerial experience, including her training on the trapeze, take a look at the exclusive clip below.
It’s clear from the work that Eva Green put into her character that Dumbo isn’t the only one in the film who was able to find their inner strength and become something incredible. You can see how well Green’s hard work paid off on June 25 when Walt Disney’s Dumbo is released on digital and Blu-ray.
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