Colette Marchant is the circus' aerialist in the 2019 remake of Dumbo.

Background

Colette is a French-born performer, accomplished aerialist, high-flying star, and the sparkling presence on V.A. Vandevere's arm when he recruits Dumbo for his state-of-the-art amusement park, Dreamland. Much to her surprise, he casts her in a new act alongside the flying elephant, but teaming up with Dumbo and the Farriers reveals more to her about show business — and herself —than she ever imagined.

Behind the scenes

Producer Derek Frey says, "Colette's relationship with V.A. Vandevere harkens back to the heyday of Hollywood when moguls and moneyed men walked around with a young starlet on their arm."

Eva Green was cast to portray Colette. But there was a small problem. "I was absolutely terrified of heights," she said. "It was a real phobia, and I told Tim Burton at the beginning, 'I don’t know if I will be able to do my stunts.' But I trained with Katherine Arnold, who is the most amazing aerialist, and Fran Jaynes, who is the choreographer, and they really helped me to gain confidence and find the physicality of the character. It's unbelievable to swing up really high and spin and do some weird choreography. It was a real challenge, and I’m quite proud of myself on that one."

Before Green could take flight, however, she committed to an intense training regimen. "I had to train for four or five months to build a bit of muscle, because you have to be very strong as an aerialist," she said. "Your arms have to be quite strong, and you need strong abs as well. It’s like dancing in the air. You try to find the right posture and the right gestures."

According to Arnold, Green made her fears clear in the beginning. "We put her in the chandelier, which is one of the props that we use in the film," she said. "I just took her for a little walk and she was not having it: 'I don't like it. Stop, stop, stop.' Fair enough. It's not for everybody. But we kept working, and she was amazing. She worked really hard, developed lots of core strength, lots of upper-body strength — I think that made her feel much more confident. Now, she’s really happy in the air — she's fantastic."

Green said, "I had the most amazing teachers: real circus people. That really helped me to get into the circus mood. Now I am an aerialist for real!"

For the shots in which Colette flies with Dumbo, visual effects, special effects and stunt teams worked in tandem to make it possible. "We used a motion base — essentially a hydraulic round gimbal rig, which you might see as part of some theme park rides," says visual effects supervisor Richard Stammers. "Hydraulic pistons underneath allow the whole rig to move and soar, which simulates the flying of Dumbo. Separate actuators allow the head to bob up and down, separate from the body, and it also has moving ears so that as the ears flap up and down there are actually some lightning interactions casting shadows on her as they fly."

As Queen of the Heavens in Vandevere's show, Colette needed to look the part. "I took more of a silent-movie-star approach to her costumes," says costume designer Colleen Atwood. "She's circus glamorous, yet still set a bit apart from that world."

When Colette is not performing, she has a brown bob, but when she is, she has a very vibrant auburn red wig with waves.

Role in the film

As the circus is traveling to Arkansas, Colette is introduced to the Medici Bros. Circus. She then enters Dumbo's pen where she introduces herself to him. When the circus arrives in Arkansas, Colette tells Joe and Milly Farrier to know how to make Dumbo fly, to which it is explained that he needs a feather in order for him to do so. Colette practices for her next act just as Milly gives Dumbo a feather to help her. After practicing, she tells Holt Farrier that she was a street performer in Paris to which Vandevere tells her that Milly will show her how her act with Dumbo works. Later that night, it begins after the Pink Elephant sequence where she tells him to fly across the tent five times, much to Holt's worry about the lack of nets for the circus. The act, however, was unsuccessful because Dumbo hears his mother, Mrs. Jumbo, calling her from Nightmare Island much to Vandervere's anger and the audience is dissatisfied with the performance.

Back at Vadevere Enterprises, Colette asks Vandevere about why there are no nets during the performance, to which he explains to her that they are only for rehearsal, much to his merciless behavior. Later, Holt arrives toward Colette who explains that Joe and Milly should believe in him. Furthermore, she participates in her next act with Dumbo which she plans to be successful. Holt manages to use a knife to make a hole in the tent to help them escape together. As Joe and Milly follow her riding on him, they fly into the control center as they pull levers to open the gate just as they escape from Vandevere. As the Farriers and Dumbo arrive, everyone bids their final farewell to him before he and Mrs. Jumbo are released into the wild.

When the circus is re-established as the Medici Family Circus with a new policy to not include wild animals, Colette continues her duty as performer by doing so alongside Holt.


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Dumbo Logo.png
Media
Films: DumboDumbo II (cancelled) • Dumbo (2019 film)Video

Television: Mickey Mouse ClubDumbo's CircusHouse of Mouse
Music: DumboDumbo (2019 soundtrack)
Books: Disney's Wonderful World of ReadingDumbo's CircusThe Art and Making of Dumbo
Video Games: Disney's Villains' RevengeDisney Emoji Blitz

Disney Parks
Casey Jr. Circus TrainCasey Jr. Splash 'n' Soak StationDisney Animation BuildingDumbo the Flying ElephantGames of the Boardwalk

Entertainment: AnimagiqueFantasmic!Once Upon a Mouse
Restaurants: Timothy's Treats
Shops: Casey Jr. Trinket Train
Parades: Disney's Dreams On Parade: Moving OnFlights of Fantasy ParadeFestival of Fantasy ParadeHappiness is Here ParadeJubilation!Main Street Electrical ParadeMickey's Storybook ExpressThe Wonderful World of Disney Parade (The Float)
Fireworks: Celebrate the MagicDisneyland ForeverHappily Ever AfterMagicalOnce Upon a TimeRemember... Dreams Come TrueWonderful World of Animation
Halloween: Happy Hallowishes

Characters
Original: DumboTimothy Q. MouseMrs. JumboCircus ElephantsRingmasterMr. StorkCasey JuniorPink ElephantsThe CrowsCircus AnimalsClowns

Dumbo's Circus: LionelFair DinkumQ.T.BarnabyLilliSebastianFlip & FlapLittle Bo PeepLittle Red Riding HoodBig Bad Wolf
Deleted: Penny • Godfry • Dot • Claude and Lolly
Remake: Holt FarrierV.A. VandevereColette MarchantMilly FarrierMax MediciJoe FarrierMiss AtlantisRongoPuckPramesh SinghIvan the WonderfulCatherine the GreaterNeils SkelligJ. Griffin RemingtonRufus Sorghum

Songs
Look Out for Mr. StorkCasey, Jr.RoustaboutsBaby MineHit the Big BossPink Elephants on ParadeWhen I See an Elephant Fly
Locations
FloridaCircus
Objects
The Magic Feather
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