The news isn't completely surprising. Farrell played the father of author P.L. Travers in Disney's Saving Mr. Banks, and he'll take on a similar role here. He'll play Holt, the widowed father of two kids from Kentucky who befriend the titular elephant. Farrell joins the previously cast Eva Green and Danny Devito, with Tom Hanks said to be in contention for the villain role.
Tim Burton should begin filming soon. Presumably they won't have to wait for any of Farrell's other projects. He recently joined Denzel Washington for legal thriller, Inner City, and will reteam with Lanthimos for an Iran-Contra scandal Amazon series. He'll be seen in Lanthimos' The Killing of a Sacred Deer and in Sofia Coppola's The Beguiled. So yes, he's keeping busy.