The character of Doctor Dolittle hasn’t been on the big screen since the two hit movies starring (the recently-resurgent) Eddie Murphy arrived nearly 20 years ago. However, the timeless tale of the scientist who can talk to animals is ready start a new dialogue as star Robert Downey Jr.’s movie vehicle, Dolittle.
Dolittle, previously called The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle, presents Robert Downey Jr. as the titular hero as he embarks upon a Noah-like adventure with a whole host of animals to chat with.
The film, a production of Universal Studios, was directed by Academy Award-winner Stephen Gaghan (Syriana, Traffic). Downey Jr. served as executive producer on the project as well.
Dolittle Relase Date
Dolittle hits theaters on January 17.
The film was previously scheduled to arrive on April 12, 2019, but was delayed after poor test screenings led to reshoots.
Here’s the latest trailer for Dolittle, serving up an array of anthropomorphic animals amongst a backdrop of steampunk splendor.
Here’s the first trailer, which arrived back in October. Given the action and adventure at play here it seems a little more clear as to why Downey would choose this as his Avengers and Iron Man follow-up.
Robert Downey Jr. took to Twitter to reveal the entire voice cast of Dolittle, which in addition to the previously announced Emma Thompson, Ralph Fiennes, and Tom Holland, will now also include the likes of Octavia Spencer, Carmen Ejogo, Craig Robinson, John Cena, Kumail Nanjiani, Selena Gomez, and much, much more…
It was previously announced that Jim Broadbent and Harry Collett were co-starring in a picture, which Universal apparently outbid other studios for the right to produce. By the casting announcements and the talent behind the picture (Oscar winner Tom Stoppard also wrote an early draft of the screenplay), we imagine that it will err closer to the original 1920s books written by Hugh Lofting than the Eddie Murphy movies, that hailed from 1990s kitsch.
Intriguingly, this could make for a challenge considering that the last time a period piece was attempted with this material, it nearly bankrupted 20th Century Fox when it starred Rex Harrison in 1967. (But hey it was dubiously nominated for Best Picture as well!)
The plot description provided by Universal for Dolittle reads:
After losing his wife seven years earlier, the eccentric Dr. John Dolittle (Downey), famed doctor and veterinarian of Queen Victoria’s England, hermits himself away behind the high walls of Dolittle Manor with only his menagerie of exotic animals for company. But when the young queen (Jessie Buckley, Wild Rose) falls gravely ill, a reluctant Dolittle is forced to set sail on an epic adventure to a mythical island in search of a cure, regaining his wit and courage as he crosses old adversaries and discovers wondrous creatures.
The doctor is joined on his quest by a young, self-appointed apprentice (Dunkirk’s Harry Collett) and a raucous coterie of animal friends, including an anxious gorilla (Oscar® winner Rami Malek), an enthusiastic but bird-brained duck (Oscar® winner Octavia Spencer), a bickering duo of a cynical ostrich (The Big Sick’s Kumail Nanjiani) and an upbeat polar bear (John Cena, Bumblebee) and a headstrong parrot (Oscar® winner Emma Thompson), who serves as Dolittle’s most trusted advisor and confidante.
Sounds like quite a take on the classic character.