Having shaken off the iron suit and finally shaved off Tony Stark’s awful goatee, it seems Robert Downey Jr. is ready to get back on the horse, and the polar bear, and the giraffe, the monkey, the duck…
Yes, it seems RDJ will be getting more goat-y than goatee in his next outing as the iconic Dr. Dolittle, in Universal’s reboot of the infamous animal doctor who can talk and squeak and squawk with the animals.
The studio have just released the first look at the upcoming film, featuring Downey Jr. surrounded by a whole host of happy animals, including a polar bear with a hat on, a fox on a giraffe, a very smiley duck, an ostrich, a gorilla, a tiny sugar glider, what I think is a dog with glasses on, and a parrot. Though I’m not particularly impressed by the parrot to be honest, those guys talk to anyone.
This is, of course, a reboot of the timeless story, popularised in the ’90s by Eddie Murphy as the titular, multilingual doctor. The RDJ version is, however, the first released by Universal, whereas all other iterations of the characters have come from 20th Century Fox.
Aside from the new poster, details surrounding the project are fairly slim. It was once reportedly called The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle, though it seems Universal may have now simplified the title somewhat to simply: Dolittle. Still, at least we can see Downey Jr. and his co-stars.
The synopsis for the new film, via ComicBook, 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 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.
Check out the poster here:
— Dolittle (@DolittleMovie) October 12, 2019
Turns out, it’s quite the cast after all, including Oscar winners Rami Malek, Octavia Spencer and Emma Thompson. Oh, and John Cena.
The film was originally meant to be released in April this year, but because of studio delays and a few reportedly extensive reshoots (never work with animals, CGI or otherwise), the production had to be delayed.
Dolittle will be released January 17, 2020.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.