Universal announces their untitled Doctor Dolittle project, starring Robert Downey Jr., has been moved up more than a month. Downey Jr. completely turned his career (and the Marvel Cinematic Universe) around with 2008's Iron Man, in which he played the titular role of billionaire-genius-playboy-philanthropist-superhero Tony Stark. His star has been on the rise ever since, as the actor has gone on to headline countless Marvel titles, including two Iron Man sequels and each of the ensemble Avengers movies.
Stark and friends are set to re-appear in Avengers: Infinity War, but after that the actor's career is relatively uncertain. There may be a Sherlock Holmes 3 on its way, but likely not anytime soon, and Downey Jr.'s Pinocchio project may be doomed doomed to development hell. One project that is definitely a go, however, is Universal's adaptation of Doctor Dolittle, starring Downey Jr. as the titular eccentric. It looks like the studio has high hopes for that project, as well, as they just announced they will be moving up its premiere date.
Though a previous announcement had the Doctor Dolittle premiere slated for May 24, 2019, the date has since been advanced to April 12, 2019. A statement from Universal declared:
Robert Downey Jr. brings a signature new take on a very particular genius in the UNTITLED DOCTOR DOLITTLE PROJECT, a sweeping adventure directed by Academy Award winner Stephen Gaghan. Based on the enduring tales imagined by Hugh Lofting, the epic journey will be produced by Joe Roth and Jeff Kirschenbaum under their Roth/Kirschenbaum Films (Alice in Wonderland, Maleficent), alongside Susan Downey (Sherlock Holmes franchise, The Judge) for Team Downey. Gaghan wrote the most recent draft of the screenplay from an earlier draft by Tom Shepherd.
It sounds like this retelling of the famous fictional scientist who can speak to animals may be more in line with the 1967 period musical starring Rex Harrison than the Eddie Murphy comedies of the early aughts. If that is the case, RDJ is definitely a prime candidate for this role, as he's proven his penchant for visual comedy and charming oddity as Sherlock Holmes in Guy Ritchie's filmic takes on the beloved detective. Writer/director Stephen Gaghan recently directed the Matthew McConaughey-led Gold. He won his Academy Award for adapting Traffic (2000) for the screen.
It's great to see this movie get bumped up a bit, as fans will undoubtedly be missing RDJ in between this production and Infinity War. The late spring date gives the movie a chance to corner the box office, since it won't butt up against any summer blockbusters. This could be a really great chance for RDJ to flex his acting muscles and show us a side of him that isn't Sherlock Holmes or Tony Stark - and, even if he doesn't, this movie still has a solid shot at success.
Though it's two whole years away, this is a project we're excited to keep an eye on. Keep your eyes peeled for more Doctor Dolittle news as it develops here on Screen Rant.
- The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle (2020) release date: Jan 17, 2020