Robert Downey Jr. returns to theatres January 2020 with Dolittle, a fantasy/comedy adventure written and directed by Stephen Gaghan (co-written by John Whittington, story by Thomas Shepherd). Downey plays the famed – and eccentric – medical doctor and veterinarian Dr. John Dolittle. Dolittle is a recluse, living among a menagerie of wildlife for company. He's not lonely, however, because he possesses the uncanny ability to talk to animals.
Originally titled The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle, Downey's Dolittle is a remake of the 1967 classic starring Rex Harrison, Doctor Dolittle. The property was revived in the 90's with Eddie Murphy's stint in the titular role for Dr. Dolittle in 1998 and its sequel Dr. Dolittle 2 in 2001. Eddie Murphy stepped down from the role following the 2001 sequel, and was subsequently replaced by Kyla Pratt for the straight-to-video releases Dr Dolittle 3 and Dr Dolittle: Tail to the Chief.
Now it's RDJ's turn to play the animal-loving doctor, as he leaves the Marvel Cinematic Universe behind and moves on to new projects. Will Downey be able to bring the magic back to the Dolittle franchise? Here's what we know so far.
Dolittle Remake Release Date
Universal is scheduled to release Dolittle to theatres January 17, 2020. The film has been delayed twice: the first time was to avoid was competition with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and the second delay was because the studio decided to undergo re-shooting. Dolittle was first announced in March 2017, shortly after Universal secured the rights to the Stephen Gaghan project. The film's original title is taken from the Hugh Lofting book, The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle. Gaghan's previous projects include academy-award winning films Traffic, which he wrote the screenplay for, and Syriana, which he wrote and directed.
Robert Downey Jr. plays the titular role in Dolittle. Between the live-action and the voice casts, Dolittle possesses serious star power. Downey is joined by fellow Oscar nominees Ralph Fiennes and Kumail Nanjiani, and Oscar winners Rami Malek, Jim Broadbent, Emma Thompson, Octavia Spencer, and Marion Cotillard. Established stars Harry Collett, Antonio Banderas, and Selena Gomez are in the cast as well.
The Dolittle remake is not a reboot of the 1998 Eddie Murphy hit, but an adaptation of the award-winning 1922 novel by Hugh Lofting, The Voyages of Dr Dolittle. In keeping with its source material, the film is set in Victorian England. This Dr. Dolittle is a recluse, living in Dolittle Manor among a menagerie of animals. The plot follows Dr. Dolittle's adventure as he set sail, seeking a mythical island which may contain the cure for a gravely-ill Queen Victoria. Unlike the 1998 film, Dolittle is an epic adventure rather than a straight comedy.