Robert Downey Jr. stars as Doctor John Dolittle in Universal’s The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle, coming to theatres nationwide on January 17, 2020. Author Hugh Lofting’s classic Doctor Dolittle children’s series has captivated the minds of its readers since introducing the peculiar life and astonishing adventures of its linguistically-gifted central character in 1920. One hundred years later, the stories of the doctor who can speak with animals continue to withstand the test of time as John Dolittle returns to the big screen in his third live-action adaptation.
Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) in Iron Man (2008)
Universal won an auction for the Robert Downey Jr.-attached project back in 2017 after fierce competition with several studios including 20th Century Fox, the distributor of Rex Harrison’s 1967 portrayal in Doctor Dolittle and the Eddie Murphy remakes Doctor Dolittle (1998) and Dr. Dolittle 2 (2001). The attention that The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle has garnered is warranted when considering its star, RDJ, has already helped launch two successful franchises. His first, Sherlock Holmes (2009), grossed over half a billion dollars worldwide and led to an equally successful sequel, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011), with a trilogy-making third title on the horizon. The success of his second franchise-making blockbuster, Iron Man (2008), kicked off the Avengers phenomenon, effectively rendering him the godfather of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Director Stephen Gaghan at an event for Gold (2016)
Directed by Academy Award ®-winner Stephen Gaghan and co-written by Gaghan and Thomas Shepherd, The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle began principal photography in early 2018. After being pushed up a month from its original May 24, 2019 release date, Universal moved the project back almost a year to its current slot after extensive reshoots and rewrites prolonged production. During this process, Chris McKay (The Lego Batman Movie) and Jonathan Liebesman (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) were brought in to help guide the project along its new path under Gaghan’s direction, who takes his first step into the world of computer-generated imagery in The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle.
The star-studded cast in The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle (2020)
Antonio Banderas (Rassouli), Michael Sheen (Mudfly), and Jim Broadbent join Robert Downey Jr. in live-action roles alongside an array of talented individuals who lend their voices to the computer-generated animals, including Tom Holland, who rejoins his Avengers co-star as a dog named Jip. Additional animal voices include Oscar® winners Emma Thompson (Polynesia, a parrot), Rami Malek (Chee-Chee, a gorilla), Marion Cotillard (Tutu, a fox), and Octavia Spencer (Dab-Dab, a duck) alongside Oscar®-nominee Ralph Fiennes (Barry, a tiger), John Cena (Yoshi, a polar bear), Kumail Nanjiani (Plimpton, an ostrich), Craig Robinson (Fleming, a mouse), Selena Gomez (Betsy, a giraffe), Carmen Ejogo (Regine, a lioness), and Frances de la Tour (Ginko-Who-Soars).
Stay tuned for our first official look of Robert Downey Jr. as Doctor John Dolittle and don’t miss The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle when it sails into Regal January 17, 2020.