Robert Downey Jr. Will Talk to the Animals in New 'Doctor Dolittle'

Robert Downey Jr. Will Talk to the Animals in New 'Doctor Dolittle'

Mar 21, 2017

Captain America: Civil War

Way back in 1967, Rex Harrison starred in the family musical Doctor Dolittle as a veterinarian who could, quite literally, talk to the animals. The movie was plagued with problems during production involving its reluctant star and all the animals; the challenges were well detailed in Mark Harris' absorbing book Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood.

As Harris pointed out in his book, the rather old-fashioned musical also clashed with emerging trends during a very tumultuous time for the major Hollywood studios. Audiences were tired of the old formulas and yearned for something new, which began to be satisfied as movies like Bonnie and Clyde, In the Heat of the Night and The Graduate broke out big.

Still, Doctor Dolittle (pictured below) won two Academy Awards, including one for the original song "Talk to the Animals." Now a new version is on its way.

Doctor Dolittle

Robert Downey Jr. (Captain America: Civil War, top) will star in The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle, according to The Hollywood Reporter. As with the 1967 movie, it's based on a character created by Hugh Lofton in a series of children's books first published in the 1920s.

The books also served as inspiration for a 1998 movie version starring Eddie Murphy as the doctor. That version was quite successful at the box office, earning more than $294 million worldwide.

Stephen Gaghan (Gold) wrote the screenplay and will direct. Gaghan, who won an Academy Award for writing Traffic and was nominated for Syriana, is known for his dramatic material, so it should be interesting to see what kind of approach he takes with the project. Will there be any songs? We'll have to wait and see.

As to Downey, he's already completed his role in Spider-Man: Homecoming, due out on July 7, and is currently filming Avengers: Infinity War, due in theaters next year. The two movies will complete a decade in which he's been best known as Iron Man

He's been talked about for Sherlock Holmes 3 and has a flock of other projects in development. Without the need to work around the extended schedule for blockbuster superhero productions, it's up to Downey how he wants to define the next phase of his career.

Categories: News, In Development
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