Marvel Cinematic Universe master Robert Downey Jr. revives one of literature’s most enduring characters in director Stephen Gaghan’s reimagining of the classic tale of Dr. Dolittle, a man who can communicate with animals. Below, check out the first trailer for “Dolittle,” which opens January 17, 2020 from Universal Pictures.
Here’s the film’s synopsis: “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) 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.”
Downey and “Chernobyl” and “Wild Rose” star Jessie Buckley are joined by Harry Collett (“Dunkirk”) as Dolittle’s apprentice, along with a wily coterie of furry friends, including Academy Award winner Rami Malek as a gorilla, Octavia Spencer as a duck, Kumail Nanjiani as an ostrich, and John Cena as a cheery polar bear. Finally, Emma Thompson co-stars to voice the parrot who serves as Dolittle’s closest confidante.
The film also stars Antonio Banderas (an Oscar contender for this year’s “Pain and Glory”), Michael Sheen, and Jim Broadbent, with additional voice performances from Marion Cotillard, Frances de la Tour, Carmen Ejogo, Ralph Fiennes, Selena Gomez, Tom Holland, and Craig Robinson.
Director/co-writer Stephen Gaghan previously directed 2016’s “Gold” and 2005’s Oscar-winning geopolitical thriller “Syriana.” “Dolittle” is cowritten by John Whittington, a writer on “The Lego Batman Movie.”
Recently, “Dolittle” star Downey made waves when he shaded Martin Scorsese’s takedown of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and also scoffed at the prospect of an awards campaign for his turn as Tony Stark in “Avengers: Endgame.” Regarding Scorsese’s claim that films out of the MCU aren’t cinema, Downey said, “I mean it plays in theaters. I appreciate [Scorsese’s] opinion. I think it’s like anything where we need all of the different perspectives so we can come to center and move on.”