‘Dolittle’ Trailer: Robert Downey Jr Talks to Animals in a Big-Budget Adventure

Universal Pictures

The trailer has arrived for Dolittle, an upcoming adventure starring Robert Downey Jr. as the classic character that can talk to animals.

Downey plays Dr. John Dolittle, a doctor and veterinarian of Queen Victoria’s England who has become something of a hermit since losing his wife seven years earlier. He’s sent back into the big wide world when the young queen falls gravely ill. Dolittle sets off on a big adventure, on a mission to find a cure on a mythical island, crossing old adversaries and encountering wondrous creatures on the way.

Dolittle (previously titled The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle) has had a bit of a bumpy road to fruition. Directed by Stephen Gaghan (Syriana, Gold), the film went into production in early 2018 and was scheduled to open on May 24 this year, before moving to April 12 to avoid Endgame, then moving again to January in 2020 to avoid Rise of Skywalker. But it wasn’t just competition that pushed the release back.

21 days of reshoots were ordered and the film went through a bit of an overhaul after earlier cuts saw the tone and the CG-animals not quite gelling together. The Lego Batman Movie helmer Chris McKay and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles helmer Jonathan Liebesman were reportedly brought in to help finalise the film; Gaghan kept director credit.

Let’s hope the costs are worth it. The film cost $US175 million to make, which Forbes says means the film will need to earn around $US438 million to break around even. It’s pricey stuff; can Downey talkin’ to animals bring in the masses? We’ll see.

There’s a lot of talent here. Apart from Downey, the film’s live-action cast includes Antonio Banderas, Michael Sheen and Jim Broadbent, plus there’s a voice cast that includes Rami Malek, Octavia Spencer and Emma Thompson, among others.

Dolittle will be arriving in Australia on January 16 and opening in the US on January 17, 2020.

Official synopsis and rundown for Dolittle:

Robert Downey Jr. electrifies one of literature’s most enduring characters in a vivid reimagining of the classic tale of the man who could talk to animals: Dolittle.


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, Wild Rose) 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.


The doctor is joined on his quest by a young, self-appointed apprentice (Dunkirk’s Harry Collett) and a raucous coterie of animal friends, including an anxious gorilla (Oscar® winner Rami Malek), an enthusiastic but bird-brained duck (Oscar® winner Octavia Spencer), a bickering duo of a cynical ostrich (The Big Sick’s Kumail Nanjiani) and an upbeat polar bear (John Cena, Bumblebee) and a headstrong parrot (Oscar® winner Emma Thompson), who serves as Dolittle’s most trusted advisor and confidante.


The film also stars Antonio Banderas, Michael Sheen (The Queen) and Oscar® winner Jim Broadbent and features additional voice performances from Oscar® winner Marion Cotillard, Frances de la Tour, Carmen Ejogo, Ralph Fiennes, Selena Gomez, Tom Holland, and Craig Robinson.


Directed by Academy Award® winner Stephen Gaghan (Syriana, Traffic), Dolittle is produced by Joe Roth and Jeff Kirschenbaum under their Roth/Kirschenbaum Films (Alice in Wonderland, Maleficent) and Susan Downey (Sherlock Holmes franchise, The Judge) for Team Downey. The film is executive produced by Robert Downey Jr., Sarah Bradshaw (The Mummy, Maleficent) and Zachary Roth (Maleficent: Mistress of Evil).

Universal Pictures


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Guillermo, Founder and Manager of Screen Realm, lives and breathes all things screen and pop culture. He has over eight years' experience in the media landscape in a career that has encompassed television, radio, and the online space. When he's not working hard on Screen Realm, you can find him at a local Sydney cinema or catching up on his ever-growing list of must-watch TV shows. He's also started a video podcast with his wife, Cassandra. Find the LOUD OBSERVERS right HERE.