After iconically inhabiting both Tony Stark and Sherlock Holmes, Robert Downey Jr. is ready to take on another beloved character: Doctor Dolittle. Over the weekend, Universal Pictures dropped the first trailer for its adaptation of Hugh Lofting’s children’s books. Called simply Dolittle, it looks to be another lavishly CGI’d blockbuster that takes after Disney’s live-action remakes.
Unlike the very loose adaptations in the late ’90s and early aughts that starred Eddie Murphy, this version sticks with the source material’s Victorian setting. Once again, RDJ is dusting off his British accent to play a brilliant but slightly misanthropic man who gets into all sorts of wacky and possibly dangerous hijinx. In this trailer alone, we see him greeting a tiger named Barry (who addresses him as “lunch”), being pointed at by a whopping six scimitars, and calming down an anxious gorilla on the deck of a ship while dodging explosions.
Here’s the full synopsis, according to Indiewire:
“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.”
Dolittle also stars Michael Sheen and Antonio Banderas in live-action roles, and features the voices of Emma Thompson, Rami Malek, John Cena, Olivia Spencer, Kumail Nanjiani, Tom Holland, Selena Gomez, and Ralph Fiennes. It arrives in theaters January 17, 2020.