Dolittle (film)

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Dolittle (2020 film poster).png
Teaser poster
Directed byStephen Gaghan
Produced by
Screenplay by
  • Stephen Gaghan
  • John Whittington
Story byThomas Shepherd
Based on
Music byDanny Elfman[1]
CinematographyGuillermo Navarro
Edited by
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • January 17, 2020 (2020-01-17) (United States)
CountryUnited States
Budget$175 million[2]

Dolittle is an upcoming American fantasy adventure comedy film directed by Stephen Gaghan, from a screenplay by Gaghan and John Whittington, and a story by Thomas Shepherd. It is based on the character Doctor Dolittle created by Hugh Lofting, primarily The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle. Robert Downey Jr. stars as the title character, alongside Antonio Banderas and Michael Sheen in live action roles; the voice cast includes Emma Thompson, Rami Malek, John Cena, Kumail Nanjiani, Octavia Spencer, Tom Holland, Craig Robinson, Ralph Fiennes, Selena Gomez and Marion Cotillard. The film will be released on January 17, 2020.


After losing his wife seven years earlier, the eccentric John Dolittle (Downey), famed doctor and veterinarian of Victorian England, hermits himself away behind the high walls of Dolittle Manor with only his menagerie of animals for company. But when Queen Victoria (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 encounters wondrous creatures.[3]




On March 20, 2017, it was announced that Robert Downey Jr. would star in The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle, a feature adaptation of The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle.[5] In December 2017, Harry Collett and Jim Broadbent were cast.[6][7] In February 2018, Antonio Banderas and Michael Sheen were cast in live action roles while Tom Holland, Emma Thompson, Ralph Fiennes, and Selena Gomez were cast to voice animals in the film including a tiger, bear, and a lioness.[8][9] In March 2018, Kumail Nanjiani, Octavia Spencer, John Cena, Rami Malek, Craig Robinson, Marion Cotillard, Frances de la Tour and Carmen Ejogo joined the voice cast.[10]

Principal production commenced mid-February in 2018. Live action scenes began filming in Kirkby Lonsdale, Cumbria in May 2018, with further location filming at South Forest, Windsor Great Park and on the Menai Suspension Bridge in North West Wales,[11] in June 2018.

In April 2019, it was reported the film had undergone 21 days of re-shoots following poor test screenings. Director Jonathan Liebesman helped to oversee the filming alongside Gaghan while Chris McKay helped write new material, after it became clear from first cuts that the comedy and computer-generated elements of the film were not coming together as well as the producers had hoped.[2]

In August 2019, it was reported that the film's title had been changed from The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle to simply Dolittle.[12]


The film was originally going to be released on May 24, 2019, by Universal Pictures but was moved to April 12, 2019, to avoid competition with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.[13] It was later pushed back to January 17, 2020, [14] while The Rise of Skywalker was also pushed back to December 20, 2019.


  1. ^ "Danny Elfman to Score 'The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle'". Film Music Reporter. Retrieved July 16, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Borys Kit (April 15, 2019). "'Ninja Turtles' Director Jonathan Liebesman Tackling 'Doctor Dolittle' Reshoots (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 15, 2019.
  3. ^ Lattanzio, Ryan; Lattanzio, Ryan (October 13, 2019). "'Dolittle' Trailer: Robert Downey Jr. Turns His Franchise Hopes to a Pack of Wild Animals". IndieWire. Retrieved October 13, 2019.
  4. ^ "Kasia Smutniak: «Sul set con Robert Downey Jr.»". (in Italian). June 18, 2018. Retrieved August 28, 2019.
  5. ^ Ford, Rebecca; Kit, Borys (March 20, 2017). "Robert Downey Jr. to Star in 'The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 21, 2017.
  6. ^ Kroll, Justin; Kroll, Justin (December 6, 2017). "Robert Downey Jr.'s 'Voyage of Doctor Dolittle' Taps 'Dunkirk' Actor Harry Collett (EXCLUSIVE)".
  7. ^ Kroll, Justin (December 12, 2017). "Jim Broadbent Joins Robert Downey Jr. in Universal's 'Voyage of Doctor Dolittle' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved March 27, 2018.
  8. ^ "Tom Holland, Emma Thompson Join Robert Downey Jr. in 'Doctor Dolittle'". The Hollywood Reporter.
  9. ^ "Selena Gomez Joins Robert Downey Jr.'s 'Doctor Dolittle' Movie (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter.
  10. ^ "Robert Downey Jr. Unveils Voice Cast for 'Voyage of Doctor Dolittle'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 27, 2018.
  11. ^ "Hollywood film crew fixes giant pothole". BBC News. June 7, 2018. Retrieved June 12, 2018.
  12. ^ Parlevliet, Mirko (August 12, 2019). "Dolittle Synopsis and New Title for the January Release". Retrieved August 12, 2019.
  13. ^ Kit, Borys (April 28, 2017). "Robert Downey Jr.'s 'Doctor Dolittle' Moves Release to Avoid 'Star Wars'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 29, 2017.
  14. ^ Lang, Brent (October 1, 2018). "'Voyage of Doctor Dolittle' With Robert Downey Jr. Pushed Back to 2020". Variety. Retrieved October 2, 2018.

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