Actor Robert Downey Jr. has been on one heck of a movie journey over the past 11 years playing Iron Man in various Marvel films, culminating in the biggest movie of all time: Avengers: Endgame. As he embarks on the next phase of his career, he’s decided to take some furry friends along for the ride in Dolittle, previously known as The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle.

Inspired by a series of Hugh Lofting children’s books, beginning with 1920’s The Story of Doctor Dolittle, the new film is described by Universal Pictures as follows: “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.”

Other cast members include Craig Robinson as Fleming, a mouse; Tom Holland (who played Spider-Man alongside Robert in a number of Marvel films) Jip, a dog; Selena Gomez as Betsy, a giraffe; Marion Cotillard as Tutu, a fox; Carmen Ejogo as Regine, a lioness; and Ralph Fiennes as Barry, a tiger.

Dolittle had previously been played by Rex Harrison in the 1967 musical Doctor Dolittle, with Eddie Murphy taking a more comic approach in a pair of films released in 1998 and 2001.

Look for Dolittle and friends to reach theaters on January 17, 2020.

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