The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle might as well be around the friggin’ world at this point. The Robert Downey Jr. film has had quite a long voyage to the big screen, and it’s going to be taking a bit longer. THR reports Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles director Jonathan Liebesman was brought on board to complete extensive reshoots in place of original director Stephen Gaghan, who remained involved.
Gaghan was always an interesting choice to direct the live-action/animated hybrid based on Hugh Lofting’s book about the doctor who speaks with animals. The award-winning Traffic and Syriana director wasn’t ready for “tackling a visual effects-heavy production that was also comedic in tone”, according to sources familiar with the production. Liebesman oversaw 21 days of reshoots with new material penned by The Lego Batman Movie‘s Chris McKay, who worked with Liebesman on TMNT.
This Dolittle follows in the footsteps of a pair of highly successful comedies starring Eddie Murphy, the most recent in 2001 and made $176M. They were followed by a series of straight-to-DVD sequels, the latest in 2009.
The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle surrounds Downey with a cast that includes Tom Holland, Selena Gomez, Emma Thompson, Ralph Fiennes, Octavia Spencer, Rami Malek, John Cena, Craig Robinson, Carmen Ejogo, Marion Cotillard, Kumail Nanjiani, and Frances De La Tour. After being dated for April 2019 the release was pushed to January 17th 2020.