The upcoming big-budget live-action/CG animated adaptation of Hugh Lofting’s “The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle” has reportedly undergone major retooling after the fact.
The Robert Downey Jr.-led film was originally slated to open this month, but back in October Universal Pictures delayed the film by nearly a year, pushing it back to a January 2020 opening. Now it appears we know why.
Heat Vision reports that though Stephen Gaghan (“Syriana”) remains credited as the film’s director, recently three weeks worth of reshoots were conducted with both Jonathan Liebesman (“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”) and Chris McKay (“The Lego Batman Movie”) enlisted to help.
The project marked Gaghan’s first time helming a visual effects-heavy production which was also comedic in tone and features Dolittle interacting with numerous speaking CG animals. Gaghan’s early cut didn’t really work with those scenes so needed the help of people who were familiar with animation and hybrid films.
McKay was brought in, assessed the assembled cut and came up with new ideas while also overseeing re-writes. He then handed the baton off to Liebesman who handled the reshoots. Gaghan was reportedly on set and collaborated with Liebesman in an ‘inclusive’ process.
With the project currently budgeted at a whopping $175 million, it’s important the film gets into fighting shape. Antonio Banderas, Michael Sheen and Jim Broadbent co-star on screen while Tom Holland, Emma Thompson, Rami Malek, Ralph Fiennes, Octavia Spencer, John Cena, Marion Cotillard, Frances de la Tour, Kumail Nanjiani and Selena Gomez lend their voices.
Susan Downey, Joe Roth and Jeff Kirschenbaum produce the film open January 17th next year.