Stephen Gaghan directs the new take on Dolittle, which will be produced by Joe Roth and Jeff Kirschenbaum under their Roth/Kirschenbaum Films (“Alice in Wonderland,” “Maleficent”), along with Susan Downey (“Sherlock Holmes” films, “The Judge”) for Team Downey. Gaghan wrote the most recent draft of the screenplay from an earlier draft by Tom Shepherd.
The project is based on the 1920s tales by Hugh Lofting, following a peculiar doctor who can speak with animals, shunning human patients in favor of the critters. The release date news comes two days before Universal’s CinemaCon presentation, where the studio will tout its upcoming release slate to exhibition industry professionals in Las Vegas.
Universal acquired the rights to the beloved character after a heated bidding war, and announced Downey’s casting earlier this month.
The “Iron Man” star is far from the first to step into Doctor Dolittle’s shoes; Rex Harrison starred in the 1967 musical “Doctor Dolittle,” which won Oscars for best original song and best visual effects. Eddie Murphy was the next actor to take on the character, starring in 1998’s “Doctor Dolittle” and the 2001 sequel.