For a whole decade, we’ve seen Robert Downey Jr. dazzle as Tony Stark, the Invincible Iron Man, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But now that he’s done with that iconic role, Downey Jr. is looking to the future and it all starts with the upcoming movie ‘Dolittle’.
The ‘Sherlock Holmes’ star will soon be taking on the role of the whimsical Doctor John Dolittle, a 19th-century physician who prefers animals to humans, both as patients and as friends. But as excited as we are to see RDJ in the classic role, he’s hardly the first person to become Doctor Dolittle.
The Doctor Dolittle that most people are familiar with is the one played by Eddie Murphy in the 1998 movie ‘Dr. Dolittle’ and it’s 2001 sequel ‘Dr. Dolittle 2’. Those movies were, at best, a loose adaptation of the original novels by Hugh Lofting but they were far more successful than the first time the doctor made it to the big screen.
Sir Rex Harrison was the first actor to play Doctor Dolittle in a live-action film, all the way back in 1967. Unfortunately, that movie was a terrible flop and Sir Harrison’s performance as Dolittle wasn’t exactly a highlight of his career. Downey Jr.’s ‘Dolittle’ looks like it will be taking some cues from the ’67 movie, in that it tries to be more faithful to the novels than Murphy’s later adaptations. However, the real challenge he’s going to face is in making the role truly his own.
If he is to pull off a proper performance as the witty doctor, Downey Jr. will have to try and capture the humor of the Murphy movies without becoming a clear repeat. Based on the trailer it looks like this is the sort of approach that the film will be taking.
Of course, we won’t know for sure till the movie comes out, but just based on the promotional material for the movie, ‘Dolittle’ appears to be a truly heartwarming and wonderfully funny tale. And even though it would be quite a challenge to shake the Tony Stark image that he built up over the past decade to take on this new role, we’re certain RDJ is the man for the job.
‘Dolittle’ will arrive in theaters on January 17.