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Robert Downey Jr. Will Be Doctor Dolittle

Robert Downey Jr.

We're used to seeing Robert Downey Jr. playing fictional characters based on written material, but for a new role, he's trying something a little more... whimsical? The actor will tackle the main character in in The Voyage Of Doctor Dolittle.

Stephen Gaghan is directing this one for Universal after re-writing a script that began life with Tom Shepherd. The new film will adapt the work of Hugh Lofting, who created the eccentric doctor who claims he can talk to animals for a series of children's books in the 1920s.

The character previously hit screens in 1967 for the musical Doctor Dolittle played by Rex Harrison. Despite some bad reviews, it went on to win Oscars for Best Original Song and its visual effects and made it as far as a Best Picture nomination. The concept was remade for the 1990s starring Eddie Murphy, who worked on both the first movie in 1998 and its initial, cinematic sequel in 2001.

Syriana and Gold director Gaghan seems like an unlikely choice to work on this, but it'll be fascinating to see what he does. And Downey Jr. will get the chance to play some slightly different tones from his usual snark-tastic Stark stuff. Talking of the genius, billionaire playboy philanthropist, he'll be back in Spider-Man: Homecoming, set to hit our screens on 7 July.

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