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Doctor Dolittle is a major literary character from children's books who so captured his audiences' imaginations that he's been brought to life on the big screen more than once, notably in a film starring Rex Harrison and another revival of the character starring Eddie Murphy. Now it looks as if Universal will be putting together another version of the iconic character, and none other than Robert Downey Jr. has signed on for the role.

Per new reports, The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle will be another big screen venture, this time starring Robert Downey Jr. and directed by Stephen Gaghan. Tom Shepherd wrote an earlier draft of the script, which Gaghan then rewrote, per THR. The original Doctor Dolittle musical earned some Oscar nominations and Eddie Murphy's take was a financial success with spinoffs, so I suppose it makes sense that several studios were vying for the property, with Universal eventually winning the bid. As a side note, Stephen Gaghan is the guy who wrote Traffic and Syriana, so The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle should be a pretty huge change of pace for the writer and director.

robert downey jr. in a top hat for doctor dolittle

If you aren't familiar with the original children's books, which were written by Hugh Lofting, or somehow have missed out on the numerous other iterations of the character over the years, you should know that Doctor Dolittle is a man who likes animals. Originally a human physician, Doctor Dolittle took on so many animals over the years that his human patients left him in the lurch. It's a fun premise and the musical is especially charming; we'll have to wait and see what direction this version takes.

Robert Downey Jr. has spent plenty of time of late bringing Tony Stark to life on the big screen. In his spare time, he's worked on roles playing the lead in The Judge or in the Sherlock Holmes films, but Robert Downey Jr. has made it clear in recent years that while his run as Tony Stark isn't over yet--he's confirmed for Infinity Wars--it is getting nearer and nearer the end. We'll let you know as soon as that happens, but at least we know Robert Downey Jr. won't be hurting for projects once his role at Marvel ends.

The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle is still in the early stages of development, so Universal has no current timetable for when that will move forward into production, much less hit the silver screen. My only real question is when The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle will be set, as I feel I need to know in advance whether or not to expect a top hat.

Regardless, you can catch Robert Downey Jr. in Spider-Man: Homecoming when it hits theaters this July or Avengers: Infinity War in 2018. To find out what else is coming to theaters in the near future, take a look at our full movies guide.

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