By Sydney Bucksbaum
October 13, 2019 at 12:57 PM EDT

The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle

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  • Movie

Welcome to the jungle, Robert Downey Jr.!

The former Marvel star is taking on a new role with the upcoming vivid reimagining of Dr. Dolittle, the classic tale of the man who could talk to animals, with Dolittle. And you can get your first look at the epic adventure with the first trailer featuring a star-studded lineup of voice actors bringing all of Dr. John Dolittle’s (Downey) animal friends to life.

Previously titled The Voyage of Dr. Dolittle and adapted from Hugh Lofting’s 1920s children’s book, the big-budget film picks up seven years after Dolittle’s wife’s death, when the eccentric and famed doctor and veterinarian of Queen Victoria’s England hermits himself away behind the high walls of Dolittle Manor with only his menagerie of exotic animals for company. But when the young queen (Jessie Buckley) falls gravely ill, a reluctant Dolittle is forced to set sail on an epic adventure to a mythical island in search of a cure, regaining his wit and courage as he crosses old adversaries and discovers wondrous creatures.

Dolittle also stars Harry Collett as Dolittle’s young, self-appointed apprentice who joins the doctor on his quest. But it’s the voice cast who bring the film to life as the raucous coterie of Dolittle’s animal friends, including Rami Malek as anxious gorilla Chee-Chee, Octavia Spencer as enthusiastic but bird-brained duck Dab-Dab, Kumail Nanjiani as cynical ostrich Plimpton who constantly bickers with John Cena‘s upbeat polar bear Yoshi, Emma Thompson as headstrong parrot Polynesia who serves as Dolittle’s most trusted advisor and confidante, Selena Gomez as a giraffe named Betsy, Ralph Fiennes as a tiger named Barry, Craig Robinson as a mouse named Fleming, Carmen Ejogo as a lioness named Regine, Marion Cotillard as a fox named Tutu, Downey’s former MCU costar Tom Holland as a dog named Jip, and Frances de la Tour as a Ginko-Who-Soars. Antonio Banderas, Michael Sheen, and Jim Broadbent also appear in the film.

With Dolittle, Downey is now the third actor to play the iconic doctor on the big screen. Previously the role was inhabited by Rex Harrison in 1967’s Doctor Dolittle and Eddie Murphy in a 1998 reboot. When EW spoke to Downey last year about shooting Dolittle, and he teased that he’s “having a good time, though I decided to give myself, like, 40 additional challenges, like a Welsh accent — which even Welsh people say is hard to do.”

Directed by Stephen Gaghan, produced by Joe Roth, Jeff Kirschenbaum, and Susan Downey, Dolittle was initially slated for an April 2019 release but has since been pushed to Jan. 17, 2020.

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