One would think that after raking in millions of dollars as a Marvel superhero, the quality of the work ― not the paycheck ― would determine your next project … and yet here’s Robert Downey Jr. in the first trailer for “Dolittle.”
To be fair, the actor is actually doing quite a lot in the sneak peek at his first role since hanging up his blasters in “Avengers: Endgame.” The accent-work alone ― Downey Jr. is trying to pull off Welsh here ― is particularly cringe-worthy as he communes with gorillas, tigers and a menagerie of computer-generated animals.
Downey Jr. stars as the titular character of Hugh Lofting’s beloved book series in a reimagining of “The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle.”
“I’m having a good time,” the actor told Entertainment Weekly about the project earlier this year. “Though I decided to give myself, like, 40 additional challenges, like a Welsh accent — which even Welsh people say is hard to do,” he said.
The fictional veterinarian has, of course, been played on-screen before by Rex Harrison in 1967 and then by Eddie Murphy for a franchise spawning five sequels. But this time around the character is venturing onto the seas with a deck crew of exotic animals in Victorian-era England.
Produced by the actor’s wife, Susan Downey, the latest version already underwent three weeks of unexpected reshoots earlier this year due to underwhelming test screenings. And its release date has been shuffled multiple times.
Regardless, the project features big names like Selena Gomez, Tom Holland, Emma Thompson, Ralph Fiennes, Octavia Spencer, John Cena, Marion Cotillard, Kumail Nanjiani and more voicing the animals.
Antonio Banderas, Michael Sheen, Jessie Buckley and Jim Broadbent also star in the flesh alongside Downey Jr.
“Dolittle” hits theaters Jan. 17.