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Robert Downey Jr.‘s Doctor Dolittle movie has already seen its release date pushed nine months, and now we know why — it was in desperate need of surgery. Universal and producers Joe Roth, Jeff Kirschenbaum and Susan Downey saw an early cut of the big-budget movie and decided to bring in Chris McKay (The Lego Batman Movie) and Jonathan Liebesman (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) to help director Stephen Gaghan save the patient, so to speak.
To recap, The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle finds a live-action Downey playing the unconventional doctor who can speak to CG animals. Rex Harrison played the title character in the original 1967 movie, while Eddie Murphy starred in a pair of hit comedies roughly 20 years ago. This version boasts an all-star cast including Tom Holland, Rami Malek, John Cena, Kumail Nanjiani, Selena Gomez, Emma Thompson, Ralph Fiennes, Octavia Spencer, Marion Cotillard, Michael Sheen, Antonio Banderas, Craig Robinson and Carmen Ejogo — most of whom voice Dolittle’s animal friends.
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Image via Robert Downey Jr.
Universal has a lot riding on the new Doctor Dolittle movie, which is budgeted at $175 million, before marketing and distribution costs. Now, reshoots are typical of most blockbuster tentpoles, of course, but not quite to this extent, and it’s rare that a studio would bring in two filmmakers to help the original director right the ship. According to the Hollywood Reporter, McKay came in first to assess Gaghan’s cut and come up with some new ideas, as well as oversee the writing of new material, given his and Downey’s knack for irreverent comedy. The studio wanted him to direct the reshoots — which called for 21 additional shooting days — but he wasn’t available, so he recommended Liebesman, who he worked with on TMNT. Apparently, Gaghan remained on set and worked alongside Liebesman, who...
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