Dolittle - All you need to know about the family adventure film starring Robert Downey Jr as famed doctor

A doctor who can talk to animals embarks on an epic voyage with a young apprentice and a crew of strange animals to find a legendary island. Discover more about the film now.

By Sophia Moir Published: 10 February 2020 - 12.16pm
Universal Pictures

Robert Downey Jr. brings to life the classic tale of the man who can talk to animals in the family adventure film, Dolittle.

In a vivid, fantastical adaptation of the children’s stories, Dr. John Dolittle (Downey Jr.) goes on an epic quest with his young apprentice and exotic animal friends to find a legendary island.

From how to watch in the UK to the cast and characters, here’s all you need to know about the movie Dolittle.

Dolittle release date and how to watch in the UK

Head on down to the movies because Dolittle - originally titled The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle - is in UK cinemas for you to watch now.

Dolittle Robert Downey Jr Universal Pictures

Dolittle storyline and book inspiration

There have been many adaptations of Hugh Lofting’s classic Doctor Dolittle books, including the original 1967 film version and the 1998 family comedy starring Eddie Murphy.

The Robert Downey Jr. version isn’t an adaptation of one of Lofting's books in particular, but more brings to life Dolittle’s animal friends from across his various books, according to Refinery29.

However the film is largely inspired by The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle, which came out in 1922, about Dolittle and co. surviving a perilous shipwreck and landing on a mysterious island.

In the 2020 film, we meet Dr. John Dolittle (Downey Jr.), the famed doctor and veterinarian of Queen Victoria’s England. After losing his wife seven years earlier, he hermits himself away behind the high walls of Dolittle Manor with only his menagerie of exotic animals for company.

But when the young Queen Victoria 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 voyage Universal Pictures

Robert Downey Jr. to Michael Sheen - cast and characters in a nutshell

Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man, Sherlock Holmes) plays the eccentric doctor who can speak to animals, who’s joined on his epic quest by young, self-appointed apprentice Tommy (Harry Collett, Dunkirk).

Keeping them company are a raucous mix of Dolittle’s animal friends, including anxious gorilla Chee-Chee (the voice of Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody), and enthusiastic but bird-brained duck Dab-Dab (Octavia Spencer).

There’s also the bickering duo of cynical ostrich Plimpton (Kumail Nanjiani, The Big Sick) and upbeat polar bear Yoshi (John Cena, Bumblebee), alongside headstrong parrot and Dolittle's most trusted advisor, Poly (Emma Thompson, Love Actually).

Antonio Banderas (Genius, The Mask of Zorro) plays Rassouli, alongside Michael Sheen (Good Omens, Frost/Nixon) as Dr. Blair Müdfly, an old schoolmate and rival of Dolittle.

Jessie Buckley (Wild Rose, Judy) plays Queen Victoria, and Jim Broadbent (Moulin Rouge!, The Iron Lady) plays Lord Thomas Badgley, one of the Queen's scheming chairmen.

Tom Holland, Craig Robinson, Ralph Fiennes, Selena Gomez, and Marion Cotillard also feature in the voice cast as various exotic pets.

Dolittle trailer: Get excited for the adventure

Dolittle is in UK cinemas now.

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