Voyage of Doctor Dolittle getting major reshoots from Ninja Turtles director

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

doctor dolittle, robert downey jr., reshoots

Even a doctor needs a doctor, and such is the case for Dr. Dolittle and his new movie, THE VOYAGE OF DOCTOR DOLITTLE, starring Robert Downey Jr. as the titular medical man who can talk to animals. The big-budget family film from Universal was notably pushed back almost a full year, and now the reason is becoming clear now that news has come to light that the studio has brought on LEGO BATMAN’s Chris McKay and TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES director Jonathan Liebesman to do some major tinkering with the product.


THR is reporting that the two filmmakers were brought in to assist director Stephen Gaghan (SYRIANA) after it became apparent the movie needed some work, namely when it came to the talking CGI animals. While reshoots are commonplace with big-budget movies, this instance resulted in 21 days of shooting (not including postproduction) with both Gaghan and Liebesman collaborating on set.

It all began when Universal brought in McKay to assess the current cut of the movie, given his knack for working on family comedies like LEGO BATMAN, which sported irreverent, colorful humor – which is also very much Downey’s wheelhouse. He oversaw the writing of new material for the movie, and was even asked to help direct the reshoots, but was unavailable, which is when he recommended bringing on Liebesman, who had experience working with talking CG characters in the new TURTLES movies.


The reshoots should come as little surprise because while Gaghan is an Oscar-winning screenwriter known for dramatic work, a family comedy costing $175 million is not quite in that same ballpark. Having to incorporate talking CG animals adds another layer of challenge, and word is his first cut were not bringing everything together in a way that worked. Many sense something was up when the release date was pushed back from what was supposed to be last weekend (April 12) all the way to January 2020.

Starring alongside Downey Jr. as the animal cast is an impressive ensemble, including Selena Gomez, Tom Holland, Emma Thompson, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Sheen, Antonio Banderas, Kumail Nanjiani, Octavia Spencer, John Cena, Rami Malek, Craig Robinson, Marion Cotillard, Frances de la Tour and Carmen Ejogo.

As I said, reshoots are all too common when this much money is on the line, with movies like ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY and JUSTICE LEAGUE also having to go through highly-publicized, longer-than-usual reshoots. Things turned out well for the former, earning rave reviews and going on to make over $1 billion worldwide. As for the other movie, well, it at least made the words “Snyder Cut” into one of the biggest red flags a person can raise.

THE VOYAGE OF DOCTOR DOLITTLE is in theaters January 17, 2020.

Source: THR

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