When I was a kid, I remember watching the 1967 musical version of Doctor Dolittle, starring Rex Harrison when it would air on TV and then later, I remember Eddie Murphy’s two films of the rebooted franchise. Given that the first reboot was successful, and was almost twenty years ago, it’s not surprising that Universal would want to take another shot at it, this time with Robert Downey Jr as the famous animal who can talk to the animals. To make it happen, they went all in. Along with snagging RDJ and spending upwards of $175 million on the film’s production, they also gathered up an all-star cast to voice Dolittle’s animal pals featuring – 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. So the question is, if the movie has all this going for it, what is going wrong? It turns out, potentially a lot.
Fans were surprised to hear that the film was going to be pushed back nine months with no explanation, but we are starting to see behind the curtain and the picture coming into focus is one of chaos. It turns out that the studio is not pleased with the initial cut of the film. In fact, they are so not pleased that they’ve called in Lego Batman movie director Chris McKay and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles director Jonathan Liebesman to help try and fix it. According to THR, McKay was brought in to look at what’s been done, then come up with ideas on how to fix it and write the new material. Universal wanted him to also direct the 21 days of reshoots, but he was not available, so they brought in TMNT’s Liebesman to tackle them. It’s being reported that the film’s original director, Stephen Gaghan, worked with Liebesman on the reshoots, so this doesn’t look like a situation like Solo: A Star Wars Story, where the original director was canned.