Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new Dr. Dolittle.
Robert Downey Jr. is trading Avengers for animals, and taking on the beloved children’s book character in a new film called The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle. Universal confirmed the news on Monday.
The upcoming film is to be helmed by Stephen Gaghan (Syriana), who won an Oscar for best adapted screenplay for Traffic in 2001.
Universal won the project after what it termed “a highly competitive situation” in Hollywood.
Dr. John Dolittle made his debut in the 1920s series of children’s books by Hugh Lofting. The character, who shuns humans in favor of animals (who he can speak to), was played on the big screen by Rex Harrison in 1967’s Doctor Dolittle and Eddie Murphy in a 1998 adaptation (and 2001 sequel).
Downey and his wife Susan will also produce with Joe Roth and Jeff Kirschenbaum. Should the new Dr. Dolittle succeed, that will be the third franchise for Marvel’s roaster-in-chief (following Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes).
The actor will next reprise his superhero role of Tony Stark in Spider-Man: Homecoming (out July 7) before joining his powerful teammates in Avengers: Infinity War, due May 4, 2018.