Robert Downey Jr.'s 'Doctor Dolittle' Reboot Getting Major Reshoots From 'Ninja Turtles' Director

The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle is taking the long way 'round. The Doctor Dolittle reboot starring Robert Downey Jr. has recently undergone major reshoots in a rehaul that was overseen by Jonathan Liebesman, the director behind Wrath of the Titans and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Original director Stephen Gaghan was present during the reshoots with Liebesman, and will remain the credited director.

Jonathan Liebesman was tapped by Universal to slice and dice the current version of The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle and rework the film, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Liebesman just came off overseeing the additional photography, which lasted 21 days (not including post-production work), based off of new material written by Chris McKay, the director of The Lego Batman Movie. While McKay wasn't available for the new shoot, he did hand the baton off to Liebesman, who he worked with on Ninja Turtles.

While reshoots are commonplace for major studio films, the Doctor Dolittle reboot reshoots are significant because of the film's long delays, after Universal originally set the film's release date for April 2019. But it seems like The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle will stay in the operating room a little longer, as sources tell THR that Gaghan, who is best known for Oscar-winning dramas like Traffic and Syriana, wasn't prepared for "tackling a visual effects-heavy production that was also comedic in tone." The film is meant to be a hybrid live-action/animated film that sees Dolittle (Downey Jr.) interacting with countless speaking animals animated with CG. But sources tell THR that Gaghan's cut wasn't able to give proper focus to those hybrid elements.

Based on the popular children's book series by author Hugh Lofting, The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle loosely adapts the second book in the series, The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle, which was published in 1922 and takes place almost twenty years after the events of the first book. Downey leads a star-studded cast, which includes Tom Holland, Selena Gomez, Emma ThompsonRalph Fiennes, Octavia Spencer, Rami Malek, John Cena,  Craig Robinson, Carmen Ejogo, Marion Cotillard, Kumail Nanjiani, andFrances De La Tour.This will be the latest of Doctor Dolittle big screen adaptations following a 1967 musical starring Rex Harrison and in a series of films starring Eddie Murphy in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle is scheduled to hit theaters on January 17, 2020.