Now that Robert Downey Jr. has officially retired from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the actor has a lot more time on his hands to try new things. And while the upcoming Dolittle may seem like an unusual choice for Downey’s first post-Iron Man big screen outing, the star and his wife Susan have cited a few personal reasons for getting involved in the latest adaptation of Hugh Lofting’s fantasy book series.
Stephen Gaghan’s Dolittle was co-produced by Susan Downey, who recently sat down with her husband for an interview with Extra. As well as raising two children together, the couple have adopted an assortment of animals who live on the grounds of their Malibu home, and according to Robert, these creatures were part of the reason why he was on board to play the famed John Dolittle:
“I always go ‘Why this movie, why now, why bother?’ And then I, honestly, I looked out the windows and these alpacas are looking at me and our goats and our Oreo cows and our pigs, the kunekune pigs … it just felt kind of synchronistic. And also, you know, we don’t like to go too long without an extremely difficult project to do together, whether it’s a movie or a kid.”
When asked why this was the perfect film for him and Susan to work on together, Robert joked that it was because “she said so,” before adding that it was “a good instinct” on Susan’s part. Susan herself then explained that she was happy to work on something they could show to their children:
“It was fun to pick something that our kids could see. ‘Cause even though he’s let our son see the Marvel movies, certain ones, they weren’t able to see any of the movies that we’ve worked on. And so it was really fun to do something that [they could see]. I think there was a degree of difficulty too that I was excited about with the visual effects and creating worlds that even with something like Sherlock we didn’t get to do.”
Though it’s been a difficult journey to screens for Dolittle, RDJ seemed optimistic that the whole process was worth it, saying:
“It wound up being a really kind of nice vibe. Very arduous, very long process, we learned a lot. And it’s so nice now because all I care about is, when people see it, did they like it? And so today is the first day, and now we’re starting to promote it. People are like ‘Yeah, we’re seeing it, we’re liking it.’ We’re like ‘Yes.’ ‘Cause we just want to be proud parents.”
The film’s certainly a far cry from the kind of work that Downey was typically finding before his MCU days (this isn’t exactly Zodiac or Kiss Kiss Bang Bang), but we’ll find out if the public takes to it as well as the star seems to hope when Dolittle hits theaters on January 17th.