Perhaps people should have known “Dolittle” was going to be a disaster just from the names attached. It’s hard to imagine a family-friendly comedy directed by Stephen Gaghan, the guy who previously wrote “Traffic” and helmed the films “Syriana” and “Gold.” But hey, it has Robert Downey, Jr. attached and everything he touches turns to gold, right?…right? Well, as we know now, “Dolittle” is far from golden and is actually closer in quality to the dragon’s flatulence featured in the film’s climax. And according to a new THR report, it appears that the “Dolittle” disaster is more a comedy of missteps and less one person’s sole problem.
The trouble apparently began after the first cut of the film was shown to executives and producers who were let down that the film wasn’t family-friendly enough. For a film that featured talking animals and Robert Downey, Jr, there wasn’t enough comedy and not enough special effects. This led the studio to look for outside help to bring “Dolittle” to the promised land.
The ending, which was teased up top, and featured our hero helping a dragon with some…uh, constipation, was originally actually somehow worse.
“It felt like a morose father-son story, and there wasn’t a big animal presence,” said one source.
So what’s a studio to do when their family-friendly comedy doesn’t actually have much comedy? You turn to Seth Rogen, obviously. And that’s exactly what Universal did. One problem—Rogen was busy. So, Plan B involved “LEGO Batman” filmmaker Chris McKay, who began working on new scenes, funnier moments, and more talking animals.
But then McKay got offered another job and had to ditch “Dolittle.” Plan C involved calling “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” director Jonathan Liebesman. Luckily for the studio, Liebesman stuck around and helped Gaghan and Downy, Jr. work on the film and the reshoots. Insiders told THR that three men were “chummy” and that the reshoots “was not a toxic set.”
That must have fixed it, right? Unfortunately, one glance at the Rotten Tomatoes score (currently at 16%) shows that “Dolittle” didn’t actually rise up to become the family-friendly hit that would kickstart a new franchise that Universal hoped. Instead, it turned out to be an example of too many cooks in the kitchen, leading to a very messy result.
If you’re someone that paid the money to see the film in theaters, you may be wondering what all changed over the course of this constant filmmaking turnover. Well, THR says that one cut of the film featured Dolittle removing an actual boulder-sized turd from the dragon at the end of the film, instead of bagpipes. And the boy that hoped to be Dolittle’s apprentice? Well, the first cut had him as the good doctor’s son.
One cut, according to sources, featured Dolittle removing a boulder-sized stool out of the dragon. In the end, the film showed bagpipes as the constipating culprit, with the good doctor enduring a windfall of gas. And those wondering who had the great idea to have the climax of the film revolving around a dragon’s bowel movements, the report claims that was all Downey, Jr.
With the long-term prospects for “Dolittle” looking grim, one can only hope that a lesson was learned by Universal and those involved with the film. Honestly, with the amount of these sorts of disasters we see on a yearly basis, we’re going to guess that “Dolittle” won’t be the final example of this sort of mess.