Robert Downey Jr. will voice Mr. Peabody for Dreamworks’ PEABODY AND SHERMAN
Robert Downey Jr. has won the Peabody Award.....sort of. Downey will voice the classic character, Mr. Peabody, in Dreamworks' CGI 3-D take on the cartoon that rose to prominence as part of The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show in the 1950s and 60s, PEABODY AND SHERMAN. Hopefully, when it comes to The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, the second time is a charm after that unfunny monstrosity that made Robert DeNiro fans weep, THE ADVENTURES OF ROCKY AND BULLWINKLE in 2000.
It will be difficult to mimic that signature voice that the late Bill Scott administered for Mr. Peabody, the canine genius who inverted a common cliché of "a boy and his dog" to "a dog and his boy." Mr. Peabody and Sherman would travel back in time on each episode in the WABAC (pronounce "way back") machine, in order to find out interesting things about historical events and figures.
The good news for the film is that Rob Minkoff, who directed THE LION KING, will direct the film. The bad news is that Jeffrey Ventimilia and Joshua Sternin, who wrote YOGI BEAR, will pen the screenplay. If you do not know why that is a bad thing, this should give you an idea. About Mr. Peabody, Minkoff explained, “Mr. Peabody is this genetic anomaly. He does have brothers and sisters, all of them non-speaking, no super-smart dogs. He’s an outcast, but has overcome it by being so great at so many things.”
This project, like YOGI BEAR, seems to be another attempt at mixed-generational marketing, with the cartoonish imagery that will appeal to children and the character familiarity that will appeal to their parents and grandparents. Downey has some big, and nostalgic, paws to fill, but let us hope that it produces a better film than YOGI BEAR or, heaven forbid, Bill Murray's big regret, GARFIELD.