Famous for providing the voice of Dracula’s daughter, Mavis, in the Hotel Transylvania films, Selena Gomez now literally speaks for Betsy, the talking giraffe in Universal Pictures’ new epic adventure Dolittle, a vivid reimagining of the classic tale of the man who could talk to animals.
Betsy is one of the most selfless of all Doctor Dolittle’s crew as she often volunteers for tasks and responsibilities. She may seem like a kind, chatty giraffe, but she’s also wildly brave and swoops in to save the day. She’s also an outlaw escape artist—she and fox Tutu are wanted in three forests—and Dolittle’s private compound has provided the perfect refuge and hideout for them. Still, Betsy has no issue jumping into the fray to take matters into her own hooves.
When the production team was thinking of who to cast, director Stephen Gaghan’s daughter insisted it had to be Selena Gomez. “My daughter told me, ‘You have to cast her because she’s an amazing human,” Gaghan says. “Selena’s an amazing person.’ My daughter was right. Selena is genuinely a wonderful human.”
Her unorthodox casting is not lost on Gomez who says, “If they would have called me any time in the world, I would have said yes, but luckily the director’s daughter (Betsy Gaghan) was a huge fan of mine and I’m actually named after her, the character. So, it’s really sweet.”
In the film, Dr. John Dolittle (Downey) is a particular and peculiar genius who most people think is insane and a brilliant curmudgeon—one who has mastered almost all animal languages.
After losing his wife seven years earlier, the famed doctor and veterinarian of Queen Victoria’s England, hermits himself away behind the high walls of Dolittle Manor with only his menagerie of exotic animals for company.
But when the young queen (Jessie Buckley, Wild Rose) falls gravely ill, a reluctant Dolittle is forced to set sail on an epic adventure to a mythical island in search of a cure, regaining his wit and courage as he crosses old adversaries and discovers wondrous creatures.
The doctor is joined on his quest by a young, self-appointed apprentice (Dunkirk’s Harry Collett) and a raucous coterie of animal friends, including an anxious gorilla (Oscar-winner Rami Malek), an enthusiastic but bird-brained duck (Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer), a bickering duo of a cynical ostrich (The Big Sick’s Kumail Nanjiani) and an upbeat polar bear (John Cena, Bumblebee) and a headstrong parrot (Oscar-winner Emma Thompson), who serves as Dolittle’s most trusted advisor and confidante.
The film also stars Antonio Banderas, Michael Sheen and Oscar-winner Jim Broadbent and features additional voice performances from Oscar-winner Marion Cotillard, Frances de la Tour, Carmen Ejogo, Ralph Fiennes, Selena Gomez, Tom Holland, and Craig Robinson.
In Philippine cinemas January 29, Dolittle is distributed in the Philippines by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.