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Feature Film

Downey Jr. voicing “Mr. Peabody” for Dreamworks

From the writers of the recent Yogi Bear movie (Jeffrey Ventimilia and Joshua Sternin), the director of Stuart Little and The Lion King (Rob Minkoff) and the studio that brings you more Shrek than you know what to do with… comes a new movie, Mr. Peabody and Sherman, based on the cartoon from Jay Ward’s Rocky & Bullwinkle Show. Entertainment Weekly has announced that Robert Downey Jr. (the current voice of Mr. Peanut) will voice Mr. Peabody.

Let’s hope its even half as good as this:

  • Cyber Fox

    I am skeptic about this due to
    1. No promotion material of the Dreamworks adaptation is released to show what they or the film might look like
    2. If Robert Downey Jr. will pull off Mr. Peadody well

    now, Knowing there will be refering to the film “The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle” with some thrashing involved, The film did the best it could to be faithful to the series plus it even jabs at it’s fate as reruns
    plus like the cartoon, It doesn’t take itself seriously.

    • Jay

      Uh – the film comes out in THREE years – give them some time, we’ve barely seen anything from the films coming out this year.

  • Vineet

    I like how a slow news day leads to a great cartoon.

  • This one has been cooking for a while. At best it may get kids interested in history again. Plenty of room for corny historical puns…

  • I think Shane Prigmore and Shannon Tindle were designing this film at one point… could be cool for that alone!!

  • Steve M.

    I’m going to perdict it’s not going to be even close to the cartoon it’s supposed to be.

  • Julian Carter

    Er …

    Can somebody provide me with a list of all the films DreamWorks Animation has announced for the following five years (and beyond)? There have been so many I’ve lost count. Surely these films are still in the development stage and not yet greenlighted?

    • Jmatte

      Announced for certain:
      Kung Fu Panda 2 (May)
      Puss In Boots (Autumn?)

      The Croods (March)
      Madagascar 3 (June?)
      Guardians (title may change due to a certain Owl movie- November)

      Officially announced beyond 2012:
      How To Train Your Dragon 2 (2013?)
      Me and my Shadow (2013 or 2014?)
      Monkeys of Bollywood (really don’t know when its released nor know much about it, that just got announced)
      Peabody and Sherman (2014)
      There are possibilities of changes for anything beyond 2012, though Dragon and Shadow seem pretty solid.

  • Jay

    I don’t think it’s terribly fair to point out the Yogi Bear writers – I feel like writers change frequently by the time any animated film comes out. I’m interested to see what they do with these characters – keep in mind, DreamWorks has never adapted a pre-existing cartoon before.

  • Emil Flaim

    The talented Downey can do it. His Peabody voice will be worth half the price of admission. The rest will be a tax write-off.

  • Dan

    This is, sadly, just another Titanic waiting to sink. The humor of Ward and Scott is vastly more sophisticated than the embarrassing stuff they’re doing today.

    As the makers of the dreadful GEORGE OF THE JUNGLE movie didn’t learn, you cannot satirize a satire.

    • I actually liked the George of the Jungle movie back when it came out, but then again I was just a kid and had never seen the original series. Pretty every attempt to revive Jay Ward’s creations has inevitably fallen flat, with the only real exception being that Fractured Fairy Tales short that was shown before the Dudley Do-right (It was so good, I bought the DVD release of that movie solely for the short).

      It’s sad that Ward’s characters have never really gotten a truly worthy update. It’s especially when you considering that many of the unproduced Bullwinkle revivals sound much more appealing than what has been done with Ward’s creations. Back in the ’70’s and ’80’s, Bill Scott and Jay Ward tried several times to make new productions (several conceived TV specials and even a planned new TV series) with Bullwinkle that, for various reasons, all fell through. And in the late 1980s, Disney’s TV animation department had conceived an R&B revival without properly acquiring the rights ( ). And I hear that the only reason Matt Groening never made a new Bullwinkle Show is because he had to choose between our Frostbite Falls-based heroes and his own baby, Futurama.

  • ShouldBeWorkin’

    I’m as skeptical as usual. But ya know, I always liked the concept of the genius talking dog with a pet boy. Peabody & Sherman could work as a story without changing the concept whereas other cartoon adaptations are given a plausiblity workover when taken into the liveaction hyper real CG media. That is: things we accept in a goofy cartoon (becasue it is a goofy cartoon)require more explanation as it is moved visually closer to reality.
    Robert Downey Jr. is one of my favorite actors. I think he is a chameleon. If he doesn’t mail-in the voice work and it’s not just a gravy cheque, he could be great in this.

  • “More Shrek than you know what to do with…” Also the studio who brought you Kung Fu Panda, and How to Train your Dragon.

  • Keep in mind guys that unlike most cartoon adaptions that were done in live-action with horrible CG versions of the characters, this will be FULLY animated. My only question is that will this lead to the studios to fully stop doing the cartoons in live-action for fully animation? I know that there’s a popeye movie thats CG coming our way so lets wait and see how this does.

  • Justin

    So far Robert Downey Jr. is not the best choice (I’ve yet to hear his imitation of Peabody). There goes a job oppurtunity for Keith Scott. I’ll bet you he could do a better job than Downey Jr. could.

  • Some girl

    For an animation site, people sure do have little faith in films these days. Sad. Actually looking forward to this! Might be very intersting.

  • I first heard about this project so long ago that for a while, I thought it might have been canceled. With Minkoff at the helm, I’m hoping for the best, but with the writers of the Yogi Bear movie on board, my expectations have sunk a bit.

  • AaronSch

    It’s easy to become jaded when you regularly see your favorite animated characters mishandledin ill-conceived live action and animated films. All too often nostalgia for the characters is expected to carry the weight of these productions but alas, the characters are rarely given anything entertaining to do or say.

  • Well, at least it’s animated.

    And not live-action like everything else these days!

  • Chubby

    Casting Downey, Jr. to voice Mr. Peabody gives this bad idea for a movie promise. Downey could turn filibustering into an art form. Downey is the consummate actor.

    Mr. Peabody and Sherman as a full length movie, huh? My imagination can’t stretch that far. lol They should take their overblown budget and just do a cutting-edge movie on Jay Ward. Ward was quite an interesting card!

  • Am I the only one who will think this movie has a chance – if they also cast Brendan Fraiser?

  • Matt Petersen

    This is probably one of the few times that IF they get the design of Mr Peabody right, actually write smart funny lines, and have a good story that mirrors the originals I would accept a live action version of an animated cartoon.

  • The Gee

    I have seen people mentioning the Popeye CG flick and after a little research….oy.
    I can’ts stands no more.

    Popeye can carry a feature, I can see that. But, with Peabody and Sherman…it is probably my limited imagination but I can’t see anything more than 40 minutes. Sure the premise allows for padding… lots of it, if needed.

    But, the thing is unlike one of the animated sitcoms made into features or even the other two Ward Productions adaptations, the shorts for Peabody don’t lend themselves to big stories. Or, maybe that should be they don’t easily lend themselves to big stories so I guess I’m of the opinion: why bother?

    More often than not–and I’m no expert on everyone of the shorts–the two characters are just there to set up gags, including delivering the payoff line at the end. Otherwise there’s an omniscient narrator, who provides yucks, and the oddball nature of the historical event that is in the drivers seat.

    Something could be done with the characters and the premise, sure. But, feature-length? Enh.

    Oh, and on the Popeye, it is a drag that someone like Bobby London isn’t involved with writing it. I’d feel better about it if he (or someone with cartoon chops) were involved. The TV special from 2004 was a cobbled together affair, storywise.

  • Awful idea, but I do know who they need to cast as Sherman:


  • Gummo

    Downey is a great choice, sure, but the whole idea is pretty awful.

    P&S were, what?, 2 1/2, 3 minute cartoons? And they’re going to stretch that out to 75 minutes? What are they going to do, give Sherman an inappropriately Dickensian backstory? And tell us how Mr. Peabody got smart because he was the mascot of a secret government lab, where he was exposed to alpha-beta-gamma-epsilon radiation and….

    No. Just no. We have the DVDs of the original Rocky & Bullwinkle series; why not leave well enough alone and get Downey involved in something original? Like Johnny Depp in Rango?

  • Kieran Pertnav

    I have never been a fan of the original Peabody and Sherman shorts. They were formulaic, the gags were boring, and they were often pretty racist. I’d much rather see Dudley Do-Right or even Fractured Fairly Tales get a movie treatment. Of course, I’d rather just see an original idea on the big screen instead of yet another adaptation.

  • Steve Gattuso

    This is the pre-production phase of this project. Some names are attached, some ideas being tossed around, but no guarantee it will be completed. I will wait until I see actual production work before even trying to form an opinion.

    I will say that I think it would be wiser for Dreamworks to make such a film as Flash-based 2-D rather than anything 3-D, which will make it possible to retain the feel of the original show while keeping it fresh. But what do I know, I’m just a prole.

  • Giovanni Jones

    Know what would really be cool?

    Do a feature film that resembles a typical Rocky & Bullwinkle syndicated episode. Sprinkle the serialized R&B story throughout the feature, interrupted by Peabody & Sherman, Fractured Fairy Tales, Dudley Do-Right and Aesop & Son. And to be really accurate, throw in a stray Leonardo-TTV episode or two, the way the old time syndicators used to. You know, a Klondike Kat or a Tooter the Turtle. Or Commander McBragg — but only for about 45 seconds.

    It’ll be like Grindhouse, only animated.

    • Shannon

      Now I want to make an animated Grindhouse movie XD

  • touchshriel

    Coming soon: Super Chicken, starring Seth Rogen.

    • Chubby

      LOOL. Rogen would probably chomp at the bit for the role. This movie should be done…just to throw out the baby with the bath water. The Rocky and Bullwinkle movie with De Niro was a perfect train wreck.

      Let Hollywood ruin the other Jay Ward franchises for consistency. LOOOL We might get a laugh out of it. Some accidents are funny!

  • Why do they attempt to recreate a classic? No matter how much money they throw into it the piece always comes out
    horrible.And besides the beauty of those cartoons is that they were so cheap looking.That added to its appeal.The only way to come close is to allow the creative minds who understand it,make it what it is or was and not attempt to change it.Just put the characters in new stories.

  • Seth Rogen as FRED, Please..

    So what I wanna know is:
    How did the Peabody clip posted here, END?!? What was in Sherman’s hands? Beans? What’s the “punny” ending?

  • Keith Paynter

    Whoever they get to play Sherman should take note – never go “full retard”.

  • Sir Rupp Of Figgs

    @Lippy from one of the youtube comments, “Sherman finds a key on the ground and Mr Peabody congratulates him. When Sherman asks why, Mr Peabody replies that he (Sherman) is now the proud owner of one of the Florida Keys.”

  • For some reason the little pic of Mr. Peabody that you included at the top of the web to make us remember about this topic really looks a lot like Downey Jr. to me. LOL. I don’t know why but he does have a certain Downey Jr. expression in that pic.

    I don’t know about this. The idea of doing it entirely animated is good. And making it feature-length? Well, it could also work, time travelling and different eras of history can be interesting or spectacular enough, though these cartoons are sort of defined by how un-spectacular and simple everything is.

    Anyway I think it will probably be decent if they get close to the personality of the characters and the style of humor.

    I mean, BlueSky’s Horton…looked great and some of the characters (the major of Whoville) had funny personalities, but the humor, morals and the style of pacing of the story was terrible and completely different to the spirit of the tale. It’s one thing to make it a little more contemporary for modern audience, and it’s other thing to forget what made the originals interesting to begin with.

  • The Gee

    What he wrote.

    The pacing was good for the length of the shorts.

    It could be done long form and you could ditch having it be constantly jokey or you could make it all jokey. But, there was a particular sensibility to the originals. That sensibility might not translate well to 70 plus minutes.

    Dreamworks can certainly make something of it. It could surpass all expectations. It just goes back to that question I have: Why bother?

    Making something new with a similar but more appropriate sensibility could be a great first step and would result in something more solid. So, I don’t get why Dreamworks wants to mine that property when they could own what they make.
    And by Own I mean OWN it.