People are confused by Robert Downey Jr.'s accent in the first 'Dolittle' trailer

Iron Man is showing off his softer side in a new family-friendly fantasy film.

On Sunday the trailer for Dolittle — based on Hugh Lofting’s Doctor Dolittle children’s character, previously portrayed on screen by the late Rex Harrison and Eddie Murphy — was released. Due in UK cinemas February 2020, the epic adventure sees Robert Downey Jr. as the titular doctor, famed for his ability to communicate with animals.

And what animals they are. Rocking a Welsh accent (we think) Downey’s Victorian-era animal whisperer speaks and bonds with a bevy of CGI beasts, from Rami Malek’s fearful gorilla Chee-Chee, to Emma Thompson’s bossy parrot Polynesia.

However, it’s RDJ’s accent that has generated the most conversation, at least on this side of the Atlantic.

Welsh fans of the star are claiming his accent as their own, and we have to admit, it does have a hint of Richard Burton about it.

John Cena, Ralph Fiennes, Octavia Spencer, Tom Holland, Selena Gomez, Marion Cotillard, Carmen Ejogo, Kumail Nanjiani and Craig Robinson also voice creatures in the Stephen Gaghan-directed film.

Dolittle poster (Universal)

On the human side, there’s Antonio Banderas flashing fierce glances with his lined eyes, with newcomer Harry Collett cast as Dolittle’s young apprentice, Tommy Stubbins.

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While the film itself has reportedly battled delays and fine-tuning, the trailer’s sweeping landscapes, period costumes, majestic whales and galloping ostriches and a sentimental soundtrack of What a Wonderful World have huge appeal. To quote the good vet Dolittle: “We have no choice but to embark on this perilous journey.”

Synopsis: Robert Downey Jr. electrifies one of literature’s most enduring characters in a vivid reimagining of the classic tale of the man who could talk to animals: Dolittle.

Robert Downey Jr. in Dolittle (Universal)

After losing his wife seven years earlier, the eccentric Dr. John Dolittle (Downey), 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 (The Queen) 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.

Directed by Academy Award® winner Stephen Gaghan (Syriana, Traffic), Dolittle is produced by Joe Roth and Jeff Kirschenbaum under their Roth/Kirschenbaum Films (Alice in Wonderland, Maleficent) and Susan Downey (Sherlock Holmes franchise, The Judge) for Team Downey. The film is executive produced by Robert Downey Jr., Sarah Bradshaw (The Mummy, Maleficent) and Zachary Roth (Maleficent: Mistress of Evil).

Dolittle is coming to cinemas February 2020.