EXCLUSIVE: Robert Downey Jr. to star in 'Peabody and Sherman' for DreamWorks Animation

Mr-Peabody-and-ShermanImage Credit: Everett Collection; PRN/PR PhotosDreamWorks Animation has found a way back to ‘The WABAC Machine.’

That’s the computerized device used by the talking, genius dog Mr. Peabody and his pet boy, Sherman, on the old Rocky & Bullwinkle Show to travel through time and discover improbable things about history’s greatest figures. The project was just announced internally to the DreamWorks staff, with Robert Downey Jr. signed to voice the super-smart, bespectacled canine.

The cartoons were created in the late 1950s and ’60s, but remained popular for decades, though they may have fallen off the radar for those under 30. The new animated feature, planned for 2014, aims to bring the duo back to the pop culture mainstream. “Certainly for Boomers, they’re in the sweet spot of our childhood animation memories, but beyond there it gets a little bit, well, not quite as familiar,” says director Rob Minkoff (The Lion King).

A script has been penned by Jeffrey Ventimilia and Joshua Sternin, who wrote for the The Simpsons, That ’70s Show, and adapted the recent feature version of Yogi Bear. Minkoff won’t divulge which historical figures Peabody and Sherman will meet, but said the movie will focus not only on their time traveling, but also their origin story.

“Mr. Peabody is this genetic anomaly,” Minkoff says. “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.” Sherman, on the other hand, is not dimwitted, but admittedly wide-eyed and naive. That role hasn’t yet been cast.

Minkoff said the studio considered making the film as a mix of animation and live-action, but chose instead to make it fully computer animated — and in 3-D.

Downey hasn’t recorded any lines yet, but DreamWorks  artists have already designed a concept image of what the new Mr. Peabody will look like. See it in the next issue of Entertainment Weekly, out Jan. 21, and note the uncanny resemblance to the Iron Man star.

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  • wamboyil

    This just in:

    It’s official…Hollywood has completely run out of original ideas. If I see the word “reboot” mentioned in one more article about a “new” movie or tv show, I’m gonna poke my eyes out. “Sherman And Peabody”? Really? Pathetic.

    • cccloc

      I’m old enough to remember Mr. Peabody, and this movie should be “cute”….but it makes more sense to bring it back as a TV show vs. a movie.

    • pdy

      Considering the script is being written by the guys responsible for last year’s excruciating “Yogi Bear”, I don’t have high hopes for this latest incarnation of “Sherman and Peabody”.

  • bonnerace

    Well, if they are going “reboot” every old cartoon in modern history, at least they are being intelligent enough to get a good director and original source material. Peabody…cool!!

  • darclyte

    I like it. This is an “old dog” that SHOULD be brought back as opposed to many of the rehashes that we’ve already seen, or are in the works. But, the writers did Yogi Bear? Oy.

  • Chris in Virginia

    “The cartoons were created in the late 1950s and ’60s, but remained popular for decades, though they may have fallen off the radar for Generation X and younger.”

    I hate to tell this writer, but Gen X’ers were born in the 60s and 70s, the prime time that “Sherman and Peabody” cartoons were in reruns and “popular” to use his term. Subsequent “generations” may not be as familiar with the cartoon, but most Gen X’ers certainly are.

    • Stuart Dooley

      I agree, I remember them clearly from my childhood and I was born in the late 60s

    • Anthony Breznican

      Chris, you make a good point. I probably estimated a little high with that. Point taken, and corrected. It’s more likely those 30 and below would have a blind spot for these guys.

    • bagabou

      Doesn’t generation X start in 1965??

  • Juli

    Hmmm Downey Jr wouldn’t be so bad for Mr Peabody! He has that deep voice for the character!

    • Katie

      That is so false! Robert Downey Junior would make the part AMAZING!

  • Molly

    Ah, another Downey film for me. Yay!

    • Katie

      I AGREE! :)

  • redvector

    I wish they’d do something with the action oriented Hanna Barbara cartoons of the late sixties/early seventies. Like Space Ghost, The Herculoids, Thundarr The Bararian, and others.

  • David

    Pixar films are cinematic gold and modern day classics!! Dreamworks flicks, Ice Age sequels, The Incredibles knock-offs and Happy Feet as owls are pure pop trash!!!

  • Kyle

    Im lookin forward to this. Im a 90s kid, and I grew up watchin this so it doesnt matter when it was made. Downey might do good for this, he does the Mr. Planters voice real nice.

    • bagabou

      RDJ does that voice in the commercials??? Did not know that.

  • Anna

    Wow, I can actually see him playing Mr Peabody. He was my favorite. So, the dog has a resemblance to RDJ. Cool. I am going to love this. Besides the humor of a smart dog resembling RDJ. This is going to be great. Dreamworks does a pretty good job. There last movies have been really good.

  • MurethucheCem

    Hello Everyone,

    Just joined this forum & wanted to say hi to everyone. Looking forward to have quite a few friends.

  • TeeJay

    OMFG, does Hollywood ever have any original ideas anymore? They’ve pretty much raped my childhood memories by trying update classic cartoons and movies that have no need to be updated.

  • Brett

    Let’s make 2011 the year we retire the phrase, “raped my childhood” or “raped my childhood memories,” shall we?

    • Jan

      Agreed. Let’s also retire “’nuff said” and “This.”

  • grumpster

    We know this is a cash grab. We know this will S U C K royally. Why do they have to get writers to put down the stupidest things in a rehash. The cartoons were clever…yet we know we’ll get a bunch of 1st grade sight gag and one liners, making this thing intolerable. If they do the same thing they did with Yogi and Rocky & Bullwinkle,…then forget it. I didn’t mention Flintstones since they were lame even when originally aired.

  • Al

    Anybody remember The movie,Rocky and Bullwinkle? Probably last night,during his tribute at the golden globes,I wonder if DiNiro cringed when they showed a quick clip of him from that film.

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