Downey Jr. Says Yes to "Peabody," No to "Oz"

1/22/2011 Posted by Admin

Downey Jr. Says Yes to "Peabody," No to "Oz"

Movie News

By our guest blogger, Nick Hanover

Earlier this week, EW broke the news that Robert Downey Jr. would be voicing a glasses-wearing, smart ass dog in "Peabody and Sherman," and now the Hollywood Reporter's Heat Vision has confirmed that the star has left the troubled Disney production of "Oz, the Great and Powerful." While these stories aren't necessarily related, it's possible that Downey Jr. is trying to minimize his involvement in big family films, since "Peabody and Sherman" is a DreamWorks Animation take on characters from the old kids' show "Rocky and Bullwinkle" (itself the subject of an extremely awful big screen adaptation) and "Oz" is a Disney prequel to the beloved "Wizard of Oz."

The "Oz" prequel has had an extremely long gestation and has had more than its fair share of troubles, with director Sam Raimi in talks since at least June of last year. To make matters worse for "Oz," it's just one of several "Wizard of Oz"-affiliated properties in development at the moment, with a major TV adaptation of the "Wicked" books planned for ABC as a miniseries and a big-screen interpretation of the musical also long rumored, to say nothing of the Drew Barrymore-directed sequel of the original film that's been in production hell, or Warner Brothers' intent to remake the "Wizard of Oz."

Robert Downey Jr. fought a long, hard battle to get back to the Hollywood A-List and since his return, he's stuck to films that are sure shots, either in terms of potential commercial success or Awards prestige. With that in mind, it of course makes sense that he'd depart Raimi's "Oz" and look elsewhere, though it doesn't seem too likely that Disney has much to worry about since they appear to already be in talks with Johnny Depp to replace Downey.

Of course, it is worth noting that "Peabody and Sherman" is far from a sure shot. On one hand, it features Lion King director Rob Minkoff. On the other, it's penned by the team responsible for "Yogi Bear," which would have been much improved had it featured this ending.

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