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Robert Downey, Jr., to voice Mr. Peabody and Sherman in 3D-animated film

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Robert Downey, Jr., to voice Mr. Peabody and Sherman in 3D-animated film

Robert Downey, Jr.’s career upswing is still going strong; he has been cast in an upcoming Dreamworks computer-animated movie about Rocky and Bullwinkle characters Mr. Peabody and his ward, Sherman, according to Entertainment Weekly and CinemaBlend.

I’m sure some of you are already thinking–“This is a continuation of his upswing? Haven’t we had enough of cartoons turned into feature films!?” and/or “Who are Mr. Peabody and Sherman?” Well, for those who don’t know who these two characters are, Mr. Peabody is a super-intelligent dog who owns a time machine (the WABAC Machine) and teaches Sherman about moments in history. Also, yes, this can be considered awesome news, especially if you know the cartoon, because Mr. Peabody’s dry wit and “I’m so smart I’m slightly smug” attitude is perfect for Downey. Just listen to how Downey sounds in his Planters’ Mr. Peanut commercials–as far as I’m concerned, those commercials are basically his audition for Mr. Peabody!

The news that Downey will be Peabody and Sherman should really allay some serious fears about the film, particularly caused by the indirect link to the recent film Yogi Bear–the film is being written by Yogi Bear scribes Jeffrey Ventimilia and Joshua Sternin. Another thing that helps the movie out is that the whole thing will be computer-animated (and in 3D) and not done in live-action/CGI like Yogi Bear. And, even though there’s a bit of a dig aimed at Ventimilia and Sternin above, they did write episodes of That ’70s Show (as well as co-executive produce the show) and also wrote episodes for The Simpsons, Murphy Brown, The Critic and Duckman, so a good script is still a big possibility. And Dreamworks is a bit daring as a studio, so the screenwriters might have more freedom to do some things while still staying in the tone of the show.

The one thing to be a bit worried about is the origin story that will be touched on in the movie. Origin stories are always scary things, especially retroactive ones for characters who didn’t have origins to begin with, because they sometimes have the ability to take the charm out of the characters. Example: Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader.

Peabody and Sherman is expected to be in theaters in 2014. Also, expect to see a preview of Mr. Peabody in the Jan. 21 issue of Entertainment Weekly; his design is supposed to closely resemble RDJ. How scary will that be?!

Mr. Peabody and Sherman

Mr. Peabody and Sherman

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Monique Jones blogs about race and culture in entertainment, particularly movies and television. You can read her articles at Racialicious, and her new site, COLOR . You can also listen to her new podcast, What would Monique Say.

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