CBSRobert Downey Jr. is trading in his "Iron Man" suit to talk to animals.

The star is set to headline "The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle," a project won in auction by Universal. Stephen Gaghan ("Syriana," "Gold") will direct and write the script, which is based on the 1920s children's books by Hugh Lofting. The eccentric Dr. Dolittle treats animals and claims to be able to communicate with them.

"Doctor Dolittle" is being eyed as a possible family film franchise. The property has spawned several films before it. The 1967 musical was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, and Eddie Murphy starred as the titular character in several movies in the late '90s and early 2000s.

Downey will have to fit the movie into a packed schedule, which includes the already-filmed "Spider-Man: Homecoming" and the upcoming "Avengers: Infinity War" (and its planned sequel).

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