Selena Gomez on New Album ‘Rare’ Reviews, Voicing Giraffe in Robert Downey Jr.’s ‘Dolittle’

Ashley Hume

Though Robert Downey Jr. stars as the eponymous Dr. Dolittle in the fantasy-adventure remake “Dolittle”, which he also executive produced, the actor was quick to heap praise on his wife and producer Susan Downey, for her contributions to the project.

“She is the greatest creative producer in the history of cinema,” Downey Jr. told Variety at the film’s premiere Saturday morning at the Westwood Village Theater in Los Angeles. “And I make faces for cash and chicken. Even though no, I’m off chicken now.”

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“Not chicken anymore,” Susan Downey admonished.

“I’m going plant-based! For cash and legumes,” Downey Jr. added facetiously.

Helmed by Stephen Gaghan, the upcoming remake of the 1967 film “Doctor Dolittle” follows the story of the beloved literary character, an eccentric physician and veterinarian gifted with the ability to speak to animals. The 2020 version initially finds Dolittle as an unshaven recluse who is drawn out of seclusion when he forced on a mission to save the dying Queen Victoria. Dolittle is accompanied by self-appointed apprentice Tommy Stubbins (Harry Collett) and his coterie of exotic animals, voiced by a star-studded cast including Selena Gomez, Rami Malek John Cena, Michael Sheen, Emma Thompson, Octavia Spencer and Kumail Nanjiani.

Walking the green carpet which featured with oversized topiaries of the animals the actors portrayed, Gomez explained how she came to voice Betsy the giraffe. “If they would have called me any time in the world, I would have said yes, Gomez told Variety. “But luckily the director’s daughter (Betsy Gaghan) was a huge fan of mine and I’m actually named after her, the character. So, it’s really sweet.”

Gomez was also celebrating the release of “Rare”, her first studio album in more than four years, which dropped the day before the premiere.

“It’s been cool,” Gomez said of the reaction thus far. “I didn’t know what was going to happen and I think that I had waited so long that I wasn’t sure if I had waited too long. Not that I thought I would be forgotten, more so I didn’t even know how I was going to tell my story. And it all worked out really well even to the end of last year, putting final songs on this album. So, it was really important, and you could see the story go through the album and track listing really well.”

Gomez’s albums typically spark speculation surrounding the inspirations and meanings behind particular tracks, but the singer told Variety she believes her songs are relatable and can be interpreted in many different ways. “Of course, I know the meaning but someone else can take that meaning as well,” Gomez observed. “Everyone has felt the emotions that I have felt. I know I’m not a freak. It’s something that we all go through. We all go through hardships, breakups, complications with yourself, getting your mind out of just a bad place. So, I think it’s pretty obvious if you ask me, but I want people to make that their own.”

Speaking of her future aspirations, the actress and producer teased that fans might soon see her career take a new direction. “The thing I’m most excited about is to be able to do things that I’ve always dreamed of. I have a few things coming out this summer that I’m excited about that will be me stepping into another lane. Nothing I can say right now but I’m really excited, it’s going to be a great year for me.”

As for what Selena would ask her pet if she could speak to animals?

“Tell me about my life decisions, Winnie,” Gomez said with a laugh. “She seems more chill than me.”

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