Sustainable Filmmaking: Dolittle

January 10, 2020

Dolittle, January 17, 2020

Robert Downey Jr. electrifies one of literature’s most enduring characters in a vivid reimagining of the classic tale of the man who could talk to animals: Dolittle.

After losing his wife seven years earlier, the eccentric Dr. John Dolittle (Downey), famed doctor and veterinarian of Queen Victoria’s England, hermits himself away behind the high walls of Dolittle Manor with only his menagerie of exotic animals for company. But when the young queen (Jessie Buckley, Wild Rose) falls gravely ill, a reluctant Dolittle is forced to set sail on an epic adventure to a mythical island in search of a cure, regaining his wit and courage as he crosses old adversaries and discovers wondrous creatures.

The doctor is joined on his quest by a young, self-appointed apprentice (Dunkirk’s Harry Collett) and a raucous coterie of animal friends, including an anxious gorilla (Oscar® winner Rami Malek), an enthusiastic but bird-brained duck (Oscar® winner Octavia Spencer), a bickering duo of a cynical ostrich (The Big Sick’s Kumail Nanjiani) and an upbeat polar bear (John Cena, Bumblebee) and a headstrong parrot (Oscar® winner Emma Thompson), who serves as Dolittle’s most trusted advisor and confidante.

While filming in London, the production of Dolittle made great efforts to reduce their environmental impact. A robust recycling and composting program was set up both in the office and on set. Three bin collection systems and on-site waste sorting, along with sending non-recyclable material to waste-to-energy, led to 100% of on set waste diverted from landfill. Reusable water bottles were purchased for the crew, and water dispensers were always available, which helped the production use about 80% less water bottles than an average production of their size. To help reduce emissions, the production used biodiesel made from used cooking oil to heat the tents and lit their sets with roughly 60% energy-efficient LED set lighting.

Additionally, the Dolittle team worked hard to reduce waste by reusing and donating where possible. Materials from many departments including Camera, Costumes, and Art were given to the next Universal Pictures film shooting in London, Hobbs & Shaw. Catering donated 581 pounds of excess food to City Harvest London, equaling 484 meals fed to those in need. Construction donated clean polystyrene foam to Playtime UK to use in the production of toys. Set Decoration donated furniture and home goods to Good Alice Hospice. The electrical department donated used gels to the Cavendish Primary School to create art projects. These practices and more led to Dolittle receiving a 2019 EMA Green Seal.

Back to Blog

Follow Us On: