Big Shoes: ‘Modern Family’ Star Ty Burrell Replaces Robert Downey Jr. For ‘Mr. Peabody and Sherman’

At one point, Robert Downey, Jr. was set to voice the genius time-traveling dog from Rocky and Bullwinkle fame, but now according to The Hollywood Reporter Modern Family‘s Ty Burrell will be filling in for his vocal chords. Burrell started in movies with Evolution (raise your hand if you remember it and/or still have a poster for it in the bedroom closet at your parent’s house) and went on to bit roles in stuff like Dawn of the Dead (2004), National Treasure: Book of Secrets and The Incredible Hulk. Of course, he’s reached a far bigger audience on the ABC show that’s won 39 awards and been nominated for nearly one hundred more.

Now, he’ll be playing a dog. It’s the dream, people.

Lion King director Rob Minkoff will be directing Mr. Peabody and Sherman, the story of a brilliant, talking dog and his young human being sidekick who hop into their WABAC machine in order to explore history. In the movie version, they’ll be hot on the trail of someone who’s stolen a time machine and is changing historical events with wacky results. It seems like a perfect fit for DreamWorks Animation, and it’ll be interesting to see how they pull off the absurdity of history constantly changing with our heroes locked in it.

Plus, this will be the first voice work for Burrell and for child actor Max Charles (who played Young Pierce on an episode of Community, will play young Peter Parker in The Amazing Spider-Man, and is set to voice Sherman here). It’s sad to think that voice actors have all but been replaced by name actors, but it’s actually refreshing to see Downey, Jr. not involved here. Yes, he’s awesome, but like most big name stars, his voice is too distracting.

Isn’t that weird? You can watch someone’s entire body, face and voice in live-action and think “He’s Sherlock Holmes!” but if you hear his voice coming out of a cartoon, all you can think is, “That’s Robert Downey, Jr. voicing that guy who keeps strangling fat guys!” Funny how our minds work, eh?


A veteran of writing about movies for nearly a decade, Scott Beggs has been the Managing Editor of Film School Rejects since 2009. Despite speculation, he is not actually Walter Mathau's grandson. See? He can't even spell his name right.

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