The Screening Room Blog
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Sherlock, stock and two smoking barrels?

Film buffs were baffled earlier this year when Warner Brothers announced that Guy Ritchie, the British master of the gritty gangster flick, is to direct the studio's screen adaptation of Sherlock Holmes.

Would Ritchie turn the legendary inspector into a foul-mouthed East London thug? Or cast his wife Madonna to play Holmes' female foil Irene Adler? Bloggers and cinephiles around the world have been struggling to picture what the movie might look like ever since.

At a press conference in London yesterday, Ritchie finally shed some light on his vision for the film: "It won't be hallmarked with what people know me to do," the 40 year-old director confirmed, "it won't be a traditional 'Guy Ritchie thing.'"

For one, the Warner Brothers budget far exceeds any amount Ritchie has had to his disposal before. A factor underlined by the star-studded cast: Robert Downey Jr. will play the sleuth, with Jude Law as his faithful companion Watson.

But Holmes enthusiasts fear that Warner Brothers' aims of reaching Blockbuster status may do the production more harm than good. While Ritchie and screenwriter Lionel Wigram were keen to emphasize that they will remain as true to the original novels as possible, they also explained that the character would be "modernized" and made more "adventurous."

One of the ways they plan to do this is by placing greater emphasis on the detective's sword-fighting and boxing abilities. "In the novels, fights are referred to off-stage; we will bring them on-stage," explains Wigram.

Could Ritchie and co be turning Sherlock Holmes into yet another action -- or even super -- hero? It seems entirely possible, given that the Iron Man himself, Downey Jr. will be taking on the role.

Whether this proves to be a recipe for success, or excess, remains to be seen. With shooting in London and Liverpool set to begin shortly, audiences will have to wait until early 2010 for the new, revamped Holmes to hit cinemas.

What do you anticipate Sherlock Holmes will be like: mockney shambles or brilliant Brit-flick? Tell us below.

-- From Marco Woldt for CNN

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They will never touch Jeremy Brett as Holmes. I think it will be a joke with Downey in the part.
I've always found the Sherlock Holmes stories to be almost campy. I'm sure that the contribution they made to the literary world is great, and has shaped a genre, but honestly when I think of the idea of a movie being made, I would be disappointed if it wasn't a little grittier then the naïve chessiness of the original stories. I'm sure some people will be mad at me for saying that, but detective stories since 1930 have typically been hard-boiled film noir, and I would love to see a reimagining of Sherlock that brings it closer to that.
Robert Downey Jr = BRILLIANT
Robert Downey Jr as a rockin' sockin' Sherlock Holmes?

Holmes solved cases with his brain, not his fists.

Count me out on this one.
i'm looking forward to it. ritchie's films have been, overall, pretty stellar. even though this will be departure for him, the cast alone is worth checking out the film to see how it is.
The article states; "Robert Downey Jr. will play the inspector". Sherlock Holmes was NEVER an Inspector, buut always an independant investigator, which is what I think the writer meant to say.
As for the movie? We'll see.
I'm a diehard Holmes cinematic fan with a firm belief that Jeremy Brett IS Holmes in the traditional sense.

However, I like this idea of "remaking" the screen version of Holmes with action and flair. If Ritchie is as successful in crafting a new Holmes, and if Downey/Law live up to expectations, then we (the public)will experience the same elation as when Daniel Craig successfully revamped an icon like James Bond.
I'm a HUGE Sherlock Holmes fan and have the entire series starring Jeremy Brett on DVD. Sorry, but I don't think Robert Downey Jr could ever compare to Jeremy Brett and that he will not due the film any justice!
I am a huge fan of Sherlok Holmes, which means that I am somewhat afraid that this movie will not be able to fully live up to the great detective (NOT "inspector", by the way, that would be Lestrade or Gregson). I do hope I am wrong though, which is always a possibility.

Basically, though I consider both Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law to be superb actors, I am not quite sure that they are the right casting for the roles of Holmes and Watson. For starters, there is the problem of physique, where Holmes is a tall, slim and with hawk-like features, while Watson is a medium-height, squared-jaw, more sturdy-looking fellow. Makeup and perhaps even CGI can change Downey Jr.'s and Law's appearance to approximate them to the appearance of their characters, there is only so much one can do in that regard. Then, there is the matter of acting style. Downey Jr. is great for expresing all sorts of emotions and dispositions in his roles, but Holmes is known for his detatchment and impenetrable demure. Law, on the other hand, would be fantastic in the role of an 18th Century British dandy, but I'm not sure how he can handle the 100% non-metrossexual Watson.

The action and adventure are not a problem at all, for there is plenty of fights and physical struggles to be drawn from the original stories. Indeed, Holmes is described as an accomplished boxer and also skilled in Bo-jitsu (and, most likely, it's unarmed counetrpart of Aikido). He is also, despite his wiry frame, described as an all-around athlete, with good stamina, speed and agility for all sorts of feats of chasing, climbing, etc.

In conclusion, I'd say that a good, very watchable, movie will probably come out of this, but one that will probably lack the feeling of a true holmesian tale. I do hope I am wrong, however.
Downey can play an afro american. Can he play a Japanese guy? Especially this one in www.heppysalmon.com
Is this the future of films?
Am leary of this, especially with the casting. Jude Law as Dr. Watson? He's too much of a lothario for that. Maybe I don't know the actor or his works well, but he doesn't seem to fit the character. They need someone more common for Watson. And why Robert Downey Jr. for Sherlock? He may have ROCKED in "Iron Man", but I don't see him as Holmes. Colin Firth would have been a better fit.

I much prefer the PBS version of Sherlock Holmes, which are almost word for word true to the novels.

Why bring in Irene Adler? She was only ever in one story, "A Scandal In Bohemia", and she and Holmes never were involved.

Tread carefully, Guy Ritchie. Tread carefully.
The inspector in the books and movies was Inspector Lestrade; and not Holmes. I like Mr. Downey Jr as an actor but it would be much better to have a British actor in the role. The studio should not be more concerned with getting the characters right and staying true to the books than creating a blockbuster mentality to the film.
Any true Sherlock Holmes fan would remember the best screen version of Holmes portrayed by Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce as Dr. Watson. Hopefully this rendition will be close to the quality of those black and white versions.
I think that this could be extremely interesting. Along with being a great investigator, Sherlock Holmes was also known for is sharp tongue and high opinion of himself. I think that Downey, Jr. will be able to facilitate Holmes's superiority complex well.
Are people unaware that before Iron Man, Robert
Downey Jr. had appeared in almost zero action roles? Why on earth would anyone assume RDJ is now an action hero?
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If you were going to go with a big name star for such an iconic character who is tall, thin, clean shaven, intelligent, moody, etc. - why did they not pick Hugh Jackman? I agree with those who brought up Jeremy Brett - he is a hard act to follow. I feel Jackman would have been the more likely actor to succeed in the role. Not Downey.
I agree that there should be a British actor in the role. Jeremy Irons and Ralph Fiennes come to mind.
I'll think Ritchie will not only screw it upi, but will tarnish the Sherlock Holmes franchise. Does the creators estate have anything to say about this?
I am very disappointed that this major project would be tainted with Downey to play the pivotal role. The man is not Sherlock Holmes, neither by physical attributes, nor by demeanor. He may be an actor but there are certain roles that require a combination of acting skills and presence and this is one of the main ones of all times. Jeremy Brett was not selected at random just because of his acting ability - he was physically the part. Jude Law is more of a physical match than Downey.

I am quite certain I will never see this movie because the wrong people have been chosen to make it and to star in it. Warner Brothers could have had a money maker on their hands for all of us dedicated fans but they are pandering. Such a shame.
A new movie sounds great, as long as it adheres to the character and context. Guy Ritchie shouldn't bait viewers with Sherlock Holmes and then switch to Rambo. Respect Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, or get your own idea. Case in point: I took my kids to the Nancy Drew movie a while back. The film switched eras, putting Nancy Drew in a time warp. I grew up with Nancy Drew. If they didn't use that name, I'd have liked the movie better. The question is... would I have bothered to go in the first place?
Jeremy Brett is Holmes. It will be hard to see another actor try to take over that role. I love Robert Downey Jr. He's a good choice I much rather see him than someone else. RIP Jeremy Brett! He was the master!
I don't think Guy Richie would be the perfect guy to direct such kinda movie..neither would Downey fit in the role....if you look at richie's casting for his movie 'Revolver'...it didnt suit the characters at all....its going to be a disaster.
Jeremy Brett Lives! I beg you to see the PBS series if you want the true Holems.

Nigel Bruce and Basil Rathbourne were good but they played in the updated WWII version of Holmes; Holmes VS. The Nazis. Pales in comparison the "The Red Headed League" or "A Scandal in Boehemia" or "The Resident Patient" or...Need I go on?

Look for this Guy Ritchie thing to be rock-em, sock- em Holmes, complete with Cockney accents abounding, thriller carriage chases, probably a few double barreled flintlocks to boot.

Not my cup of tea old boy, thank you.
... when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth...

the game is a foot..count me in...this should rock
I love Jr. but i am not sure how he fits this role, i agree that Colin Firth would make for a better Holmes or even Jeff Goldblum, and i think the perfect Watson would be Mark Addy not Jude Law.
I think it'll be exciting and interesting to see what the new spin on it will do for the huge Sherlock Holmes fans out there. My wife is a huge Sherlock Holmes fans and she's already awaiting the movie with much anticipation! It'll probably be more than just "interesting" . . . it may be truly awesome!!! People just have to have a positive feeling about it that's all! I think Downey would do a great job on it especially if Ritchie adds the swordfighting and the boxing scenes! It'll be different but exciting all in one! I'm looking foward to it just as is my wife! Can't wait to see it!
Basil Rathbone IS Sherlock Holmes. But, I am excited to see a new take. Give it a chance. The worse is that it's not good, the best is that you enjoyed it in it's own right and won't compare to harshly.
I'm excited about this. I can't wait for Robert Downey Jr. to talk with a Scottish accent!
i think we all have to wait and see and not put the cart before the horse. great actors can play almost anything....huge phillip seymour hoffman playing tiny truman capote...who would have thought?jude is a great but underrated actor, downey is a big talent. i would like to see a new spin on holmes....hamlet's been done thousands of times and in many different ways. i for one am looking forward to this cast and this film.
Rubbish. Movies stars and over-hype ruin another classic universe. Give me a new set of unknown, British actors over these hollywood hams. Holme's fans deserve better.
Don't underestimate Ritchie, or the cast choices. It's not like he's casting Nicholas Cage. There were a lot of groans over Heath Ledger being cast as The Joker... and look how that turned out.
They seem to lack ideas in Hollywood. Brett made the definite version. Period. There is NO reason to make a new. Burt Reynolds did get it right; "James Bond can never be played by an American" [when he was offered the role]. Mr. Downey should listen to Mr. Reynolds. He will fail big time. He will be compared to Brett and the outcome is clear as crystal. Too bad Mr. Downey looks more to the money than the role. He should have turned it down.
Jeremy Brett was wonderful. I would like to see David Tennant of Doctor Who fame in this movie, he would make an excellent Holmes
Robert Downey Jr. is a versatile actor. His performance in Chaplin alone makes him a brilliant choice to play Sherlock.

We need someone with a unique style to bring Sherlock to the big screen after a long time. Guy Ritchie is a smart choice. I love his style.
Like most of the commentators that went before me I fail to see that the normal-built American actor Downey Jr. can play that wiry British character of Sherlock Holmes. You can trust Mr. Ritchie to ruin a potentially good movie. I'm not going to watch this one.
Though I like Robert Downey, Jr., I feel he is the wrong choice for Holmes. Not only that, but the entire tone of this project is wrong. To make Holmes a two-fisted action hero is just not true to the character. The closest thing we have to Holmes now is Hugh Laurie's House - a misanthropic drug addict who will only bother himself with cases that stimulate him intellectually.

Making this an "action" movie (particularly one directed by a hack like Ritchie) has disaster written all over it.
I've read every story that Sir Arthur every wrote with this enigmatic character, I've seen every Basil Rathbone portrayal and every Jeremy Brett performance of Sherlock and each and every one holds its own distinction for the time that it was created. This new production will also hold its own distinction but whether its a portrayal for the ages will not be seen until about 2015. As for the casting of the actors and the director anything is possible, but I think Robert does not hold the "older statesman" type of weight that that is necessary to pull it off and Jude Law as Watson is incomprehensible to me. I also don't think he's old enough to pull off. But, I am entirely likely to spend the money to see it anyway. I wish them good luck and hope they don't vandalize the characters too much.
I've read every story that Sir Arthur every wrote with this enigmatic character, I've seen every Basil Rathbone portrayal and every Jeremy Brett performance of Sherlock and each and every one holds its own distinction for the time that it was created. This new production will also hold its own distinction but whether its a portrayal for the ages will not be seen until about 2015. As for the casting of the actors and the director anything is possible, but I think Robert does not hold the "older statesman" type of weight that that is necessary to pull it off and Jude Law as Watson is incomprehensible to me. I also don't think he's old enough to pull off. But, I am entirely likely to spend the money to see it anyway. I wish them good luck and hope they don't vandalize the characters too much.
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