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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