The success of the new Sherlock Holmes movie has inspired Mark Gatiss to create a new Sherlock Holmes television series currently set to be aired in the United States and Australia later this year.
Mark Gatiss is an English actor, screenwriter and novelist, perhaps best known as a member of the comedy team The League of Gentlemen. His interest in Sherlock Holmes dates back to childhood when he spent hours pouring over Sherlock Holmes stories. In fact, Gatiss says he still carries a complete copy of Sherlock Holmes just about everywhere he goes.
Gatiss is joined on the project by Scottish television writer and producer Steven Moffat, with whom he collaborated on the British science fiction television program, Dr. Who.
The two have brought Holmes and his side kick Dr. Watson 100 years into the future from their original Victorian setting. Thus none of the original plots will be used. But, Holmes fans are assured by Moffat that, “”Everything that matters about Holmes and Watson is the same.” 221B Baker Street will still be the residence of Holmes and Holmes’s arch nemesis, Dr. Moriarty will join Holmes and Watson in the 21st century to continue their battles.
Gatiss and Moffat have focused on Arthur Conan Doyle’s basic premises of brilliant detective work, evil villains and horrendous crimes in writing their story line.
Holmes will be played by Benedict Cumberbatch, an English actor. He is perhaps best known for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in the BBC drama, Hawking, for which he was nominated as Best Actor at the 2005 British Academy Television Awards.
Cumberbatch will be joined by Martin Freeman as Watson. Freeman is an English actor most famous for his roles as Tim Canterbury in the BBC’s Golden Globe-winning comedy The Office and as Arthur Dent in the film adaptation of Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
Look for the two-hour pilot and three other episodes are let us know what you think of the new series.
The Sherlock Holmes original movie soundtrack is now available!
I love the musical scores from movies as they let me enjoy the music while I reminisce about my favorite parts of the movie. And, the recently released Sherlock Holmes movie score does not disappoint.
The soundtrack to the new Sherlock Holmes movie features the works of composer Hans Zimmer. As discussed in the post, Sherlock Holmes Movie Original Score, Hans Zimmer is an Academy Award, Golden Globe Award and Grammy Award winner, is the musical soundtrack composer for this score. You may know of him from his other work on the scores for Angels and Demons, Gladiator, The Lion King, The Da Vinci Code and Rain Man and many others.
Teaming up with director Guy Ritchie, Zimmer chose to create a very experimental score and by his own admission it is a little out there. The score matches the humorous, quirky style of the film and employs Irish and gypsy-influenced instrumentation, including banjos, fiddles, accordions, and North African percussion. The songs have so many different elements and they match Ritchie’s interpretation of Holmes perfectly while enhancing the film’s action.
This is a small score compared to many of Zimmer’s previous movie scores and all of the music is performed by Zimmer’s favorite soloists. Zimmer chose not to use a large orchestra as is traditional with most movie scores. Instead he felt that the emotion of the individual musicians would come through in ways that would not be seen with a large ensemble.
The title for each track is creatively a quote from the movie. The one thing that is disappointing is that their order on the album does not match the order in which they appeared in the movie. You can see a complete list of the songs included on Sherlock Holmes Movie Original Score.
As you can hear in this video, Discombobulate, the main theme from Sherlock Holmes is quirky and is performed by an odd arrangement of instruments, usually an assortment of plucked and bowed strings, but also including the cimbalom, banjo and accordion.
This gives you just one taste of the amazing music Zimmer produced for this movie.
Amid the controversy that the new Sherlock Holmes movie depicts a character not in keeping with Sir Arthur Canon Doyle’s original Sherlock Holmes, we look to Canon Doyle’s own words written in the Adventure of the Empty House. Here he has Holmes explain how he survived his great confrontation and battle with his nemesis, Professor Moriarty.
“When I reached the end I stood at bay. He drew no weapon, but he rushed at me and threw his long arms around me. He knew that his own game was up, and was only anxious to revenge himself upon me. We tottered together upon the brink of the fall. I have some knowledge, however, of baritsu, or the Japanese system of wrestling, which has more than once been very useful to me. I slipped through his grip, and he with a horrible scream kicked madly for a few seconds and clawed the air with both his hands. But for all his efforts he could not get his balance, and over he went. With my face over the brink I saw him fall for a long way. Then he struck a rock, bounced off, and splashed into the water.”
Although the spelling is slightly off, we know that Canon Doyle was referring to “bartitsu”, a form of self defense created by Edward William Barton-Wright.
Perhaps it is not so much that the new movie is not in keeping with Canon Doyle’s Holmes as it is that previous portrayals of the detective have down played his physical prowess and skill at the mixed martial art of bartitsu.
You can learn more about the history of Bartitsu: the Gentlemanly Art of Self Defense in this video created by the Bartitsu Society.
As the latest actor to play Sherlock Holmes on film, Robert Downey Jr kept the pipe, added bed head and lost the deerstalker hat.
Downey’s Holmes — whom audiences will meet when “Sherlock Holmes” opens in theaters Christmas Day, Dec. 25 — is a bare-knuckled brawler who keeps his rooms messy and likes to experiment on Watson’s (Jude Law) dog.
Since the silent film days, every actor to play the iconic detective has brought something new to the character. William Gillette, who played a silent-film version of the great detective, added the iconic pipe, deerstalker hat and the saying “Elementary, my dear Watson,” to the popular image of the character, said Wheeler Winston Dixon, Ryan professor of film studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
“Sherlock Holmes became a cinema icon almost as soon as the movies were up and projecting onto silver screen,” writes David Stuart Davies in his book “Starring Sherlock Holmes.”
The fraternity of actors who have brought Holmes to life on stage, television and movies includes well-known actors such as Basil Rathbone and Jeremy Brett, as well as a few surprising members like Charlton Heston, Larry Hagman and John Cleese.
As we prepare to meet a 21st century Holmes and Watson, here’s a sampling of actors who have taken us along on the chase, and some movies they appeared in:
This stage actor was among the first to become identified with the role. He appeared in the first production of the play “Sherlock Holmes” when it opened in New York in 1899 and appeared in the drama until his retirement in 1932. A silent film based on his play is recognized as one of the first Sherlock Holmes movies.
“There can be no doubt that Eille Norwood was the silent movies’ greatest Holmes,” writes Davies in “Starring Sherlock Holmes.”
“If only by the sheer volume of his output — starring in 47 titles in two years — he emerges as the champion,” Davies writes.
In the spotlight: “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” is a collection of 15 short films adapted from Doyle’s stories.
Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce
Rathbone and Bruce are the definitive Holmes and Watson for generations of movie-goers thanks to their series of Universal movies made during the 1930s and 1940s, Dixon said. It was a good pairing, with Rathbone’s classically trained, upper crust demeanor playing against Bruce’s not-too-bright Watson. “The two of them played off each other very well,” Dixon said.
Disney even tapped Rathbone to be Holmes’ voice in the animated movie “The Great Mouse Detective.”
In the spotlight: “The House of Fear” (Holmes investigates mutilated murder victims), and “Spider Woman” (Holmes fakes his own death to investigate a rash of suicides). Peter Cushing: The Hammer horror film veteran played Holmes in British movies and a 1968 television series.
Cushing and Christopher Lee, who were often paired in the Hammer movies, teamed up again when Cushing played Holmes and Lee portrayed Sir Henry Baskerville in 1959’s “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” about an unlucky family pursued by a hound from hell.
In the spotlight: Cushing’s “The Masks of Death,” when three corpses floating in the Thames set Holmes on the trail.
Jeremy Brett and Edward Hardwicke
The duo made a modern-day Holmes and Watson team in a number of British television movies in the 1980s and 1990s. “Jeremy Brett nails it more than anyone else,” making the master detective egomaniacal, openly drug addled, vain and always right, Dixon said.
Brett also played Holmes with David Burke as Watson in the 1980s British television series “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.”
In the spotlight: “The Last Vampyre” (a sinister newcomer to town can kill just by looking at his victims).
John Neville and Donald Houston
“A Study in Terror” (1965) is the first movie to pit Holmes (Neville) and Watson (Houston) against Jack the Ripper. Houston won plaudits for playing Watson as a competent partner the way he was depicted in the stories and not as the bumbling, amiable goof he’d been turned into on the screen.
Plummer played Holmes in “Murder by Decree” opposite James Mason and in a 1962 British movie with Thorley Walters as Watson.
In the spotlight: “Murder by Decree” has Holmes on the trail of Jack the Ripper.
Other notables in the role:
Before he was J.R. on “Dallas” (1978), Larry Hagman was Sherman Holmes in the comedy “The Return of the World’s Greatest Detective” in 1976. Hagman plays a detective who is so obsessed with Holmes that, after a clunk on the head, he believes he is Holmes.
Matt Frewer, aka Max Headroom, starred as the famous detective in three Hallmark television movies in the early 2000s.
Roger Moore starred in 1976’s “Sherlock Holmes in New York” with Patrick Macnee (“The Avengers”) as Watson. Moriarty (John Huston) plots Holmes’ downfall by threatening the world’s gold supply.
“Doctor Who’s” Tom Baker appeared in an adaptation of “The Hound of the Baskervilles” in 1982.
Jonathan Pryce, known from the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies, was Holmes in a 2007 two-part British television program focusing on the Baker Street Irregulars, a gang of street urchins Holmes used as junior investigators.
Shakespearean actor Peter O’Toole (“Lawrence of Arabia”) lent his voice to two animated Sherlock Holmes movies.
John Cleese (“A Fish Called Wanda”) played a drunken Holmes for laughs in the 1973 British television movie “Elementary, My Dear Watson.”
Moses — well, actually Charlton Heston as Holmes — ventures into an opium den to solve a murder in the 1991 television movie “The Crucifer of Blood.”
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This is just a partial list of the actors that have played Sherlock Holmes. Certainly some are more well known than others for their portrayal. Who is your favorite? Please take a moment and vote for your favorite Sherlock Holmes in the poll in the sidebar.
Last night I watched David Letterman interview Jude Law about his role as Dr. John Watson in the new Sherlock Holmes move set for Christmas release in the United States.
(Did I mention that I have tickets for the first showing Christmas Day morning? I am so very excited about the release of the new Sherlock Holmes movie!)
Okay, enough of that…on to the Letterman show.
It was…okay. Not too dynamic and a bit of a disappointment for Sherlock Holmes fans who tuned in especially to see the interview. Jude was willing to get excited about his role and the movie, but Letterman was not.
Letterman asked trite questions while Jude did his best to express his excitement about the movie and his role in it. I also watched the video of the red carpet premier in London and saw the same zeal for the movie and his part in it.
Jude expressed his vision about the movie that at its heart, it is a fast moving adventure wherein Holmes and Watson have to live together much as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid or the Odd Couple. It could be that it is a combination of both.
He sees Watson as a decorated soldier with the intestinal fortitude of a soldier who had to get his hands dirty.
Aside from his insight into the character of Watson, he said the movie included some fantastic historical areas and amazing set dressings.
Letterman asked if he had read Sherlock Holmes as a kid. Jude replied that while most English boys grow up reading Sir Arthur Canon Doyle’s stories, his first encounter with Sherlock Holmes was when he appeared as in The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place at the age of 16. The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place was an installment in the Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes television series which aired in 1991.
Perhaps David Letterman is not a Sherlock Holmes fan, or maybe he was distracted by thoughts of the holidays. Whatever contributed to his lack of enthusiasm for the new Sherlock Holmes movie, I am not going to let his attitude damper my excitement. What are your plans for seeing the movie?
I’ve just finished watching a video of the Sherlock Holmes World Premiere Red Carpet Arrivals at the Empire Theatre in London. Hundreds of fans braved the cold to stand behind barricades as the main players in the production of the film arrived.
On hand were Robert Downey Jr. who plays Sherlock Holmes accompanied by his wife Susan Downey also one of the producers of the film. Other actors included Jude Law who plays Dr, John Watson, Rachel McAdams who plays Irene Adler, Mark Strong who plays Lord Blackwood and Kelly Reilly who plays Watson’s love interest Mary Morstan.
Of course director Guy Ritchie attended as well as producer Joel Silver.
Robert Downey Jr. was very low keyed when asked about how he felt being Sherlock Holmes. He replied, “I don’t really work that way. I had a job to do as did everyone else. And I had really had fun making this movie”
Susan Downey was more enthused and said that viewers are in for a pleasant surprise. While all of the trailers and previews have focused on the action, she said there is at the heart of the movie a real mystery and a lot of intelligence goes into solving that mystery.
Jude Law seemed to have loved playing Watson. He was quite prolific in discussing the good doctor. He feels that Watson is through and through a military man and very stubborn. He added that, “At the end of the day he still wants a little adventure, but knows he needs to settle down.”
Joel Silver said that the movie stays true to the original stories but with a fresh approach. And while set in the Victorian Era, there is a contemporary feel to the movie.
While I’m waiting to hear the reviews, I have just bought my own tickets for the movie release here in the States on Christmas Day. We’re all set to watch the first showing of the new Sherlock Holmes movie, a lovely Christmas gift don’t you think?
Londoners have a particularly huge adoration of Sherlock Holmes as they claim him as one of their own, and the city is buzzing with excitement over the Boxing Day release of the new Sherlock Holmes movie.
Madame Tussauds London is joining in celebrating the new Sherlock Holmes movie with the unveiling of an exhibit featuring Robert Downey Jr. in his portrayal of the infamous detective.
The waxwork and exhibit are the result of collaboration between Madame Tussauds and Warner Brothers and will feature the model of Downey as he appears on the Sherlock Holmes movie posters released to promote the film.
He will be dressed in a black and grey suit with a brocade waistcoat and silken cravat. In keeping with the movie poster’s image, his hair will be tousled and his gaze serious and penetrating.
The life size Sherlock Holmes wax figure was created by a team of 20 artisans working over four months. It includes real hairs that have been inserted one-by-one and countless layers of paints and tints to create life like skin tones. Over 300 precise measurements were taken of Downey to ensure the genuineness of the figure. The figure was completed at a cost of 150,000 British pounds or 244,550 American dollars.
Visitors to Madame Tussauds London can see the Sherlock Holmes waxwork in a Victorian-inspired set that includes an interactive experience. If you go, please leave a comment and let the rest of us know what you think of the exhibit.
New Sherlock Holmes Movie posters have been released by Warner Brothers. They are done in similar artistic style to the first Sherlock Holmes movie posters released, but are longer and narrower. Some say that the the proportions are off, but I think that it is all in keeping with the mystique and uniqueness of the movie.
Movie posters have a certain romantic quality to them especially when done in an artistic style like the ones for the new Sherlock Holmes movie. I wonder what Robert Downey, Jude Law, Rachel McAdams and Mark Strong think of them?
Movie posters have been created for every Sherlock Holmes film produced – you can read more about them on the Movie Posters page.
The original score for the 2009 Sherlock Holmes movies is set for release on December 22, 2009.
Hans Zimmer, an Academy Award, Golden Globe Award and Grammy Award winner, is the musical soundtrack composer for this score. You may know of him from his other work on the scores for Angels and Demons, Gladiator, The Lion King, The Da Vinci Code and Rain Man to name a few of his successes.
Distributed by New Line Labels, the songs included are:
2. Is It Poison, Nanny?
3. I Never Woke Up In Handcuffs Before
4. My Mind Rebels At Stagnation
5. Data, Data, Data
6. He’s Killed The Dog Again
7. Marital Sabotage
8. Not In Blood, But In Bond
9. Ah, Putrefaction
10. Panic, Shear Bloody Panic
11. Psychological Recovery… 6 Months
Customers who get the CD will also be able to get a free 5.1 Surround Sound download of the entire album via placing the CD in their computers. You can pre-order your copy of the Sherlock Holmes Movie Score from Amazon now.
And here’s a treat! To get a sneak preview, head over to Incontention and listen to Discombobulate.