‘Sherlock Holmes’ Cheat Sheet: Everything You Need To Know

We solve a few mysteries for you before you join Holmes and Watson in the theater.

Before Robert Downey Jr.’s Sherlock Holmes gets into a brawl — and man oh man, does he get into a lot of ‘em — the ace detective takes a moment to think through all possible eventualities and brainstorm the most viciously efficient plan of attack. This Christmas, moviegoers might leave the theater singing, “Four ribs a-breaking, three toes a-snapping, two balls a-stomping …”

Welcome to Guy Ritchie’s “Sherlock Holmes,” where the brilliant sleuth cracks as many skulls as he does cases. Alongside his buddy Dr. Watson (Jude Law), Holmes must get to the bottom of a conundrum — how did evil Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong) seemingly rise from the grave? — in time to save the British Empire from the bad guy’s devilish plan to utterly destroy it. MTV News has been conducting its own investigation into this project since the beginning and now presents to you our “Sherlock Holmes” cheat sheet.

The Stars
Downey joined the production in July of 2008. A few months later, Rachel McAdams signed on to play Holmes’ love interest, Irene Adler. Finally, in October, Ritchie himself confirmed that Law would become Watson.

A couple weeks later, we got our first look at the cast on-set: Downey and McAdams in their 19th-century costumes and a stunt double performing a nifty action sequence.

Visiting Baker Street
In January 2009, MTV News was invited to the “Sherlock” set for an exclusive visit. Ritchie talked about bringing out the martial artist in Holmes, Downey walked us through his character’s badass mind-set and Law reveled in the “complicated” relationship between the two main characters. We got our first look at what they’d been planning when the first trailer dropped in May, bringing with it bare-knuckle boxing, gunfights and McAdams in some frilly lingerie.

The Brad Pitt Question
This summer, rumors started to pop up that Brad Pitt would be making a cameo appearance as Sherlock adversary Professor Moriarty. Ritchie told us that Moriarty does in fact appear in the film, but that he is not played by Pitt — a statement we can now confirm after catching an early screening. But there’s a distinct possibility the actor might turn up in a sequel. Just watch the way Ritchie squirmed when we asked him recently about casting Pitt.

The Clues Keep Coming
We got a first look at an oily Lord Blackwood in August, followed by a picture of Holmes and Watson at work. By October, a new poster had arrived. A month later, another trailer popped up on the Web, this one even more action-packed than the previous one. Finally a few weeks ago, we brought you an exclusive clip featuring a Sherlock-vs.-giant-Frenchman throwdown.

We also sat down to talk with Ritchie and his cast, who pondered the possibility that “Holmes” will become an enduring action franchise and addressed the bromance between Holmes and Watson without exactly confirming if the two buddies ever became more than friends.

“That’s labeling us,” Downey said. “Who’s the top, who’s the bottom. We don’t play it like that .”

Check out everything we’ve got on “Sherlock Holmes.”

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