It’s one thing to breathe new life into a literary icon. Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law and director Guy Ritchie did that two years ago with “Sherlock Holmes,” a quasi-Steampunk take on Arthur Conan Doyle’s legendary detective. The real challenge comes when you have to do it again.
The trio are set to give it another go on December 16, when the sequel, “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows,” hits theaters. MTV News’ Josh Horowitz traveled all the way to the London set of the film to talk to Downey, Law and Ritchie about recreating the magic of the first film and just why Holmes and Watson make for such compelling characters. We also discovered there was consensus among the three men about the approach for this film: bigger.
“I’m too close to be objective about this now, but originally when we were constructing this conceptually, we just wanted to make it bigger,” Ritchie said. “We wanted to make it bigger and better, and I’m not sure if you can be more eloquent than that.”
Ritchie told us that with the first movie out of the way, he “knows the identity” of the films better than ever and can take everything to the next level. “I supposed I stuck my toe in the water creatively on the last one. I’m probably a little bit more confident about who these guys are,” he said.
In “Game of Shadows,” the action jumps into the future a bit, taking place more than a few months after the first film. Watson has moved out of 221 Baker Street, and Holmes is in tough shape and deeply obsessed with one of literature’s greatest villains, Professor James Moriarty, played in the new film by Jared Harris.
No reimagining of Holmes would be complete without a take on his arch-nemesis, and Ritchie said that Harris is up to the task. “I’m not saying this because it’s what directors are supposed to say, but I do believe Jared is a fantastic Moriarty, and you are dealing with arguably the most infamous villain in the history of literature, so it’s no mean feat.”
For the two heroes of the story, Downey and Law said they could endlessly revisit Holmes and Watson. Asked why, Downey got straight to the point. “The money and the merch!” he laughed
Taking a more serious note, Law explained that it’s the chemistry between the two characters that will always be fascinating. “They’re just interesting. They’re very, very interesting. The dynamic is always fresh,” Law said.
The pair is so dynamic, in fact, that it’s often hard to tell what kind of reaction a scene between them will elicit. “We’ve done stuff which we’re cracking up over and we think is so funny, and we watch it back over and in fact, it’s very touching,” Law said. “We think, ‘Where did that come from?’ And vice versa, we’ll do stuff we’re desperately trying to make this heartfelt moment, and it’s nothing short of broad and really funny.”
“It’s a discovery process,” Downey agreed.
Check out everything we’ve got on “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.”
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