Published: July 24, 2009
The cast and crew of the adventure remake “Sherlock Holmes,” present at a press conference at Comic-Con today (July 24), are taking great pride in their film’s portrayal of Victorian England, and the look and feel of the master sleuth himself.
“My take is what the puritans would expect. Some of the most surprising things are that oft-associated props never appeared in the novels or short stories. [Holmes] never wore a dearstalker cap, except maybe once, and even then it was described differently,” star Robert Downey, Jr., begins to describe.
“Even in Victorian times, people had to shave and had rumpled clothing, and we tried to do that with this film. Particularly with [previous] ‘Sherlock Holmes’ [films], everybody looks perfect, everybody looks like they just stepped out of a tableau,” says the film’s producer Lionel Wigram. “Sherlock Holmes has stubble, who spends two weeks laying on his couch between cases. He probably hasn’t had a bath, he hasn’t shaves, so we wanted to present that.”
“We were very dirty,” laughed a vibrant Rachel McAdams, who performs in the role of Irene Adler in the film.
But when it came to the script – and its execution – Downey had a way of adjusting the old narratives to flow easier for audiences, who will be able to see the film come Christmas Day this year.
“It’s never easy to be relaxed, but we work real hard at making it seem that way, and we write out dialogue to make it seem more natural and have a flow to it,” Downey explains. “I really do think Doyle was an amazing, amazing writer and storyteller. But the boundaries are that it’s Victorian England, and they’re gentlemen, so it’s not some of that wavy-gravy, free-flowing stuff.”
Rachel McAdams explains more about her role as Irene Adler. “She’s a really fun character. She’s really her own boss, she’s a real free spirit, a woman of the night and of the underworld. She’s very acrobatic and has traveled all over the world,” she says. “And the costumes! I’m such a girlie girl, it was just like paper dolls. I was in heaven being dressed, from the head down. It was so much fun to be that authentic.”
Much of the comedy and suspense of the film, says Downey, comes from the unique and tight-knit relationship between Holmes and his right-hand man Dr. John Watson, played by Jude Law.
“It’s called circumstantial homosexuality. I hear this is a staple now, like, ‘We need a “Butch & Sundance” scene there and a scene from “Heat” here,’ but it’s another thing entirely to get into the spirit of ‘What does that mean,’ when two people are so close that they almost can’t stand each other, but they can’t stand on their own two feet without each other. Doyle was giving us the first look at what is the two-hander.”
“I’m so sorry that [Jude’s] not here today. He is so the right arm of this movie,” Downey continues, smiling. “He wanted to go do something undeniably legitimate, so he’s doing ‘Hamlet’ right now. ‘Hamlet’? Anyone can do that.”
“We called Watson ‘Hotson,’ because, I mean, it’s Jude Law,” adds McAdams.
Downey hasn’t grown weary of the active, iconic roles he’s landed and worked as of late, including in ‘Ironman’ and ‘Tropic Thunder,’ and has no plans of stopping the trend.
“I think about rock stars, and they always say they’re gonna retire by this or that age. And then I think about other guys – who shall remain nameless, one of which just started with Rachel in a movie, who had double franchises going – and are like, ‘Gah, too old to do it…’ If the material’s still good, and if you still love working with the people you love to work with, then why not?” Downey says, though it was unclear if he’s referring, perhaps, to recent McAdams co-star Harrison Ford or Russell Crowe.
As for he and his wife Susan’s involvement in producing another film, Downey says, “I’m bound for pause. we’ll probably have another kid, a Shetland pony, a non-alcoholic vineyard.”