Guy Ritchie's action adventure flick with Robert Downey Jr. will duel Columbia Picture's Sacha Baron Cohen as the detective

There have been so many versions of Arthur Conan Doyle’s famed fictional detective Sherlock Holmes over the last century — from Basil Rathbone on the radio to Lieut. Commander Data on the holodeck — that apparently Hollywood thought, heck, why not two more? On July 1, Columbia Pictures announced an untitled Sherlock comedy starring Sacha Baron Cohen as Holmes and Will Ferrell as his tireless assistant, Dr. Watson, with Judd Apatow producing and Etan Cohen (co-writer of Tropic Thunder; no relation to Sacha) now penning the script. Eight days later, Warner Bros. named Robert Downey Jr. as the hero of its more action-adventure-inclined Sherlock Holmes, which Guy Ritchie will direct from a script based on an upcoming comic book. That film’s Watson has yet to be cast, but it is set to start shooting in October, with plans for a fall 2009 release. So the game is now afoot.