EW talks to Robert Downey Jr. and Guy Richie
EW: When you hear the names Guy Ritchie and Robert Downey Jr., you don’t instantly think of Sherlock Holmes.
Robert Downey Jr. Really? What do you think of?
EW: Well, in your case, Iron Man. For Guy Ritchie, fast-paced thrillers like Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. What will your Sherlock Holmes be like?
Downey The tone of the film? Take Guy’s style and refine it to the point where it’s positively Victorian, and then add an almost Altmanesque naturalism to it. We knew we’d found the tone by day 2. It came to us almost cosmically, this recipe to keep all the story points and character arcs together.
Guy Ritchie It came to us on day 2, but it was a month before we realized it had come to us on day 2.
EW: So is this going to be like Snatch in a deerstalker hat?
Ritchie It’ll be more accessible. I’ve spent too much time messing around in inaccessible, esoteric material. I’ve never had my day in popular court. Sherlock Holmes will allow me to express my accessible side.
EW: Did you guys have to work on Sherlock’s accent, or did it come naturally?
Downey I had an idea that I should have an ”s” distortion, or I should sound like a serious [upper-class] toff, but Guy said just speak English the way normal educated English guys do. Sometimes I had a bit of electronic help because we were tweaking large passages [of the script] right up to the last minute to make the movie better. So I was wearing an earpiece [to get fed the dialogue]. I’ve tried using it since [on other movies], but it only really works for Holmes, because he’s not thinking while he’s talking. He already knows what he said before he said it.
EW: Are either of you guys Holmesians? Did you read the stories as kids?
Ritchie My first recollection of Holmesian narrative was at boarding school when I was very young. They had these tapes of old Sherlock Holmes stories that were a reward for not making too much noise in the dormitory.
EW: Robert, you’ve studied Holmes for the movie. Do you feel like you know the guy?
Downey No, I still don’t feel that. He’s like Chaplin. The deeper you go into him, the more elusive he is. When you come up against a character so revered, the only thing you can do is sink into it, not even try to swim. That said, when people ask me about Holmes, I’m still able to say, ”Well, actually, you know, he never had a curved pipe.”