With star Robert Downey Jr. in fighting form and enjoying an easy rapport with his costar, Jude Law, the filming of Sherlock Holmes in London last year was trouble-free. The only drama seemed to take place off the set, where the film’s director, Guy Ritchie (Snatch, RocknRolla), and his then-wife Madonna filed for divorce. The couple had been married since 2000, and the announcement made global headlines. But according to Holmes star Robert Downey Jr., the cast saw no evidence of strain on Ritchie, and the divorce had no impact on the production. “Guy is a country gentleman,” Downey says. “He doesn’t want to occupy his mind with things that may be unpleasant or may get him riled up. He was just doing what he would have been doing regardless of the situation.” When asked how he coped with all that tabloid noise, not to mention private emotion, while shooting a major studio film, Ritchie answers with just four simple words: “Head down, arms swinging.”

For more on the making of Sherlock Holmes, plus a look at how the character has been portrayed over time, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands today.