Today: February 28, 2024

Sherlock Holmes

Stars Robert Downey Jr, Jude Law, Noomi Rapace, director Guy Ritchie and producers Joel Silver and Lionel Wigram talk about their new movie Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows. Just don’t call it a bromance…

Stars Robert Downey Jr, Jude Law, Noomi Rapace,
director Guy Ritchie and producers Joel Silver and Lionel Wigram talk about
their new movie Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows. Just don’t call it a bromance…

Movie press conferences are
a decidedly odd, artificial affair.
To plug their latest film, a platoon of efficient PRs offer up
ill-at-ease cast members, directors and producers to an expectant congregation
of journalists, normally in some posh Mayfair hotel.

Everyone’s on their best
behaviour. The stars appear sober
and are able to fake being relaxed, good-naturedly giving up mildly amusing
anecdotes about the film they’ve just made while talking about the quality of
the work. As if they’ve just
played Lear rather than a spandexed superhero.

The journalists are all on
their best behaviour too because they want to be asked back. They’re not going to rock the boat,
they’re not going to ask anything embarrassing, anything that’ll offend the
talent. Questions about which
alien deity they’re currently worshipping or that mishap with the ladyboy
hooker in Java will go unasked.
Everyone’s a little guarded, a little bit defensive, but if we all just
pull together and stick to the script, we’ll get through this together. It’s refreshing then, when someone like
Robert Downey Jr is on the panel.
Downey Jr is the real deal; a Hollywood movie star who genuinely seems
to love what he’s doing and is enthusiastic not just about the film but the
chance to work with co-star Jude Law again.

“He doesn’t like it when you
say bromance,” he jokes.

“I think it belittles it,” says Law “It’s more than
that!”

“People talk about chemistry, and
what does that really mean. We were just having lunch and trying to figure it
out,” continues Downey Jr. “We’re
really grateful it comes across that way. We work really hard, and we have
respect for each other. We’ve seen, and been in, sequels that sucked, and we
wanted to try and avoid those pitfalls.”

“I think also,” says
Law, “no matter how happy and harmonious and creative the first film was for us
as a group, it is always true to say that 20 or 30 per cent of a film is taken
up at the beginning, getting to know each other.

“And
you end on a high, knowing how each other works, so it never felt like we
dropped the ball from the first to the second.

“We
never assumed we were going to make the second, but there was a lot of energy
carried from the first film into the second, and a lot of enthusiasm for these
relationships that worked, and we wanted to flesh them out a little more.”

Part of
the attraction of the Sherlock Holmes movies for both actor was the chance to
take such iconic characters in a new direction.

Says
Downey Jr: “From the minute we met, when Guy got us together, hoping we would hit it
off, we cracked a book and started getting chills: hey, Watson was never this
chubby old doofus with his foot in a waste paper basket. He was dynamic, he was
in the army. Holmes never wore a deerstalker hat. We had a chance to, not
rewrite the history of Holmes, but to extrapolate from the untapped actual
history.”

“You can compare Holmes and Watson to great Shakespearean characters in
a way,” says Law. “They’ve been
played by hundreds of actors over the years, and each one is a different
interpretation – the source material can take that form of interpretation. This
is ours.”

Having witnessed some terrible sequels over the years (Iron Man 2
anyone?), the team were keen that A Game Of Shadows wouldn’t just be a joyless
retread of the first film.

“The idea was always
to try to make something fresh and original, whilst still maintaining the
experience of the first movie,” says producer Joel Silver. Responsible for some of the biggest
hits of the last 30 years (The Matrix, the Lethal Weapon movies), Silver is an
old-style Hollywood producer, a scrapper, the kind of creative producer who’s
determined to make the best picture he can.

“We all have our favourite sequels, but
there aren’t that many. We have all been involved in making more than the one
movie,” says Silver. “You always feel the second one is really critical,
because that is the one that continues the saga.

“They
are starting Bond 23 now and I don’t see why we can’t do Sherlock 23. But that means doing 21 more movies!

“This
is very impressive, that we put together a movie that doesn’t feel like we are
just carbon copying the first picture; it feels in many ways better than the
first movie. It is bigger and more exciting and it lets the audience enjoy
these characters.”

Having shot to fame as the original Girl With The Dragon Tattoo,
Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows is the first big Hollywood movie Noomi
Rapace has been part of but she’s taking it in her stride.

“I think the biggest step for me was to step into the English language,
because I didn’t speak English two and half, three years ago,” says
Rapace.

“So, I was afraid I was going to be caught up in a prison of having to
translate everything from Swedish into English, and not be able to improvise
and adlib and live in the language.

“It’s thanks to those boys – the way they worked and the way they
embraced me, and the way Warners took care of me.

“It felt like everyone just grabbed me and pulled me in, and I forgot I
was nervous. It felt like I became one of the boys. I forgot it was not my
language.”

“We were really fortunate to have
new blood with Noomi,” says Downey Jr.

“As, humble as she’s being, she came in and mastered a second language
inside a year.

“She came in and challenged the tenets of what does it mean to be a
third party to this investigation?
How can she fit into the storyline?

“You have to redouble your humility, because there’s a natural inflation
that occurs with success, and until it’s happened, you can’t know it. I guess
the main thing is, you unconsciously take things for granted, and you think the
audience is with you, because you’re with yourself.

“These are discussions that Jude and I would have all the time – what
would we expect? What would be expected
and gotten wrong this time because you’re thinking about all the money that’s
to be made?”

“It was amazing to see and discover how you worked, as I stepped into
this big American movie,” says Rapace.
“The way Guy and you two worked was so playful and easy, and I forgot I
was nervous. It felt almost like a small indie production, as it was teamwork
and it was so intimate.

A sentiment that’s echoed by director Guy Ritchie.

“As a creative team, it’s just that,” says Ritchie. “Lionel (English producer Lionel
Wigram, producer) came up with the idea, he started the whole thing running.

“Everyone has an equal part in creating what we think an audience will
like, and what we think is exciting creatively.

“This might be overstating it, but it’s a powerhouse of creativity.

“I don’t think anyone trumps another individual in this mix. I’m not
sure any one of us can take the credit for any one idea. Someone would come up
with a bad idea that would get ridiculed, and then you realise it’s the bad
idea that led to a good idea, so there’s no such thing as a bad idea.”

For Downey Jr though, his contribution is clear: “Any moment in this
film that touches you, makes you laugh your ass off or cry – those were mine.”

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is in cinemas Friday 16 December. ©
2011 Warner Bros. Ent. All Rights reserved.

Marcia Degia - Publisher

Marcia Degia, who has worked in the media industry for more than 20 years, is the Publishing Editor of KOL Social Magazine. See website: thekolsocial.com

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