Robert Downey Jr. adds punch to "stuffy" Holmes films

Mon Dec 14, 2009 9:52pm EST
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LONDON (Reuters) - Robert Downey Jr. adds punch to the role of Sherlock Holmes in an action-packed movie that breaks with what its makers called "stuffy" screen interpretations of the fictional English detective..

The Warner Bros. production, which opens on Christmas Day in the United States, is widely expected to become a major new franchise for the studio just as the lucrative Harry Potter series comes to a close in 2011.

"I think it potentially has franchise capabilities which I think is very good," producer Joel Silver told a news conference ahead of the picture's world premiere in London on Monday.

"I think we have a chance of really having a lot of fun with this ... story. I think that you want to have a place to go with a movie ... and I think we tried very hard to allow the audience to embrace that there may be more of a story."

Downey Jr.'s Holmes is a physical, fist fighting, streetwise version of the super sleuth in an attempt by director Guy Ritchie to ditch common associations of pipe smoking, deerstalker hats and the famous phrase "elementary my dear Watson."

Ritchie, famous for his 1998 heist movie "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" and an eight-year marriage to pop star Madonna, also sought to place Holmes and Dr. Watson, played by Jude Law, on more equal footing than previous adaptations.

"The deerstalker and 'elementary my dear Watson' never happened, actually, and the deerstalker is never referred to in the books," Ritchie said.

"Although we all are aware of the obvious symbols of Sherlock Holmes, (we) made a decision early on that if we were going to do this we'd have to dust off Sherlock Holmes and create what we thought to be an authentic Conan Doyle version."

"STUFFY" CHARACTERS   Continued...