LONDON (Reuters) - Sherlock Holmes hits British cinemas this week but not quite as many might imagine the legendary sleuth.
“Lord of the Rings” and “X-Men” star Ian McKellen portrays him as an elderly beekeeper, who at 93 has long retired from solving cases.
Living in an isolated Sussex farmhouse with his housekeeper Mrs Munro (Laura Linney) and her young son Roger (Milo Parker), he is unable to let go of his past as he tries to solve the case that ultimately led to his retirement.
McKellan, 76, said audiences would enjoy his Holmes more than the many others in recent years, including younger versions played by Benedict Cumberbatch and Robert Downey Jr, in television and film.
“This Holmes ... is 93 years old when we first meet him at the end of a long life, of retirement and he’s trying to solve his last mystery, the one that he didn’t quite complete when he was in his heyday,” he said at the film’s premiere on Wednesday.
“So I get to play Holmes young and middle-aged so that makes it slightly superior to other versions.”
Joining him on the mock-up Baker Street setting for the premiere was McKellan’s “X-Men” co-star Patrick Stewart. The two friends hugged and kissed on the cobblestone-effect carpet.
McKellen confirmed he would not be returning as Magneto in “X-Men: Apocalypse” due in 2016. The British actor said that he could imagine retirement but would not be “giving up”.
“I’m ... not retiring and shutting the door, but doing less,” he said. “Mr Holmes” is due for release in Britain on June 19.
Reporting by Helena Williams; Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Louise Ireland