Vulture

Skip to content, or skip to search.

news reel

Newfangled Sherlock Holmes Loses Cocaine Addiction, Gains Abs

One of these things is not like the other.

If you were to approach the editors of Vulture and ask us how we would reinvent the Sherlock Holmes character for today's ADD-addled audiences, we wouldn't have begun by telling you what kinds of new, 21st-century traits he needs to take on. Rather, we would've stated that the ideal place to relaunch a character like this would be on television, not film. However, since Hollywood never actually asked us for our thoughts on the matter (the nerve!), they went ahead and began developing two separate Sherlock Holmes projects for release on the big screen. While not many details are known about the comedic take that Sacha Baron Cohen and Will Ferrell plan on doing for Sony, Warner Brothers recently invited the New York Times to publicize spend some time on the set of their Sherlock Holmes project, scheduled for release in November. So then, what changes do director Guy Ritchie and star Robert Downey Jr. have in store for the world's most famous sleuth?

Looking to capitalize on the public's current taste for gritty, emotionally damaged action heroes like Jason Bourne and James Bond, the new Sherlock Holmes will be considerably more physical in his approach to crime-solving than were the prior, prissier incarnations of the character. In addition to the fact that he's shedded his Inverness coat (so as not to cover up Downey Jr.'s newfound abs of steel), we learn that this Holmes is a bare-knuckle boxer, a martial-arts expert skilled in bartitsu, and an expert swordsman — not to mention a compulsive gambler. He's also got a bit of a Johnny Depp in Pirates of Caribbean vibe to him, too; producer Lionel Wigram informs us that the character should resemble a member of the Rolling Stones, perhaps Brian Jones, in his Victorian-dress period. However, we were disappointed to learn that this darker take on the Holmes character is losing his biggest vice: his addiction to Bolivian marching powder. "No," Wigram told the Times. "He doesn’t do cocaine in our movie." Bummer!

As much as we trust in Downey Jr.'s vision and in his ability to make this character come to life, we can't help but feel a little worried that Guy Ritchie has turned history's most famous gumshoe into Poochie. Guess we'll have to wait until November to find out for sure.

Is That You, Sherlock? [NYT]

Photo: Getty Images/Hulton Archive, Courtesy of Warner Bros., Courtesy of Paramount