Sherlock Holmes A Game of Shadows Interview
Sherlock Holmes A Game of Shadows Interview
Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law were responsible for bringing Sherlock Holmes and his companion Dr Watson back to the big screen in 2009, with a tumultuous, action adventure romp through 19th century London.

Making a return to the cinema with yet more antics themed around the Victorian criminal underworld, director Guy Ritchie and actors Robert Downey Jr, Jude Law and newcomer Noomi Rapace spoke to View’s Matthew Turner about the dangers of making a terrible sequel, working with a naked Stephen Fry, relying on the richness of their characters, and why the third film will feature even more cross dressing.
Robert and Jude, what did you particularly relish about developing the Holmes/Watson bromance?

Robert Downey Jr

[Jude] doesn't like it when you say bromance.

Jude Law

I think it belittles it. It's more than that!

Robert Downey Jr

Delicious. People talk about chemistry, and what does that really mean? We were just having lunch and trying to figure it out. 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.

Jude Law

I also think, no matter how happy and harmonious and creative the first film was as a group, 20 or 30% of a film is always taken up at the beginning getting to know each other, and that you end on a high, knowing how each other works. It never felt like we dropped the ball from the first - we never assumed there would be a second - but a lot of energy was carried into the second. A lot of enthusiasm for relationships that worked, that we wanted to flesh out more. I was excited about mining more of the same.
Noomi, you must've received many script offers after The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy - why did you choose this as your first English language film?

Noomi Rapace

I always had a very strong thing with gypsies, and when this came to me ... Actually I met Robert and his wife Susan [Downey, producer] in LA. It was a very quick, intense, fun meeting, and we didn't really talk about Sherlock. I came out of the meeting smiling, thinking, I really want to work with those people. So it was very personal. I met the people from Warner Bros then I met Guy, and it started from a very honest discussion about movies and dreams and how we want to work. It felt like I was invited into an amazing opportunity to work with people I'd been admiring for years. It was much more about the people in it, and also to have the opportunity to play a gypsy.
Robert, what are your favourite eccentricities in relation to Sherlock?

Robert Downey Jr

I love his dependency on Watson. I love the fact we found a way to make the audience not judge him for driving a wedge between he and his wife. I think he's someone who needs to be taken care of so he can do what he does best.
These characters have survived the test of time, and been explored by so many actors, because they're incredibly rich...
How do you manage to take your characters further without falling into the pitfall of doing the same thing again?

Jude Law

These characters have survived the test of time, and have been explored by so many actors, because they're incredibly rich. First of all we have a tome of work we can lean back on, and investigate how to keep these characters rich and alive. We're also in a creative environment where we're allowed to play and to keep stretching and trying new ideas within the relationship.

Also, the truth is, the reason they've been so popular for so long is that they're symbolic in a way of characters we all know and have in us. There's the side that's down to earth, then there's the imaginative, creative, eccentric and anarchic side. Looked at in a simple way, that's what Watson and Holmes are symbolic of.

Robert Downey Jr

Also, we have Guy. We have a scene in a gypsy camp, where Sim is looking at us thinking, are they ever going to stop arguing long enough to tell us why they're here? To a scene where [Watson] is drunk and late for his own wedding. We turned up with all sorts of script ideas, and Guy was like, 'I'm pretty sure we've got to shoot these two where they're not saying a word.' You have to judge the tone, and it really paid off. The audience can feel the subtleties of the characters.
How do you come up with the ideas?

Guy Ritchie

As a creative team, it's just that. 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.

I very much like being a part of that. I feel like if any one of us take ownership of a concept, they become alienated by the group. It happens organically, because we've all got egos. But then when you get excited by the creative process, everyone gets excited, as no one is trying to own anything. Five or six brains think as one. Joel and Lionel got the momentum going to make the films, then thereafter it became a living organism. We just tap into that. The script was so rough, which some of us found frustrating at times, as we felt it wasn't the film we really wanted to make. Then it got broken down and rebuilt by the organic mind.
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Content updated: 25/06/2019 02:39

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