Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Return from the Shadows

Guy Ritchie is currently in post production on the sequel to his 2009 box-office smash hit Sherlock Holmes. Daft as a brush but rollicking good fun nonetheless, the movie garnered much critical acclaim for Robert Downey Jr's robust comic turn as Arthur Conan Doyle's iconic detective. Somewhat of an action hero in Ritchie and Downey Jr's hand, this was indeed Holmes as he had never been seen before. Downey Jr was joined by Jude Law as his beleaguered sidekick Dr Watson and both actors will reprise their roles in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows alongside The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo herself, Swedish actress Noomi Rapace as mysterious medium Sim. Aren't they always mysterious, these movie mediums? The trio (pictured above) face off against Holmes's great nemesis, only alluded to in the first film, Moriarty, played by Jared Harris. Another new face, Stephen Fry as Holmes's sharp-as-a-tack big brother Mycroft, will feature alongside returnees Kelly Reilly as Watson's fiancee Mary, Eddie Marsan as Inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard, Geraldine James as landlady Mrs Hudson and Rachel McAdams as femme fatale Irene Adler.

Judging by the trailer, A Game of Shadows will no doubt be another action-packed romp. The shenanigans on a train look particularly intriguing. The first film just about succeeded but one hopes that story is not sacrificed on the altar of CGI spectacle when the sequel opens in cinemas around the world just before Christmas. Meanwhile, Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat's modern-day re-imagining of Sherlock Holmes, the BBC's Sherlock, will follow hard on its heels in the New Year with adaptations of three of most famous Sherlock stories, The Reichenbach Fall, The Hound of the Baskervilles and A Scandal in Bohemia. The ingenious series, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Holmes, Martin Freeman as Dr Watson, Rupert Graves as Inspector Lestrade, Una Stubbs as Mrs Hudson, Gatiss as Mycroft, Andrew Scott as Moriarty and Lara Pulver as Irene Adler, is in many ways closer to the spirit of the original creation than the Hollywood version, despite the latter's lavish Victorian sets.

Lavish Victorian sets are currently under construction by the BBC for their recently-announced eight-part drama series Ripper Street. Taking place in 1889, the intense drama will examine life in Whitechapel in the aftermath of the horrific crimes committed by one Jack the Ripper. Written by Richard Warlow of Waking the Dead fame, Ripper Street explores the lives of characters trying to recover from the Ripper's legacy, from crimes that have not only irretrievably altered their lives, but the very fabric of their city. At the drama's heart, detectives from the notorious H Division - the police precinct from hell, by all accounts - try to bring a little light into the dark world they inhabit. One suspects that it will not occupy the time slot vacated by the recently-axed Lark Rise to Candleford when it hits our screens next year. Just a hunch!

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