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Sacha Baron Cohen IS... Sherlock Holmes!
And Will Ferrell is Watson in new comedy

02 July 2008  |  Written by Chris Hewitt  |  Source: Variety

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Wow. There are some films that we just don’t see coming. And this is one of them. Columbia Pictures have just announced a comedy that automatically becomes one of the most anticipated movies of the next couple of years: Sacha Baron Cohen and Will Ferrell are Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.

Let’s get things straight right off the bat: this as-yet untitled movie is not to be confused with Guy Ritchie’s version of Sherlock Holmes, which will be more of an action-adventure reinvention of Arthur Conan Doyle’s master detective. With rights to the character having entered the public domain, there’s no limit to the number of Sherlock Holmes movies – in theory, obviously – that can be stationed at studios, and Ritchie’s project is being developed over at Warner Bros.

So it looks like we have a Dante’s Peak/Volcano, Armageddon/Deep Impact situation or, perhaps more pertinently, Robin Hood/Robin Hood, Prince Of Thieves - although this may be the first time that a comedy and a straight flick about the same subject have gone head-to-head. We were already looking forward to the Ritchie version – Holmes is an iconic character that belongs on the big screen – but we’re just as pumped, if not more so, about the Cohen/Ferrell take.

We’re guessing that this one may not be entirely faithful to the Conan Doyle stories, and may indeed get the Holmes disciples up in arms, but a) as long as it’s in tandem with a more traditional take on Holmes, that’s fine by us and b) there have been comedic takes on Holmes before, including 1988’s Without A Clue, starring Michael Caine and Ben – sorry, Sir Ben – Kingsley.

Certainly, we’re hugely excited about the pairing of Cohen and Ferrell, who were last seen in Talladega Nights: The Legend Of Ricky Bobby, in which Cohen played Ferrell’s nemesis, French F1 ace, Jean Girard. Although the movie itself wasn’t fantastic, the interplay between the two stars, whenever they shared the screen, was wonderful.

We look forward to more of that chemistry this time around, as we’re pretty sure that this movie will see Watson given more screen-time than usual (which has always been strange, considering that virtually all the Holmes stories are told from Watson’s point of view), because of Ferrell’s casting. In fact, this might be more of a buddy picture, but it’s very early days at the moment.

Etan Cohen (no relation to Sacha), one of the writers of this summer’s eagerly-awaited comedy, Tropic Thunder, is penning the script, with the ubiquitous Judd Apatow and Jimmy Miller – producers of Talladega Nights and pretty much every comedy ever made, it seems – pulling producing duty. So the pedigree is there for a top-notch laughfest.

As for the casting, it’s perfect in our opinion. Though he's a long way from Basil Rathbone, the tall, dark, more thoughtful Cohen – who, with this, Talladega and Sweeney Todd, is building a career for himself beyond his own creations such as Borat and the upcoming Bruno - should make a decidedly smug and superior Holmes.

As for Ferrell's Watson, we know that the man who is Ron Burgundy (and Chazz Michael Michaels, and Jackie Moon) specialises in playing deluded, blustering fools, and since Watson often isn’t the sharpest card in the deck, this could be a match made in heaven.

There’s no word of a start date, a director (might Apatow himself step up to the plate?) or even a release date yet (we’d guess that late 2009 or even 2010 might be on the cards; Ferrell already has Land Of The Lost lined up for next summer, while an impending Actors’ Strike could also affect things), but we already can’t wait.

But what do you think, readers – are you excited by the prospect of a Ferrell/Apatow/Cohen take on Sherlock Holmes, or do you think it’s sacrilege? Do you think that there's room for a third Holmes movie, one that actually adheres to the classic Conan Doyle tales, instead of reinventing the character?

And any thoughts on the title? In keeping with Ferrell's previous movies, could it be Sherlock Holmes: The Legend Of Blah Blah Blah? Might it be a take on The Hound Of The Baskervilles? Answers on an e-postcard.

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Your Comments

russell brand?
sounded good till i heard brand was to play a part in it i will now avoid it like the plague if you think of the pool of cockney actors they have at there fingertips why choose a flavour of the month gobshite who's only talent is that he has a well connected agent who keeps him working i cant be the only person that thinks this way can i? More

Posted by omegaman1 at 14:34 on 04 July 2008 | Report This Post

semi pro is great
i am not a big fan of will ferrel as he is hit and miss with most of his movies but semi pro is very good lads movie and he gets teh kudos form me. it woudl be intresting to see him do somethign different though as he plays the same role in every f#$@% movie More

Posted by miketang99 at 06:34 on 03 July 2008 | Report This Post

fanstasy film league
actually I'll change that to Daniel Day Lewis plus the whole team from Perfume: Tykwer to direct with his DOP, production designer and editor - I'm not sure about the best writer - and I'll make a left-field suggestion from Watson and go with Damien Lewis - I'd love to see him as a foil for Day Lewis More

Posted by Dr Science at 18:52 on 02 July 2008 | Report This Post

fanstasy film league
actually I'll change that to Daniel Day Lewis plus the whole team from Perfume: Tykwer to direct with his DOP, production designer and editor - I'm not sure about the best writer - and I'll make a left-field suggestion from Watson and go with Damien Lewis - I'd love to see him as a foil for Day Lewis More

Posted by Dr Science at 18:30 on 02 July 2008 | Report This Post

3rd option
I said it on the Downey Jr story and I'll say it again - I want Daniel Day Lewis to do a proper dramatic version of the Conan Doyle character - and I'd like to suggest Joe Wright as director More

Posted by Dr Science at 18:15 on 02 July 2008 | Report This Post

Not sure about Will Ferrell anymore
Have to agree with 'djamesc' on this. Ferrell is just tiresome these days. Saying that, the one hope is that its being written by one of the Tropic Thunder writers. I saw a test screening of Tropic Thunder a couple of weeks ago and its one of the funniest films I have ever seen. More

Posted by Jinder at 16:36 on 02 July 2008 | Report This Post

Will Ferrell is just not as funny as he thinks he is. It's getting old and tiresome. This will be soooo so bad More

Posted by djamesc at 16:00 on 02 July 2008 | Report This Post

by the way... does anyone else feel as though some people should mistakenly think Bruno will be biopic of Frank Bruno? I just think it'd be funny if they did. More

Posted by Adrian at 15:52 on 02 July 2008 | Report This Post

what about Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves/Robin Hood: Men in Tights? I think Sascha as Sherlock Holmes though is genius. Of course, if he gets into this as he does his own creations, can we expect him to wrap up real crimes with his victorian sciences and stuff? the film overall will either be phenomenal or both leads will be hung, drawn, quartered, stoned, electrocuted, lethal-injected, shot, stabbed and shot out of cannons for ana bomination the likes of which have not been seen since.. More

Posted by Adrian at 15:49 on 02 July 2008 | Report This Post

Oh dear
This could be very very bad, but it could also be ok, its definitely not going to be brilliant. I don't hold out much hope for either film. Though I am willing to be surprised. To Leeorami 2.0 I expect the copyright has run out on the character, as according to the wonderful internet he first appeared in 1887 and copyright doesn't unusual last 121 years. More

Posted by pussy_galore at 14:54 on 02 July 2008 | Report This Post

Tragic
This will be terrible. Comic takes on Holmes/Watson have traditional been humourless dross (even the usually dependable Cook & Moore managed to stink up the screen in HOTB). To be honest I am not taken with the idea of GR's version either - as recent efforts (even by the Beeb) have not come close to the Granada TV series . Leave well enough alone already! More

Posted by JimKing75 at 13:50 on 02 July 2008 | Report This Post

Straight and comedy?
"...this may be the first time that a comedy and a straight flick about the same subject have gone head-to-head..."??!? Well, what about 'Mars Attacks' and 'Independence Day', then? That is, of course, assuming you count 'ID4' as a straight movie and not a comedy. ;-) More

Posted by dogstarman at 13:24 on 02 July 2008 | Report This Post

Awesome!
Very happy about this. By the way, didn't Dawn of the Dead go up against Sean of the Dead? More

Posted by Tyler_Durden at 11:27 on 02 July 2008 | Report This Post

adults only please!!!
Please make this a 15 or 18 & let them loose because thats when they do their best work. This has the potential to be awesome if they make it right. Keep the kids away from this & make it for us adults please. You want me to beg? ok i'll beg! pleaseeeee More

Posted by whitelighter at 11:11 on 02 July 2008 | Report This Post

all Ferreld out !!
I will admit that Talledager Nights and Anchorman are two of the funniest films EVER but I am concerned that Will Ferrel is truning into the new Ben Stiller or Adam Sandler. I thought after his excellent performance in Stranger Than Fiction he might broaden his horizon a bit ?! you know ?! More

Posted by waltham1979 at 11:09 on 02 July 2008 | Report This Post

How comes the rights to Sherlock Holmes is in the public domain? Just curious. More

Posted by Leeorami 2.0 at 11:08 on 02 July 2008 | Report This Post

bad idea
Cringe cringe cringe More

Posted by Caster at 11:02 on 02 July 2008 | Report This Post

RE: Jeez!
L: The Bantam Menace Why on earth can't folks just stop meddling. Virtually ALL Holmes "comedy" films have been poor (Pete and Dud excluded). Here's an idea for any new Holmes movie USE THE EXISTING STORIES!!!!! They're excellent. sp; Whoa there, calm down little fella, Empire said they were guessing that this would not be faithful.  It could be entirely faithful for all we know, except funny.  As for Pete and Dud, they are both dead now and not funny anymore. More

Posted by kinge247 at 10:26 on 02 July 2008 | Report This Post

RE: read it now......
Absolute pure fucking genius.  Can't wait. More

Posted by kinge247 at 10:22 on 02 July 2008 | Report This Post

read it now......
very excited about this! Ferrell/Apatow/Cohen/Cohen - it will be minted!! haha at least it will be better than the wanky SH red bull advert! More

Posted by Tosh at 10:04 on 02 July 2008 | Report This Post

not read story.......
I havnt reaad the story yet - just saw the headline and pissed myself laughing at the thought.......... reading now More

Posted by Tosh at 10:01 on 02 July 2008 | Report This Post

Why were you "already looking forward to" the Ritchie version? Can anyone think of a character who less needs an "action-adventure reinvention"? If you don't want to make a Sherlock Holmes film then don't make a Sherlock Holmes film; don't steal the names and the costumes to add credibility to some sub-Indiana Jones embarrassment. IMHO. More

Posted by mrpage at 09:31 on 02 July 2008 | Report This Post

Baskervilles: The Yarn of Watson and Holmes More

Posted by Silvertouch at 09:24 on 02 July 2008 | Report This Post

"...this may be the first time that a comedy and a straight flick about the same subject have gone head-to-head." Not if you count, '1492: Conquest of Paradise' which came out the same year as 'Carry on Columbus.' More

Posted by rainbowblackout at 08:43 on 02 July 2008 | Report This Post

Pete and Dud
The Pete and Dud one EXCLUDED! You must be mad. Their Hound of the baskervilles was a sham. It was a sham of a tavesty of a mockery of a sham. More

Posted by Mycroft3 at 08:22 on 02 July 2008 | Report This Post

Jeez!
Why on earth can't folks just stop meddling. Virtually ALL Holmes "comedy" films have been poor (Pete and Dud excluded). Here's an idea for any new Holmes movie USE THE EXISTING STORIES!!!!! They're excellent. More

Posted by The Bantam Menace at 07:46 on 02 July 2008 | Report This Post

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