Bill Condon’s next project, which will feature Ian McKellen playing the 93 year-old Sherlock Holmes dealing with the slow deterioration of his superior mental faculties, was once called A Slight Trick Of The Mind. Thanks to the actor’s twitter feed, we now know the title has been changed to Mr Holmes, and we have our first look at the venerable detective.
Condon has collaborated on the screenplay with The Duchess’s Jeffrey Hatcher and they’ve worked from Mitch Cullin's novel, itself called A Slight Trick Of The Mind. The book takes place in 1947 when Holmes is 93, long retired to his Sussex beekeeping and frustrated by his diminishing power of recollection. He believes his bees' royal jelly is part of the secret of his longevity, and his further researches into the subject have recently taken him to post-war Japan. There he encounters the son of a former British diplomat who knew Holmes and disappeared at the start of the war. Holmes doesn't remember, but feels the familiar pull of an unfinished case...
The novel weaves together three narratives: Sussex, Japan, and The (also still unsolved) Case Of The Glass Armonicist: a London tale from 1902 when Holmes was still active as a consulting detective. Laura Linney is aboard to play Mrs. Munro, and the film itself should be out next year. There has also been a casting update, with Deadline reporting that The Wolverine's Hiroyuki Sanada is now aboard as Umezaki, a plant expert whom Holmes consults.
For more on the project from McKellen himself, have a listen to what he said when he stopped by the Empire Podcast booth recently (the Sherlock Holmes segment of the interview starts roughly at 30.28).