When die-hard Sherlockians - or Holmesians, depending on your taste - hear the name Nicholas Rowe, they're bound to think of the Scottish actor's turn as the young Sherlock Holmes in Young Sherlock Holmes, the 1985 movie directed by Barry Levinson and written by Christopher Columbus. Most thought his days as Holmes ended then when he was 19, but thanks to an ingenious cameo in next year's Mr Holmes, he will return as the great consulting detective at the age of 47... in a rather wonderful fashion.
The story of Mr Holmes, which director Bill Condon adapted with Jeffrey Hatcher from Mitch Cullin's novel A Slight Trick Of The Mind, takes place in 1947 when Holmes is 93, long retired to his Sussex beekeeping and frustrated by his diminishing power of recollection. Within this world, Holmes is as famous as you'd expect, and has had movies made of his life. It's in one of these films, as watched in Mr Holmes by Ian McKellen's character, that Nicholas Rowe will appear as Sherlock Holmes. Fictionally. Within a fiction. About a fictional character's life.
"I loved playing Sherlock as a young man," Rowe exclusively tells Empire. "The character has been played by so many different and distinctive actors over the decades and clearly his stock is still high and the genre rich. Bill Condon asked me if I'd play the part of Sherlock on screen (what we are calling 'Matinee Sherlock'*) and I absolutely loved the script and enjoyed talking to Bill about my small part within it and had no doubt that I wanted to be in the film. It's been great fun to do and I'm in very good company."
If you can wrap your head around that, not only are you a veritable member of The Baker Street Irregulars, but a logician worthy of great praise. For more information on the cast of the film, and the mysteries are contained within, take a look at this news story here, and rest your eyes on the heavily made-up face of Ian McKellen as the eponymous Mr Holmes.
As yet there is no firm date for Mr Holmes to hit cinemas, but it's set for a release in autumn 2015.
(* in the film within the film)