Robert Downey Jr Interview For ‘Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows’
Robert Downey Jr reprises his role as the world’s most famous detective, Sherlock Holmes, and Jude Law returns as his formidable colleague, Dr. Watson, in ‘Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.’ Sherlock Holmes has always been the smartest man in the room…until now. There is a new criminal mastermind at large – Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris) – and not only is he Holmes’ intellectual equal, but his capacity for evil, coupled with a complete lack of conscience, may actually give him an advantage over the renowned detective. When the Crown Prince of Austria is found dead, the evidence, as construed by Inspector Lestrade (Eddie Marsan), points to suicide. But Sherlock Holmes deduces that the prince has been the victim of murder–a murder that is only one piece of a larger and much more portentous puzzle, designed by one Professor Moriarty.
Mixing business with pleasure, Holmes tracks the clues to an underground gentlemen’s club, where he and his brother, Mycroft Holmes (Stephen Fry) are toasting Dr. Watson on his last night of bachelorhood. It is there that Holmes encounters Sim (Noomi Rapace), a Gypsy fortune teller, who sees more than she is telling and whose unwitting involvement in the prince’s murder makes her the killer’s next target. Holmes barely manages to save her life and, in return, she reluctantly agrees to help him. The investigation becomes ever more dangerous as it leads Holmes, Watson and Sim across the continent, from England to France to Germany and finally to Switzerland. But the cunning Moriarty is always one step ahead as he spins a web of death and destruction–all part of a greater plan that, if he succeeds, will change the course of history. ‘Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows’ is set for release December 16th 2011.
Everything seems bigger in this film, from the locations, the mastermind villain, the ensemble cast….
Robert Downey Jr: Yeah, I believe, like a good Sherlock Holmes tale, you are kept wondering where it’s all going to wind up, and you are pleasantly surprised when you find out. It has got a good sense of fun, a good heart to it, it’s emotionally weighty. I think it’s the closest thing to a real Conan Doyle “Holmes versus Moriarty” story that has been depicted yet. That makes me particularly proud. In the time between the first story, Sherlock has just been doing research and snoopage (laughs). His dear fellow Watson has moved on with a real life of sorts. I think Holmes has done what he said he would do, re-open the case for Moriarty, and he’s probably wondering if and how Irene Adler is going to be caught up in that web of deception. I think he’s quite concerned, he takes it seriously. Everything is definitely turned up a few notches.
Having Professor Moriarty in this movie, this adversary that hold so much ominous weight, that must be a lot of fun dramatically?
Robert Downey Jr: Definitely. I’d hand it to Arthur Conan Doyle that he’s referred to so often in this kind of….it’s almost as if he’s given authority in the way others describe him and the after-effects you see him have on other people. Dramatically that’s very fun. You see people dropping like flies as a result of the fact that this force of nature has been in their midst. Moriarty was kind of the first super villain in modern literature. It must just be an incredibly fun role to play, because the time you show up everyone must be mortified and thinking, “What’s it gonna be like?”
With Moriarty, I like that he’s not twirling a moustache, and he doesn’t have endless monologues that give away everything that was cool about him by saying what his plan is, he never tells me he’s going to kill me and then leave me there with a way to get out (laughs). And yet he’s a basis for a lot of those evil villains that I grew up watching, happily. I also think that what we were able to do was to really make him Holmes’ equal. Then you have Holmes being told by everybody, and really at a certain point by himself that he can’t beat this guy. I think we really needed somebody I could go toe to toe with, and enjoy that challenge, and that was the fantastic Jared Harris.
Noomi Rapace is also on board as Sim, this mysterious character, she also adds another dynamic to the story?
Robert Downey Jr: In Sim, played by the very glorious Noomi Rapace, we thought it would be nice to have someone, a character, who was both integral to the story, give us our female lead, and be really a dynamic that serves a bunch of different purposes. In her we have a character that we see as a gypsy fortune teller, but she’s actually quite a bit more. She is essentially the lynchpin of unravelling this very very complex case. It is more or less Sim that gets Holmes and Watson touring and running and chasing abroad.
We were kind of this interim space for Noomi; a big movie, a strong difficult character, very physical, very formidable, very emotional, very central to the story. Noomi is just such a great worker, she roles up her sleeves and goes, “Great, how can we make this better?” I was doing fight training with her early on, and believe me, she likes to fight (laughs). She’s great.
How was working with Jude Law and Guy Ritchie again?
Robert Downey Jr: I feel about Jude the way Sherlock feels about John, I love the guy, we’re like brothers. The funny thing is that we have this very gentlemanly relationship with each other. We just show up and set up shop, work our asses off, tear through fights, work through scenes, and have this incredibly close relationship. Like good, I’ll speak for him, trained actors…and I learned it by proxy, you turn off at the end of the day and then you go back and do it again in the morning. I couldn’t have asked for a better partner.
I think what Guy was really able to do this time was be able to concentrate a lot more on the details of what we were doing day to day, the story had kind of been taken care of. So there wasn’t a huge amount of work to do there. I can tell that he was really really giddy and happy about some of the text stuff that he was able to do, and to keep infusing this trilogy, at minimum, I’m imagining (laughs), with that Guy Ritchie style. In addition to that I believe he was really outgoing in trying to make it a collaborative process. He’s got a great sense of humour, which really comes in handy when the going gets tough. I just love the guy, I think he’d be hard pressed to do a better job than he did.
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