Hey Jude

Hey Jude

Jude Law has a ball as Dr. Watson in Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes


Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on March 2010

Photo by Jun Sato

Sherlock Holmes and his faithful sidekick Dr. Watson as action heroes? Why not, says Jude Law, who plays Watson in director Guy Ritchie’s take on the famous Victorian-era sleuth.
During his sixth visit to Japan, Law had nothing but praise for co-star Robert Downey Jr in the title role, and for the way in which Ritchie has put a new twist on a story that has been told countless times in films and on TV.

“I think we have added a refreshing flavor and created a Holmes that you have never seen before,” said the 37-year-old actor. “But at the same time, we worked very hard to respect the fans of the books and the tradition of Sherlock Holmes. We’ve brought Holmes and Watson out of their Baker Street residence and onto the streets, where the action is. It’s sort of like how they might have been in their younger days.”

Dark and even swashbuckling at times, Sherlock Holmes finds the two heroes battling a satanic nobleman (Mark Strong) who plots to take over England. All the touches that enlivened Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original books are in the film—Holmes is an expert in logic and deduction, a drug taker, boxer, martial artist, master of disguise and dabbler in chemistry. Of course, the familiar supporting characters are all present too, including Inspector Lestrade, housekeeper Mrs Hudson and Holmes’ former female nemesis, the temptress Irene Adler, not to mention a well-known villain hiding in the shadows.

“It was just great fun seeing Guy Ritchie and his team bring Victorian England to life, and playing on those sets,” said Law, whose take on Watson is very different from the usual bumbling portrayal—think Nigel Bruce’s foil to Basil Rathbone in the ’40s film series. Law said this was a conscious decision on his part. “Robert Downey and I saw Holmes and Watson as acting almost like a married couple in the way they live and fight together,” he quipped.

Born in London, Law got his movie breakthrough with the sci-fi film Gattaca in 1997, but it was The Talented Mr. Ripley in 1999 that really put him on the map. The actor’s subsequent film career has had both highs—Cold Mountain (2003), Breaking and Entering (2006)—and lows (2004’s Alfie, 2007’s Sleuth). Most recently, he filled in for the deceased Heath Ledger in Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.

Although Law is committed to the films Repo Men and Contagion this year and next, he said momentum is already gathering for another Sherlock Holmes outing.

“I’m very excited at the prospect of there being a sequel. I don’t know if it has been 100 percent confirmed. We always said that if enough people came and saw it and liked it, then we would happily make another. And it looks like that is going to be the case. The beautiful thing about this as a source is that there is so much material that Conan Doyle gave us. There are these wonderful books that we can pick from.”

The rumors are flying that Brad Pitt will sign on to play Holmes’ archenemy, Professor Moriarty.

“I think that if we go ahead, Moriarty will be unveiled in the next film and we will be hunting him down,” Law affirmed. “Whether it will be Brad Pitt, I have no idea. That will have to stay a mystery for now.”

Chris Betros is the editor of Japan Today (www.japantoday.com).