ShoWest: First Look at Sherlock Holmes

Sometimes, ShoWest does pull out a few unexpected surprises, and while it was always known that Warner Bros. President and COO Alan Horn would be giving the welcome remarks at the State of the Industry Update, he used his time to also give a preview of some of Warner Bros.’ upcoming movies, including showing the first footage of Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes, starring Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law and Rachel McAdams.

An even bigger surprise was the actual presence of Downey, who took a break from preparing for Iron Man 2 to introduce the footage to the theater owners in the audience. After coming out to applause and being hugged by Horn, Downey Jr. joked that Horn hugs him every time he sees him now though that it wasn’t always that way.

Before showing the footage, he told the audience how he came to the project, how after the opening weekend of Iron Man, he was told he probably could do anything he wanted to do “for the next hour and a half,” so he went to Joel Silver, who gave Downey his first job 25 years ago (Weird Science), and gave him some ideas what he might be interested in doing. He learned about Guy Ritchie’s plans to update Sherlock Holmes. Ritchie thought that Downey was too old for the role, but Downey convinced him and then also convinced him that Rachel McAdams wasn’t too young to play his love interest. (He made a joke about using “Benjamin Button”-like CG to minimize their age difference.) Downey claimed that part of the reason Ritchie’s movie will be different from the previous incarnation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s character is that besides going back to the original source material, the other projects never had the money to do it correctly.

The footage, a pseudo teaser-trailer, that followed had never been shown before, although we did glimpse a few scenes we saw being filmed and that were shown to ComingSoon.net during our set visit last year, including Holmes’ bare-knuckle fight and the early fight with Blackwood’s henchmen. Otherwise, there was a lot of information going by very fast, as is always the case, so we tried to take notes and remember what we could.

It opens with eerie music and shadowy scenes of Victorian London and we see a shot of Downey’s Holmes running down a spiral staircase and another of him smoking his trademark pipe as a voice-over tells Holmes that he needs to “widen his gaze” because he’s underestimating the “gravity of coming events.” The voiceover tells Holmes that at the dawn of the new day, the world as he knows it would end, to which Holmes responds playfully, “Well, there isn’t any time to waste then” and he jumps out the window.

We get a brief glimpse of Eddie Marsan’s Inspector LeStrade saying something about someone seeing Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong’s villain in the film) rising from the grave, and Holmes is asked to find and stop him, which Holmes claims will “take every ounce of my not inconsiderable experience.” To that, LeStrade comes back with a slam about it maybe being a hobby to Holmes, but that he does it for a living. (This confirms what Marsan told us last year about their working relationship not being a particularly friendly one.)

Holmes says that he needs to have someone with him that he can thoroughly trust, at which point we see him greeting Jude Law’s Dr. Watson and we get a bit of the rapport between them, as the two of them squabble about the things roommates normally argue over, Law complaining about Holmes playing the violin late at night and his “lack of hygiene.”

After that, we get a bit of the interaction between Holmes and Rachel McAdams’ Irene Adler, as they scuffle, her pulling out an ornament from which sharp blades jut out to threaten Holmes. That interaction ends with him left chained to a bed. Watson finds him in that state and asks, “Holmes, does your depravity know no bounds?” to which Holmes replies, “No.” (Later we see Adler in a very sexy outfit, as McAdams’ credit is shown.)

Another scene shows Holmes facing a much larger opponent, who looked like Nathan Jones, the giant from the opening of Troy, atop what looked like a clock tower. Jones is wielding an enormous sledgehammer while Holmes is carrying just a standard everyday hammer, which he promptly throws at the giant hoping that would do some damage. (It doesn’t, and the giant attacks.) This scene got a huge laugh from the audience.

There was a quick-cut montage of more action scenes before a scene where a maid walks into a room and screams, dropping the tray she was carrying. We cut to Downey chained to a bed naked except for a pillow covering his genitals, and he asks her to remain calm and that under the pillow is the “key to his release” and the shocked woman runs out screaming.

It was a very funny and exciting first look at what will surely be Guy Ritchie’s most high profile film to date, and it got a great reaction from the exhibitors in attendance. It’ll be interesting to see where and when this teaser trailer will surface, as it definitely did its job in showing what the movie is all about.

Sherlock Holmes opens on Christmas Day. Look for more from ComingSoon.net’s visit to the set shortly.

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