ComingSoon.net just finished speaking with filmmaker Guy Ritchie about his upcoming crime-comedy RocknRolla, which premieres tonight at the Toronto International Film Festival. During our interview, Ritchie let slip that he just cast Mark Strong (pictured), one of the breakout stars of the movie, in his next project, a reinvention of Sherlock Holmes, starring Robert Downey Jr. in the title role.
Mark Strong’s name might not be that familiar to Americans, but in England, Strong is a go-to actor who has appeared in dozens of films and award-winning television shows like “Prime Suspect” and he appears in a number of high-profile movies this fall.
The same week Strong appears in Ritchie’s movie, he also co-stars in Ridley Scott’s political thriller Body of Lies in a role that allows him to steal more than a few scenes from under Leonard DiCaprio and Russell Crowe, and he also plays a German SS officer in the upcoming drama Good, three roles that are so different you’re not likely to realize they’re the same actor. (He also appears in the new Vin Diesel sci-fi action flick Babylon A.D. apparently, which is probably different from those other three roles..)
We didn’t find out who this thespian chameleon will be playing in the movie–it’s not Mr. Watson, so let’s get that out of the way, since Ritchie says he and producer Joel Silver are still on the “Watson hunt”–but it’s probably a good thing Ritchie cast Strong now because we have a feeling that the actor is on the rise and that he’ll be able to raise his rates by year’s end.
Earlier in the day, Ritchie mentioned in a press conference that he hasn’t really thought about Sherlock Holmes becoming a franchise because he’s so busy trying to make sure the first movie is good. “My job is to make what I deem to be a highly-entertaining contemporary and fresh feel to what is essentially an old and iconic character,” he said. While the movie isn’t based on any specific story from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, he says that it’s an amalgamation of a number of the Sherlock Holmes adventures, and he promises that he has some really “high falootin'” ideas for the movie’s big action scenes now that he has the budget to pull them off.
RocknRolla opens in limited release on October 8 and expands wide on October 31. Look for our full interview with Ritchie and some of the cast of the movie in the next few weeks.