Joel Silver & Susan Downey on Sgt. Rock & More


Earlier this week, Hype! spent some time in London visiting a location where Guy Ritchie was shooting his new version of Sherlock Holmes with Robert Downey Jr. as the 19th Century detective and Jude Law as Dr. Watson. While there, we did a bunch of interviews with the producers of the movie, including Dark Castle’s Joel Silver and Susan Downey, who updated us on some of the projects they’d been developing with Ritchie which were put aside to do Sherlock Holmes.

When asked about some of those projects, specifically a remake of The Dirty Dozen and a movie based on the comic book character Sgt. Rock, Downey explained how RocknRolla and Sherlock Holmes took precedence. “Joel and I had done ‘RocknRolla’ with Guy and he really wanted to get behind the camera again, which is how ‘RocknRolla’ came about because prior to that, we had been developing these bigger, sort of tentpole event movies for Warner Bros. that he was wanting to do, but those take time, especially if you’re going to do something that is a known title, whether it is ‘Dirty Dozen’ or ‘Sgt. Rock.’ There’s actually a couple other things we’re working on with him, and he said, ‘I got to get behind the camera, and I have this script.’ He sent it to us like on a Friday and by Monday or Tuesday, we’d greenlit it and moved onto making it under Dark Castle, which was a great experience in terms of working with Guy. Then what happened was after ‘RocknRolla,’ we were going to be working on these other movies, and ‘Sherlock Holmes,’ which was farther along than any of those in the process, had come in and the studio, everyone saw ‘RocknRolla’ and saw what Guy could do. The fact that they were pulling him away from these other projects to focus on this, they saw that there was a bigger marriage that could take place and a lot of pieces working together, it all just kind of made a lot of sense.”

Silver talked to us a little bit about Ritchie’s planned war movie based on Sgt. Rock, which has been temporarily backburnered. “Guy did a great job on the script for ‘Sgt. Rock’ and I think that when (Quentin Tarantino’s) ‘Inglourious Basterds’ was coming together so quickly, it made sense to kind of jump off that and jump onto this, because it was something that was really different and unique. I loved to think that one day we will make ‘Sgt. Rock.’ ‘Inglourious Basterds’ is a war movie and I’m looking forward to seeing it, but it’s something that was a direct competition to ‘Sgt. Rock’ so I felt that we should hold off and do that when we can.”

“Those two projects specifically, they still need more work in development,” Downey agreed. “I know that Guy, he still has passion for them, but his focus right now is on this. I do believe that if there was a universe where he could be doing them all right now. He would want to, and we haven’t jumped off him and looked for other people yet either. I’m not exactly sure what we’re going to do, because we love those projects but they have to be done right, which is the other reason why we haven’t moved forward even with him, because we’ve got scripts that were good but they hadn’t landed just yet.”

Silver also mentioned that he’s looking to get on board to co-produce a movie based on the Vertigo comic book The Losers, which at one point director Tim Story was involved in making. “I’ve always liked that project, it was a competing project with ‘Dirty Dozen’ for a while, but it didn’t happen at Warners, so we kind of took it into Dark Castle, so we may try to make that now. But I hope to do ‘Dirty Dozen’ one day, too. I always look at these things that there’s a lot of time, a lot of movies to make. Sometimes the time is right for them and sometimes you have to wait to make them for another time.” (Ironically, as we were waiting for permission to run this story, The Hollywood Reporter announced that Sylvain White would direct, which you can read about here.

Recently, there was word of a possible Lethal Weapon 5 being produced but it quickly was quelched when Mel Gibson went on record that he wasn’t interested. The original movie helped make Silver’s name in Hollywood and he’s still hopeful another installment might happen. “No, I tried and we talked about it, but it was something that Mel didn’t want to do now. It doesn’t mean that he wants to do it ever, but as of right now, he didn’t, and if we can do it, it would be fun to do. Shane (Black) had a great take on it, a great idea, great feeling about it. He did a really complex kind of treatment/outline, very complicated and very good, but we can do it one day. The idea that they wanted to get it up right away, we couldn’t do that, but we’ll see what happens.”

Whether or not you’re a gambler, you can bet we’ll hear more about all these coming projects in the coming years as Silver continues to grind away at these projects. Guy Ritchie’s RocknRolla is currently in theaters, and next week, you can look for a short preview of our visit to the set of Sherlock Holmes, which is scheduled to open November 20, 2009.