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SDCC 09: ‘Sherlock Holmes’ Panel
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SDCC 09: Robert Downey Jr at the Sherlock Holmes panelNo one can deny that Robert Downey Jr was the hit of Hall H at the San Diego Comic-Con last weekend at both the Iron Man 2 panel and the one for the Warner Bros. upcoming reboot Sherlock Holmes, directed by Guy Ritchie.

Check out the images from the panel, as well as a description of the new footage shown here below.

Foregoing the usual introduction by the moderator, Downey strut onto the stage unannounced, a most pleasant entrance for the audience, and began to explain the Sherlock Holmes character, created 122 years ago by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Downey explained the Holmes was actually the first superhero and an intellectual one at that, and has grown to become most of the most recognizable figures on Earth.

Downey was joined on the panel by producers Joel Silver and Susan Downey (also Robert Downey’s wife), producer/co-writer Lionel Wigram (who created the comic book spec for the film), and Downey’s co-star Rachel McAdams, who plays Irene Alder, Holmes’ love interest and the only women to ever bested the detective.

The panelists made it clear that while making the film, whenever they were in doubt about a situation, they would always go back to Doyle’s source material to see what Doyle said the characters said and how the characters described one another.

Downey said that he felt that the Holmes character has been misrepresented in previous movies and television series and that they tried to make this film “smart” but not too clever for its own good. The film is part origin story and played heavily on the Victorian period’s obsession with the occult, namely Aleister Crowley, for whom the villainous character Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong) was based on.

McAdams said she combed through the pages of A Scandal In Bohemia, the only story for which Irene Adler appears, to prepare for her character, who is a very independent woman of action. She very clever, so much so that she manages to trip up Holmes more than once (as we see in the footage). Adler is more of an underworld figure and as a couple, she and Holmes are very competitive and are always trying to outsmart each other.

When asked about his martial arts training he did in preparation for the physical role of Holmes, who is seen flexing his action muscles in the film, Downey said, “Look… I’m not trying to incite a riot right now, but I could windmill through the lot of you… one right after the other.”

The characters of Inspector Lestrade and Mrs. Hudson will be in the film, but the producers said that none of the Baker’s Street Irregulars will appear, but that there “maybe or may not be” a few other characters from the Holmesian universe.

Footage Description*

*As I mentioned in the previous coverage of the Warner Bros. panels, no one in the Hall was allowed keep their laptops open to take notes of the footage taken (unlike all the other panels wehre it was allowed). Therefore, I don’t have a play by play of the footage, but here’s what I was able to remember of the footage when the lights were back up.

In this version of the Sherlock Holmes universe, Holmes is a man of action and his sidekick Dr. Watson (Jude Law) is even moreso. When Holmes is trying to pick a lock with an intricate set of pocket tools, Watson gets the job done quicker by kicking the door in.

Also, we see an extended sequence of Holmes fighting in a pit shirtless and bare-knuckled against a very large strong man type. This is extended from the previously released trailer, which had fans not too happy about seeing Holmes as an action hero. But, seeing the full sequence, you will see that Holmes uses his brain to master this very physical fight. Before Holmes even throws a punch, we hear his inner monologue of how he plans to best his much stronger opponent. We see a slow-motion enactment of what the voiceover says: Holmes distracts the strong man by throwing a handkerchief in his line of sight; then, with clever precision calculated with the help of mathematics, Holmes figures out exactly where and how to land the blows to disable his opponent. After the slow-motion version, we see the real-time version play out. After this, you will have little doubt as to why this part of Holmes’ character is being showcased.

There’s also a few quick glimpes of more clever calculations and action snippets, including some with Irene Adler who proves she can hold her own in a fight, both physically and intellectually, as she leaves Holmes naked and handcuffed to the bed as she walks off with the item she came for.

To showcase the chemistry between Downey and Law, there’s a few scenes of Holmes and Watson bickering like two old pals who’ve been through a lot together, yet can still be annoyed by one another’s daily habits.

The footage also shows the supernatural aspect of the film, which is part of the case that Holmes and Watson have taken on.


Photos by Dave3.


  1. I love the trailer for the film.
    It looks like a really good time.

    Comment by Jerry — August 2, 2009 @ 8:22 pm

  2. The supernatural aspect of Sherlock Holmes makes me think of The Ninth Gate. Either way, I’m psyched to see the flick.

    Comment by Dan Cosgrove — August 10, 2009 @ 10:24 pm

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