Do you think of Sherlock Holmes as being more like Sacha Baron Cohen or Robert Downey Jr? Viewers may get to decide in the years to come.
Just days after Cohen and Will Ferrell were linked to a Judd Apatow comedy about the Arthur Conan Doyle gumshoe, Downey has committed to the more dramatic take on Sherlock Holmes set to be directed by Guy Ritchie.
Since Ritchie just turned in a polish on Anthony Peckham's script, the Warner Brothers-based "Sherlock Holmes" could begin production as early as October, which would make it Downey's next film, according to the industry trades.
The Apatow-produced film, set up at Columbia, has also been fast-tracked, which means the "Sherlock Holmes" race is on.
It should be easy enough to tell the two Holmes vehicles apart.
Ritchie and Peckham's script is based on Lionel Wigram's upcoming comic book, which draws inspiration from Doyle's character, but emphasizes the action-oriented side of Holmes' personality, particularly his vaunted skills as a boxer and a swordfighter. While Ferrell will play the Watson to Cohen's Holmes, Downey's trusty sidekick has yet to be cast.
Doyle introduced the Victorian sleuth in the story "A Study in Scarlet." The author featured the character in four novels and 56 short stories. In subsequent movies and TV offerings, Holmes has been played by more than a dozen actors, including Peter Cushing, Rupert Everett, Ronald Howard, Jeremy Brett, Christopher Lee, Robert Stephens and, perhaps most iconically, Basil Rathbone.
After proving his box office and superhero bona fides in this summer's smash "Iron Man," Downey will be seen in the comedy "Tropic Thunder" and then opposite Jamie Foxx in the winter Oscar hopeful "The Soloist."
Downey was recently linked to a starring role in the franchise pic "Cowboys & Aliens," but since that high concept vehicle has already been in development for a decade, it may have to wait.