Will Ferrell and John C Reilly are teaming up again for a comedic take on the classic Sherlock Holmes stories titled simply Holmes And Watson. Ferrell will star as author Arthur Conan Doyle’s famed sleuth while Reilly will be playing Holmes’ erstwhile companion Dr. John Watson.
This is a project that has actually been languishing in development hell for some time. It was originally developed back in 2008 by writer Etan Cohen, but was put on the backburner in the wake of the Guy Ritchie-directed, Robert Downey Jr.-starring Sherlock Holmes film from 2009. At the time, Sacha Baron Cohen was attached to play Watson.
Deadline is reporting that the project is on an accelerated pace to start shooting as early as November. Given that there has been some talk that a third Sherlock Holmes film featuring Downey and co-star Jude Law could be starting production around that same time frame, it appears as if producers aren’t that concerned with their being a competing project any more. I trust that the ticket-buying public should be able to distinguish between the two films.
Cohen, who is perhaps best known for writing Ben Stiller’s Tropic Thunder (which coincidentally co-starred Downey Jr.) is now set to direct the film as well. His directorial debut was last year’s Get Hard, which starred Ferrell. Ferrell and Reilly have appeared together in Talladega Nights and Step Brothers.
This wouldn’t be the first time that Holmes was treated comedically. Billy Wilder’s The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, with Robert Stephens and Colin Blakely as Holmes and Watson, poked fun at the differences between the Victorian public’s view of the character and what he was like behind the closed doors of 221B Baker Street. Holmes takes a subordinate role in Gene Wilder’s 1975 comedy The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother, with Wilder playing the detective’s younger and smarter sibling who takes on a case that has stumped Sherlock. In 1988, Without A Clue featured Michael Caine as a dimwitted Sherlock with Ben Kingsley as the secret brains behind the duo.