There’s a story up today about Russell Crowe, 44, thinking about accepting a second-banana role as Dr. Watson in Guy Ritchie‘s Sherlock Holmes, subordinate to star Robert Downey, Jr. If true, it simply means that Crowe has moved into that 40-plus phase in which a top-dog actor figures (a) “if I like the part, I like the part” and (b) “I don’t have to be the big star every time out.”
Jack Nicholson went through the same thing in the early ’80s (when he was also in his mid 40s) when he took supporting roles in Reds and Terms of Endearment.
A few minutes ago I mistyped the title of the Ritchie film as Sherlock Homie — and the instant I did that it hit me that this would be a much better vehicle for Richie and Warner Bros. than a Baker Street period piece with the hat and the pipe. We all know Ritchie isn’t going to respect the trappings of the original Arthur Conan Doyle character, so why even go there? But a brilliant modern-day London detective with perhaps an old-fashioned sense of reserve and decorum going up against the malignant criminal animals who’ve appeared in previous Ritchie films? That I would pay to see! Especially with Downey.
I’m not talking about a comedy or satire but a simple conceptual updating. Today’s under-25 mongrel moviegoing culture doesn’t want to know from 19th Century London. They don’t want to know about anything except eating popcorn, copping feels and scratching their balls during the trailers.
Making Sherlock Homie would also get Warner Bros. out of the duelling Sherlock Holmes movie situation it now finds itself in with Columbia, producer Judd Apatow, Sasha Baron Cohen and Will Ferrell.
I wrote Daily Mail columnst Baz Bamigboye whether he’s heard about the Russell Crowe casting, and he replied as follows: “I have no clue. If I have any energy left I might pop into Guy Ritchie’s film party later tonight and ask him.”