The world’s greatest detective, Sherlock Holmes is probably more popular now than he has been since his adventures were first published in 1887. The pipe-smoking investigator created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle continues to captivate audiences in the 21st century, thanks to the wild popularity of the BBC series Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as a modern-day incarnation of Holmes; hit CBS show Elementary, which transplants Holmes to America (and puts a spin on Watson by making her an Asian woman played by Lucy Liu), and a pair of slick, action-oriented blockbusters directed by Guy Ritchie and starring Robert Downey Jr.as the super sleuth of 221B Baker Street.
Now venerable British thespian and geek culture icon Sir Ian McKellen is putting on the proverbial deerstalker cap and houndstooth coat to portray an older Sherlock Holmes in this new UK trailer for Mr. Holmes.
Set in 1947, the film tells the story of an elderly, long-retired Sherlock who is coping with dementia and trying desperately to recount the details of his final, unsolved case to the burgeoning detective son of his housekeeper. Rife with intense drama and loaded with lush visuals of the English countryside, the trailer flashes back and forth between McKellen’s Holmes in his 60s, as a young man played by Atonement star Patrick Kennedy approaches him with one final case about some disturbing changes in his wife’s behavior, and his 90s as he struggles to piece together what happened before succumbing to twilight.
Speaking of Twilight, Mr. Holmes is directed by Bill Condon, who was behind the lens for the two-part finale of the Twilight saga Breaking Dawn. In keeping with the literary theme, the film’s screenplay by Jeffrey Hatcher is adapted from the novel “A Slight Trick Of The Mind” by Mitch Cullin, which recounts Holmes’ final years living with his housekeeper Ms. Munro and her young son in the Sussex countryside – where he keeps bees and documents the memories of his most famous cases (many of which he says Watson got wrong or wildly embellished).
While the subject matter in Mr. Holmes is certainly fascinating enough, Ian McKellen starring as an older version of the world’s greatest detective has to feel like absolute dream casting for many fans. The 76-year-old actor has charmed audiences for decades, due to a winning combination of gentile humor and powerful dramatic performances.
Of course, he thrilled the geek community and sealed his position as a bonafide pop-culture legend with his roles as Magneto in the X-Men film franchise, and as Gandalf in Peter jackson’s Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit epics. Playing another classic character like an aging Sherlock Holmes – trying to solve one last case – seems like an exciting and endlessly intriguing next step for McKellen.
Mr. Holmes also stars Colin Starkey as Watson, Laura Linney as Ms. Munro. It will be in theaters on July 17, 2015.