Robert Downey Jr. Talks Sherlock Holmes PG-13 Rating & Sequel

Published 6 years ago by

sherlock holmes header Robert Downey Jr. Talks Sherlock Holmes PG 13 Rating & Sequel

We haven’t even had a first teaser trailer for Guy Ritchie’s upcoming take on Sherlock Holmes (although some lucky folk got a look at ShoWest recently), and yet we already have the star, Robert Downey Jr., talking about a sequel.

This was talked about during an interview with MTV, promoting his upcoming sure-to-be-Oscar-nominated film, The Soloist. The way he referred to  the possibility of a sequel, in his trademark witty, off-handed way of speaking, maybe it was just him thinking wishfully (he has said in a few interviews how much fun it was making the movie). Or maybe not?

In a short and sweet sentence, Downey said:

“I feel like there’s going to be a ‘Sherlock Holmes 2′.”

I know it ain’t much, but it at least hints at the potential for more movies. I could actually see a long-running franchise becoming of it. Permitting the film does well at the box office, that is…

When talking about the age-rating of the film and whether or not it’s strictly for mature audiences, Downey gives a little bit more:

“I actually petitioned the court and said, ‘This is a PG-13 movie. [referring to the character's opium addiction] Let’s just refer to these peripherally. So at one point, Watson says, ‘What are you doing, that’s for eye surgery!’”

He finished on joking about Tony Stark and Sherlock Holmes being in the same movie:

“A time travel thing,” Downey offers, “It’s a great idea. I’ll cross-pollinate my own double-franchise… That’s pathetic. The fact that I even thought of that is pathetic.”

Downey Jr. is on an absolute roll right now, and Sherlock Holmes is just another character to add to is impressive resume (presuming he does a good job, but is there anyone in any doubt whatsoever that he won’t?).

Although it would be awesome to see an R-rated Sherlock Holmes movie, with some seriously violent scenes of the fighting we know is going to be included in this telling of the character, but I can $ee why they’d want it to have the lower age rating.

A PG-13 Sherlock Holmes is not only going to be attractive to those not old enough for R-rated movies, Downey is saying it’s going to have a lighter, more family-friendly tone that allows, well, whole families to go in and enjoy it.

Besides, does it really matter that much if a movie is rated R or PG-13 anymore? I mean, if it’s a hardcore horror movie or balls-to-the-wall action flick, then sure, you’d be a bit annoyed if they edited it to suit the PG-13 rating. But with a film like Sherlock Holmes, I doubt the promised fight scenes absolutely need to be ultra-violent with arms getting broken in half and heads getting split open (a not-so-subtle hint at Watchmen, there…).

I have Sherlock Holmes firmly on my Top 10 Most Anticipated of 2009 list, and I think a trailer (which should be not too far I way, I would think) will only get me even more excited.

So are you okay with the film most likely being a PG-13? And what do you make of Downey Jr talking about a sequel at this relatively early stage?

Sherlock Holmes is slated for release on Christmas Day this year.

Source: MTV Movies Blog

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  1. I am very happy that it might be pg-13. I would love to take my family to see an adventure movie for christmas that wasn’t disgusting or violent. Robert Downey Jr. is truly a fantastic actor – one of the greatest and a truly beautiful person. I hope that this movie is great and that it is fantastic. Actually, I think of the Indiana Jones Movies when I hear about this Roberts’ Sherlock Holmes. The humor is probably the same. (I do not think of Pirates of the Carribean – I can’t envision a drunk Sherlock Holmes running around looking stupid, not making any sense – Disney used a totally different type of humor all together.) I am truly excited about this and I can’t wait until it comes out!

  2. I couldn’t agree more. This is also one of my family’s most anticipated films of the year, and you are right: has Robert Downey Jr ever failed to impress? No! I have seen almost all of his films, and there are some obscure ones for sure, but he is captivating and brilliant in every single one. I couldn’t be happier for his success these days and hope that Sherlock spawns another great Downey franchise! Enjoy, Robert. You deserve it!

  3. All this hype for Downey as Sherlock, I feel like I’m the only one who read the stories.

    RDJ’s characters are almost always near exact-same. To his quick dialogue delivery and emotional expressions, he usually just plays himself ( I imagine, I don’t know him ). He’s become like Vince Vaughn not too long ago, and I hope his popularity dies out just as quickly ( but I doubt it ).

    I personally think the movie will do fantastic, but it won’t be loyal to the character on any level.

  4. Reverend, everyone has a right to their opinion, and you are right: Robert’s quick delivery has become his calling card, and he does like to inject a little of his personality into his roles, but as far as always being the same, I think you need to see his Oscar-nominated Chaplin, Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers, One Night Stand, Less Than Zero, and so many of his other films… Even Tropic Thunder–his Kirk Lazarus/Lincoln Osiris is just incredible–playing two radically different characters at the same time! The Academy obviously agreed. I also have read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Holmes’ four books and many of his short stories, and I believe Robert’s take will be right on as far as the books are concerned. I figure he’ll just be shaking a little of the dust off of the filmed versions we’ve seen so far… just a bit edgier, a bit sexier maybe, for today’s public. Robert’s not going anywhere anytime soon except up. He’s been around for 25 years doing superlative work, so let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and wait and see.

  5. I disagree 100% with you, Reverand. Yes, granted, Downey always does that quick wit thing but the characters he has played have all been VERY different from one another, and the emotion he’s able to bring to his roles (like ANY great actor) is fantastic.

    Adding to the list of movies you should maybe look at, that Debra above mentioned – A Scanner Darkly and Fur (was I the ONLY one who really liked the latter?:P).

  6. So you both agree that the( as you put, “always does that quick wit thing” and “Robert’s quick delivery has become his calling card” ) wit will obviously be apparent in this film?

    I never said he hadn’t done decent films, but how can you say he’s right for Sherlock Holmes? How versed are you in the Holmes’ mythology?

  7. I must jump in here and add my opinion. Reverend .. I must disagree with you too. Downey’s sense of perfection and reality in each performance is impeccable. I have never seen a poor performance, and I have seen nearly every film he has made, … he is always “right” for his character because he makes it a point to “become” his character. He is one of the most versatile actors of our time …. for one example, look at the roles as a reporter, totally different in each role in “Natural Born Killers”, “Zodiak” and “Good Night, and Good Luck”. Even his appearance is totally different in each film he does.

    Second point ….. he didn’t write the adaptation of SH but is performing it as written. He also undoubtedly has contributed much to the mechanics and style, he has the innate talent to take any role to a higher level. He is very intelligent, has an amazing quick humor and tops it off with that sweet, boyish charm. Every time I see a movie that I really love, I think … “it was great… but Downey could have done it better.

    And to Ross Miller…. Yes, “Fur” is one of my very favorite Downey films … so sensual and expressive with just using his wonderful eyes and voice until the near the end, and only then do see his facial expressions. I loved his ability to communicate the intense emotions with just his eyes, intense joy, mischievous, deep sadness… he is truly an amazing actor.

    I am so looking forward to SH … I’m o.k. with a PG-13 rating. I just think it will be very exciting movie for everyone. And I hope sequels will be forthcoming.

  8. @Joyce,

    Oh heck yeah! How could I forget his performances in Zodiac and Good Night and Good Luck?! Haha, thanks for reminding me – those are two movies I have been meaning to rewatch.

    I totally agree with you about his performance in Fur – a lot of people made fun of that movie because the way he looked was a bit too much like Chewbacca… their words, not mine. It is actually one of THE performances of his to look at to see just how good of an actor he is – most of the movie you only can see his eyes (sometimes not even those) and yet he’s more compelling and interesting than a lot of run-of-the-mill performances we see.

    And he actually took the character of Tony Stark and made it not just “playing the hero” but turned into a great performance, period. Which is rare in the type of movie that Iron Man is – most other actors wouldn’t have went to the trouble because they’d think the action and all the superhero elements would “save the day,” no pun intended, but Downey made it flat-out great, superhero/action movie or not.

  9. Ross, if you knew how many times I have seen FUR you would die. I absolutely adore it. Besides Robert’s brilliant, seductive portrayal of Lionel, Nicole was totally redeemed in my eyes. Let me know what other RDJ small art-house films you’ve enjoyed. How about The Singing Detective or Two Girls and a Guy. WOW! I guess I just didn’t want to get too obscure for Reverend if this is his first foray into Downey film history.

    Reverend, I guess we would need to start our own thread in order to talk about all the different character aspects of Holmes that Robert does or does not have. I’m no Conan Doyle expert, but I have done some research and I really enjoyed reading and rereading his stories when I was growing up. As far as I can see from various character descriptions I’ve read is the only thing he is NOT is really tall. But at 5’9″ and with lifts he hits six feet for the film. If that’s his only deficit I won’t complain! I’d say his lightning quick wit, his piercing dark eyes, powerful wiry frame and his brilliant mind will more than make up for his lack of height. I guess mythology is the key word here. It is fiction, and this particular film version seems to base itself on a story written by Lionel Wigram, who is a huge Conan Doyle fan himself. So I guess it will be his take on Holmes we will really be seeing after all this discussion. Still, it should be an interesting ride.

  10. Joyce & Ross, how great to find more folks that just loved FUR. Maybe now Robert’s career is so hot people who weren’t as familiar with his talent will see some of his smaller movies on DVD and just be blown away as we long-time Downey fans always have been. Joyce, since you mentioned Robert doing such a great job as a journalist on several films you must be really excited about “The Soloist” coming out in a couple of weeks. I’m a professional classical musician and the whole story just thrills me. I can’t wait! By the way, have either of you two heard Robert’s CD, “The Futurist”? Amazing… Besides being one of our finest actors he’s a talented composer and pianist with a beautiful, smoky, jazzy style and a wicked cool voice. Is there anything the man can’t do?

  11. There have never been any movies made exactly on the characters in Conan Doyles’ books. I own all of the books, have studied them and have taught them to my students in school. Even Basil Rathbones’ Holmes was no where close to the characters in the books. Holmes never wore a Deerstalker hat, the type of pipe he smoked is not described,and he never said “Elementary My Dear Watson”. Holmes wasn’t perfect, when not on a case he did get depressed and not tend to his appearance. He used opium ( in one book he is going through withdraws and tells Watson to hurry and get his needles) that’s never been in any movies. Holmes was also a master at Baritsu and stick -fighting (also not in any movies). There are also alot of other differences between characters in the books and movies made. Robert Downey Jrs’ movie does explore some of these aspects. NO MOVIE CHARACTERS TO DATE HAVE HAD ALL OF CONAN DOYLES’ HOLMES traits. I believe Reverend may actually be stereotyping from the older movies, not exactly the books themselves. Most people do. However, Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce were no where near the truth either. Look at how they portrayed poor Watson all these years. Robert Downey Jr is a fabulous actor and I feel he will do Holmes justice. Just remember no actor has ever portrayed the actual Holmes from the book. Robert will do fine. Also, as a trivia question – Which of Conan Doyles’ Sherlock Holmes books did he actually not solve or get a resolution to? This book was also made into a movie starring Basil Rathbone as Holmes(Um? How can you make a movie from an unsolved book?) The name of the book is The Hound of the Baskervilles! Literary Scholars have proven this to be unsolved – I guess Basil Rathbones’ Holmes believed differently.

  12. Oh I have also seen Fur, based on the life of Diane Arbus. It is a fantastic movie. Robert Downey Jr. did a wonderful job as Lionel. Very few actors could act with only their eyes and voice. Joyce, I loved your explanation of Roberts’ acting and about the movie itself. Thankyou.

  13. 2004′s Dodgeball featured opium smoking and that was PG-13. Don’t see why they can’t allow it for a character as legendary as Sherlock Holmes.

    I very much agree with Ross Miller, this movie won’t suffer from PG-13.

  14. Michele, Sherlock Holmes does not use opium in the original stories–he uses cocaine and morphine!

  15. Wow, lots of love for FUR here–seriously, for years, I thought I was the only person on the planet who’d ever seen it.

    I agree with pretty much everything that’s been said about RDJ and the way he transforms himself from role to role, and that’s not just something he’s developed in recent years. Two of my favorite roles of his, that almost NOBODY mentions, are Ralph Carr in the movie 1969 (where he plays a stoner college sophomore alongside Kiefer Sutherland as his childhood best friend and college roomie, two would-be hippies faced with a loss in Vietnam that hits way too close to home in the summer of 1969) and Lord Robert Merivel in RESTORATION (where he plays a young doctor who once lived a life of luxury at court in service to King Charles II, only to be caught up in palace intrigue and banished from the court, where he discovers the true meaning of service as the Great Plague reaches England). Downey couldn’t be more different in the two roles–smart-mouthed druggie teen with a homebody streak vs. hedonistic British fop stripped of all prestige and humiliatingly forced to accept a favor from a friend serving as a doctor at an asylum in order to survive–but he’s totally believable in both parts, and even Reverend would be hard-pressed to say he’s playing himself in either part (even with Ralph’s rampant drug abuse portrayed in 1969).

    And, as CHAPLIN demonstrated and RESTORATION reaffirmed, Downey has an outstanding British accent and should do just fine as Sherlock in at least that regard.

    And as for THE SOLOIST, I’m still mad that Paramount chose to shove it into 2009 instead of releasing it in 2008, because every advance review when it was originally slated for November 2008 had it as a sure-fire Oscar nominee for Best Picture and at Best Actor for at least one of its leads. ZODIAC suffered the same fate, getting pushed back from a 2006 release to spring 2007, and that killed any Oscar chances the movie had (not that it deserved a BP nod or anything, but RDJ definitely deserved a BSA nod and he got screwed royally). I’ll never completely understand studio politics.

  16. Thankyou Jen, you are right. See teachers don’t know everything. Thankyou so much for letting me know. I appreciate it.

  17. I have to agree that Downey Jr. was great in a Scanner Darkly for the role he played. What is this Fur everyone speaks of, it sounds borderline “adultish”. Im not well versed in the world of Sherlock Homes so I may catch flack which is fine, but I do remember seeing an old Sherlock Holmes film in black and white, sorry don’t remember the name, and I do remember young Sherlock Holmes which i though was good, so if this film will be anything like it, then i will pay my $6 to see it.

  18. @ Ross Miller

    Thanks. I will take a look at the link.

  19. Hey Ross! I was just looking through some old threads I had saved and found this one. I was wondering if you ever got to see Chaplin? And what did you think of The Soloist? Robert just blew me away (as always). I was just thinking all the folks that commented on this article that are real RDJ fans should get together over lunch and just go crazy reviewing all his marvelous work, etc. Wouldn’t that be fun? Heaven!

    (Hope you get an e-mail on this comment since it’s “long” in the past!)

  20. I was checking over some old threads I’d saved, and ran across this one.


    Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang was absolutely hilarious, and it’s one of my favorite movies of the past five years. Why this film didn’t get the wide release it deserved is a mystery. RDJ and Val Kilmer were in top comedic form, and I’d love to see them in another movie.

    @Debra M de Rodriguez…

    I’m so thrilled that someone else loves Robert’s CD, “The Futurist”. It’s the most played CD I have. Love that smoky, soulful, passionate voice of his.

  21. Many people are confused as to what this movie is about. The way Robert Downey JR. portrays his character is phenomenal. Yes, the story line was a little unclear, but a brief summary of it would be, a case of fantasy vs logic. This movie was not overdone with action or comedy. This was a true crowd pleaser. I personally give it 4 1/2 stars