Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s literary detective Sherlock Holmes has been portrayed in countless television and film adaptations. Most recently audiences have been treated to portrayals by Benedict Cumberpatch (BBC’s TV show Sherlock), Johnny Lee Miller (TV’s Elementary) and Robert Downey Jr. (Guy Ritchie films Sherlock Holmes and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows). And while his sharp mind and deductive reasoning are always a common factor, the various interpretations have also been unafraid to play up differing attributes of the famous sleuth. In keeping with that tradition, the newest Holmes adventure to grace the big screen will star Sir Ian McKellen (The Hobbit, X-Men) with a slightly unconventional twist on the character. Instead of showing the sleuth in the prime of his career, McKellen will play a retired Holmes living in Sussex village in 1947 with his housekeeper and her son, an amateur detective in his own right.
The film is based on the 2005 book A Slight Trick of the Mind by Mitch Cullin in which the 93 year old detective occupies himself with beekeeping, journaling, mentoring his houskeeper’s young son, and coming to grips with his own mortality. In the midst of all this, a case resurfaces from his past that could provide him with insight into his own life. The novel weaves multiple stories together, and has been praised for its graceful exploration of Holmes’ heart as well as his brilliant mind.
The film version will be directed by Bill Condon (in the news lately for his work on The Fifth Estate), who has worked with McKellen in the past on the 1998 film Gods and Monsters. The film received several Oscar nominations, with a win for Best Adapted Screenplay.
A Slight Trick of the Mind is expected to release in 2014.