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SHERLOCK HOLMES: A GAME OF SHADOWS

About The Production
"Case reopened…”

Those two tantalizing words at the close of 2009's "Sherlock Holmes” promised audiences that more adventures lie ahead. Now "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” fulfills that promise, bringing the legendary detective back to the big screen in a new action-packed mystery that reunites the stars and filmmakers behind that worldwide hit.

Director Guy Ritchie says, "I was very keen to return to Sherlock Holmes' world because the experience of making the first movie was so positive, both personally and creatively. There were a myriad of story possibilities in revisiting this character because he has so many interesting facets. His idiosyncrasies almost transcend description, so I wanted the opportunity to explore that more, while giving audiences something they hadn't seen.”

Ritchie's "Sherlock Holmes” had redefined Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's iconic character for a new generation, with Robert Downey Jr. creating his own unique incarnation of the role, alongside Jude Law as Holmes' friend, partner, and occasional foil, Dr. John Watson.

Producer Joel Silver states, "There was a kind of magic that came out of the dynamic between Robert and Jude as Holmes and Watson, and this film gave us a chance to take that up a notch. In the first movie, we had to give audiences the time to get to know the foibles of the characters. Coming into this movie, we had already laid the foundation, so we could launch right into the action, which is bigger, funnier and more explosive in every sense of the word.”

"First and foremost,” Robert Downey Jr. adds, "we wanted to maintain the visceral tone that was part of Guy's original vision, while presenting Holmes with an even more difficult case, one that would challenge his considerable skills.”

That challenge arises out of the threat from a redoubtable adversary, one whose name is familiar to anyone with even a passing knowledge of the Sherlock Holmes canon: Professor James Moriarty.

"We needed a mystery that raises the bar for Holmes, so we pitted him against his most famous foe,” notes producer Susan Downey. "At the end of the last film, Sherlock fleetingly learned of Moriarty from Irene Adler. In the time elapsed, he has become increasingly obsessed with what Moriarty is up to and has only begun to realize the breadth of his plan.”

Producer Lionel Wigram comments, "Moriarty is the greatest criminal mastermind in the world. He is a genius—albeit a mad genius—but because he is so brilliant, Holmes may have met his match.”

Ritchie emphasizes, "Because they are intellectual equals to a degree, there is the sense that this is a game that is stimulating to them both. In this way, they actually need each other, and that idea is authentic to the books. Holmes needs Moriarty as much as Moriarty needs Holmes.”

To write the screenplay, the producers enlisted husband-and-wife writing team Kieran and Michele Mulroney, with the latter being exceptionally well-versed in the source material. She offers, "Growing up in England, I remember reading the books and being awed by the weird and wonderful way Holmes' mind worked. It was a joy to revisit the original stories and still marvel at the inventiveness and intricacies of Arthur Conan Doyle's mysteries.”

In fact, true Sherlock Holmes enthusiasts will notice that the filmmakers paid homage to the author by incorporating some of Conan Doyle's language in the dialogue.

The screenwriters also felt a responsibility to do justice to the story's villain, as well as its heroes. "We knew that whatever dire scheme Moriarty had up his sleeve, it had to feel insurmountable,” Kieran Mulroney confirms. "The stakes needed to be proportionate to the professor's appetite for evil, which is obviously huge. Our goal was to push Holmes and Watson to their limits in pursuit of this man…to test their relationship even more than in the last film.”

"I was thrilled that the connection between Holmes and Watson, as we had developed it, was still very much the heart and soul of the story,” says Jude Law, who returns in the role of Watson.

Producer Dan Lin, who had worked with the Mulroneys before, observes, "Kieran and Michele's script explores the evolution of Holmes and Watson's relationship after the first movie—with Sherlock ready for the next case, and Watson engaged to Mary and planning to settle down and step away from the life of a private detective. What does this mean for their future? And how will the world survive without them, especially with Sherlock's most formidable nemesis, Professor Moriarty, on the loose?”

Apart from Moriarty, "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” introduces contemporary film audiences to another character well known to readers of the original stories—Sherlock's older and far more urbane brother, Mycroft Holmes, played by Stephen Fry. Rachel McAdams' Irene Adler is also back to tempt and torment Sherlock, while a new woman has entered the fray: a Gypsy called Sim, played by Swedish actress Noomi Rapace, who could provide the link to the final piece of the puzzle, completing the picture of Moriarty's sinister plot.

As the vastness of Moriarty's conspiracy unfolds, it broadens the scope of the action beyond the confines of London, to France, Germany and on to Switzerland. Ritchie affirms, "Our narrative enabled us to spread our wings across Europe to expand the topography and tapestry of the story.”

Wigram says, "It also allowed us to add a different flavor to the mix that dovetails nicely into what was happening at the end of the 19th century, politically, economically and especially in terms of industry. It was the beginning of the modern age, where we see the seeds of the military-industrial complex, with bigger and more powerful weapons and more efficient warfare.”

With a changing world on the brink, there is danger afoot. For someone who knows how to stir the pot, however, there is also tremendous opportunity to grasp untold wealth and power. Only Sherlock Holmes has deduced that Professor James Moriarty is the one stoking the fire…and it is only a matter of time before everything boils over.

"It is our last adventure, Watson. I intend to make the most of it.”

The titular character created by Robert Downey Jr. in "Sherlock Holmes” had defied convention. Gone were the once-emblematic deerstalker hat, curved pipe and posh British decorum, replaced by a streetwise, bare-knuckled brawler, whose physical prowess was equal to his superlative mind and preternatural powers of perception.

Ritchie says, "One of the most important things about the first movie was to get away from the somewhat dustier, if you will, impression of the character that I think many people were expecting. In keeping with Conan Doyle's original creation, we wanted to access the physicality of Holmes while conveying his intelligence and wit, and Robert brought all that and more to the equation. There were a lot of little nuances going on that added so much to the role. I find it impossible now to imagine anyone else as Sherlock Holmes.”

Downey reciprocates, "I love working with Guy; it's such a collaborative process and he has a terrific sense of humor that really comes into play here. On this film, there was an element of rediscovering Sherlock Holmes all over again. We wanted to maintain that sense of fun but with even more gravitas.”

"Robert knew how to get inside Sherlock Holmes' head—to make him funny and eccentric and yet absolutely believable as the most renowned detective of all time. It was fantastic to watch,” Silver remarks.

In the time that has elapsed since the end o

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