By now the word has spread far and wide: Ian McKellen will be the next big-screen Sherlock Holmes.
Gandalf, Magneto, Gods and Monsters guy. A fabulous actor who will bring nothing but greatness to the part. And yet, I am not singing with joy. Why?
It's a screen adaptation of A Slight Trick of the Mind by Mitch Cullin.
My heart sank when I saw that. Don't get me wrong -- good writer, good book, but sooooo not my Sherlock Holmes. To quote directly from the book's dustjacket: "Holmes is transformed from the aloof mythic figure into an ordinary man, confronting and acquiescing to emotions he has resisted his entire life . . . . It is a profound meditation on the faultiness of memory and how, as we grow older, the way we see the world is inevitably altered." (Cullin was all of 37 when the book came out.)
Being a big fan of mythic Holmes, ordinary man Holmes with decaying mental prowess investigating a mystery tied to one of the saddest events of the last century, well, not the big happy time when I read that book. Not a fan of ordinary man Holmes. Or sadness in general.
If my theory of an impaired Holmes being the one the general public prefers proves out, this should be a popular movie. And that might not entirely be a bad thing, as we seem to be working toward having a Sherlock Holmes for every demographic.
We have action movie fan Sherlock Holmes.
We have geek girl (and boy) Sherlock Holmes.
We have mainstream America Sherlock Holmes.
And now, it looks like we could have Oscar-nominee audience Sherlock Holmes.
It may be hard to imagine more tears flowing over Sherlock than when he went off that building last year, but this could be the movie that draws them out. And it also signals something more.
Where there's one Sherlock Holmes movie in the works, you know there are others yet to come. Unlike Superman or James Bond, he isn't held in servitude to a single studio or creator, and now that he can be any age in any time period, well, there's room to play. It could be that our golden age of Sherlock Holmes has some good wind left in its sails.