EXCLUSIVE: With M. Night Shyamalan's "Airbender" and Michel Gondry's "The Green Hornet" each now getting a type of conversion treatment -- and seemingly every other upcoming film engaged in a 3-D discussion of some kind -- the English detectives may not be far behind.
We caught up with Kieran and Michele Mulroney, the writers on the Holmes sequel as well as the writer-directors on new indie release "Paper Man," and the pair told us that there have been a number of serious conversations at Warner Bros. about conceiving and producing the new "Holmes" in 3-D. The discussions are still underway, but both writers, at least, were open to it.
Although they each worry what would happen if every film Hollywood churns out is turned into a z-axis spectacle, they think it makes sense here. "Sherlock would be great in 3-D," Kieran says. Speaking generally of the 3-D craze, he added that "the wind keeps moving in that direction."
It's hard to know how some of the roundhouse kicks, sword play and, er, puzzle-solving will play in the full relief of 3-D, but it may not be that long before we find out. The pair is about to turn in a draft of the Holmes script to Warner Bros., and neither producers nor the studio want to hunker down in the development issues that can tie up some sequels for years. "They're anxious to get moving," Kieran says.Some key questions on the new picture of course remain, namely, the role of nemesis Moriarty and whether it will indeed be Brad Pitt playing him, as well as what part of the Holmes canon the film will use as source material (the first movie, which came from such stalwarts as "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" writer Simon Kinberg and up-and-comer Anthony Peckham, took the characters and just a few pages from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and spun an entirely new tale out of it).
The first film did provoke some Holmesians by giving both Holmes and Watson action-hero qualities. But the Mulroneys say that this was true to Conan Doyle's intent -- and that the new movie will continue in that direction. "From all the stories, he was a brawler and he had martial arts training. He didn't smoke a curvy pipe," Kieran says.
As "Sherlock" moves forward, the Mulroneys aren't sitting on their laurels. The couple's "Paper Man," an indie drama starring Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Daniels that opened the Los Angeles Film Festival last year, comes out in limited release this weekend.
The movie centers on an unusual relationship, a precocious teenager and an emotionally stunted middle-aged man (who also sees and talks to a superhero imaginary friend, played by Reynolds) as the pair connect over a few unexpectedly eventful days at Daniels' country home. A Michele puts it, "she's wise beyond her years and he's emotionally retarded, and the movie is about what happens when you meet in the middle."
As for the choice of the Reynolds character as a superhero-imaginary friend, Kieran says that it was made with a particular aim in mind. "We wanted to explore loneliness but we didn't want it to be a dreary, drab movie about a guy feeling sorry for himself. So we gave him a lively foil so you're not stuck in isolation with this guy." Sometimes liveliness can come from 3-D. And sometimes it can come the old-fashioned way: from a strong character.
-- Steven Zeitchik
Photo: Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law in 'Sherlock Holmes.' Credit: Warner Bros.