Production Notes – “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows”

Warner Bros Pictures
Published: 2011

STUDIO SYNOPSIS: Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) has always been the smartest man in the room… until now. There is a new criminal mastermind at large—Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris)—and not only is he Holmes’ intellectual equal, but his capacity for evil, coupled with a complete lack of conscience, may actually give him an advantage over the renowned detective. When the Crown Prince of Austria is found dead, the evidence, as construed by Inspector Lestrade (Eddie Marsan), points to suicide. But Sherlock Holmes deduces that the prince has been the victim of murder—a murder that is only one piece of a larger and much more portentous puzzle, designed by Professor Moriarty. The cunning Moriarty is always one step ahead of Holmes as he spins a web of death and destruction—all part of a greater plan that, if he succeeds, will change the course of history.

Robert Downey Jr. reprises his role as the world’s most famous detective, Sherlock Holmes, and Jude Law returns as his friend and colleague, Dr. John Watson, in “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.”

Sherlock Holmes has always been the smartest man in the room…until now. There is a new criminal mastermind at large—Professor James Moriarty (Jared Harris)—and not only is he Holmes’ intellectual equal, but his capacity for evil, coupled with a complete lack of conscience, may give him an advantage over the renowned detective.

Around the globe, headlines break the news: a scandal takes down an Indian cotton tycoon; a Chinese opium trader dies of an apparent overdose; bombings in Strasbourg and Vienna; the death of an American steel magnate… No one sees the connective thread between these seemingly random events—no one, that is, except the great Sherlock Holmes, who has discerned a deliberate web of death and destruction. At its center sits a singularly sinister spider: Moriarty.

Holmes’ investigation into Moriarty’s plot becomes more dangerous as it leads him and Watson out of London to France, Germany and finally Switzerland. But the cunning Moriarty is always one step ahead, and moving perilously close to completing his ominous plan. If he succeeds, it will not only bring him immense wealth and power but alter the course of history.

Filmmaker Guy Ritchie returned to direct “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows,” the follow- up to the smash hit “Sherlock Holmes.” The sequel also reunited producers Joel Silver, Lionel Wigram, Susan Downey and Dan Lin. Bruce Berman and Steve Clark-Hall served as executive producers.

In her first English-speaking role, Swedish actress Noomi Rapace, who gained international attention in the Swedish film “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” plays a mysterious Gypsy named Madam Simza, called Sim, who becomes allied with Holmes and Watson in their quest to stop Moriarty. Jared Harris (TV’s “Mad Men,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”) is the notorious Professor Moriarty. Stephen Fry (“Alice in Wonderland,” “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”) plays Mycroft Holmes, Sherlock’s decidedly eccentric older brother.

Returning from the first film, the cast also includes Rachel McAdams as Irene Adler; Kelly Reilly as Watson’s new bride, Mary; Eddie Marsan as Inspector Lestrade; and Geraldine James as Holmes’s long-suffering landlady, Mrs. Hudson.

“Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” was written by Michele Mulroney & Kieran Mulroney. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson were created by the late Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and appear in stories and novels by him.

Ritchie once again collaborated with the behind-the-scenes team from the first movie, including director of photography Philippe Rousselot, production designer Sarah Greenwood, editor James Herbert, costume designer Jenny Beavan, and composer Hans Zimmer.

Warner Bros. Pictures presents, in association with Village Roadshow Pictures, a Silver Pictures Production, in association with Wigram Productions, a Guy Ritchie Film, “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.” The film will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, and in select territories by Village Roadshow Pictures.

This film has been rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and some drug material

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 of the first film, Holmes has been bent on a singular mission, triggered by the revelation that, while he had taken down the evil Lord Blackwood, he had somehow missed an even greater threat. Shrouded in secrecy, Professor Moriarty had been patiently lying in wait to capitalize on Blackwood’s handiwork.

Downey reveals, “Months later, we see the aftereffects of Holmes having been consumed with Moriarty, to the point that he’s clearly kind of ‘nutting up.’ He’s focused on him to the exclusion of everything else, including, quite possibly, his own sanity,” the actor smiles.

That is the state in which Dr. Watson discovers his old friend when he returns to Baker Street on the eve of his wedding to Mary. Jude Law notes, “Watson arrives looking forward to the stag party that his best man was supposed to arrange. Instead, he finds he has reason to be concerned with Holmes’ obsessive behavior regarding Professor Moriarty. I don’t think he doubts that Holmes is right, and there’s still a bit of the old soldier in Watson who feels a responsibility to see justice done. But he does suspect it will result in the dilemma he always faces: a secure life with his wife or the thrill of the chase. He undoubtedly has great times when he’s on a case with Holmes and wants to help his friend out of the scrapes he gets himself into, so it’s a constant struggle for the poor chap.”

Ritchie suggests, “We’d all love to have the genius of Sherlock Holmes, although we’re much more likely to empathize with Watson. Being a doctor, he is an intellectual in his own right, but to a degree, Watson is your every man who is enticed by a life of action and Holmes is his window of opportunity to that life. It makes for a perfect partnership, and that’s the engine that drives these stories.”

The connection between Holmes and Watson was reflected in the off-screen friendship between the two actors playing them. Downey attests, “I feel about Jude the way Sherlock feels about John: I love the guy like a brother. I couldn’t ask for a better partner.”

“Developing the interaction between Holmes and Watson was one of the most rewarding parts of the first film, and from the get-go, Robert and I slipped right back into it,” Law recalls. “We benefited this time from the fact that we really knew the characters, having laid the bedrock of their relationship in the first film, so we could trust our instincts and even push it a little further.”

Michele Mulroney says that the actors’ familiarity with their characters made their input vital. “Robert and Jude live and breathe these two characters and understand exactly what makes them tick. There’s no getting dialogue past them if they don’t think it’s spot on. It was invaluable having them as the gatekeepers of Holmes’ and Watson’s voices.”

“Robert and Jude are extremely talented actors who love what they do, and they are also good mates,” adds Ritchie. “Having those ingredients brought a great energy to the set and made all our jobs much easier.”

“This faceless man with whom you find yourself in business is no ordinary criminal. He’s the Napoleon of crime.”

As it turns out, Watson has no option whether or not to rejoin Holmes. His choice is taken away from him by Moriarty, who targets the good doctor and his beloved Mary as collateral damage in his battle with the detective.

Jared Harris takes on the role of the man he describes as “arguably the first uber-villain in modern literature, which was quite daunting. He has to operate on a level that justifies Sherlock Holmes’ high opinion of him in terms of the magnitude of the threat he represents. You have to believe he is as smart as Holmes—perhaps smarter—like a grandmaster in chess who is able to think several moves ahead of his opponent. But the fact is he’s a sick sociopath…which made him a lot of fun to play,” he laughs.

In casting one of the most malevolent characters ever imagined, the filmmakers had to consider the fact that the world perceived Moriarty as a brilliant but benign professor of mathematics, who was admired rather than feared. Ritchie explains, “We wanted to stick to the idea that Conan Doyle intended him to be the least likely villain you can imagine. It was the size of his ambitions that set him apart. Jared was the right man for the job.”

Wigram affirms, “Jared plays Moriarty with a wonderful combination of charm and menace. He can appear very demure and kind, but there’s also a mad glint in his eye, so he conveys the different sides of Moriarty: respected university professor and friend to the rich and powerful, and the diabolical mastermind of a massive criminal enterprise, who sees how industrialization is changing the landscape and is exploiting it to his own ends in a way no one else would fathom. That’s his genius.”

“Only Holmes comprehends the scale and complexity of Moriarty’s plans,” says Ritchie. “It’s up to him to impart that to Watson and, through him, the audience.”

Holmes himself might not have discerned Moriarty’s scheme until it was too late were it not for Irene Adler, who, it was revealed in “Sherlock Holmes,” has been in the professor’s employ. She divulged his identity to Sherlock, ironically warning the detective not to underestimate him even as she placed herself directly between these two powerful adversaries on a collision course.

Susan Downey comments, “Irene is the only woman that’s ever bested Holmes, the only one who gets under his skin. They have a very combustible relationship, of which Moriarty is well aware, and that proves dangerous to them both.”

Reprising her role as the calculating femme fatale, Rachel McAdams says, “Irene’s relationship with Sherlock can be quite playful—a cat and mouse game of who is going to admit their true feelings first—but there’s also drama and intrigue because you never know what she has up her sleeve. It was fun working with Guy and Robert to find just the right pitch of their love/hate relationship…like a well-choreographed dance.”

Acting as a courier for Moriarty, Irene inadvertently provides Sherlock with another clue: a letter to a mysterious Gypsy fortune teller named Simza, who becomes what Downey calls “the lynchpin to unraveling the case.”

The role of Sim marks the first English-speaking part for Noomi Rapace, who came to the filmmakers’ attention in the 2009 Swedish film “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.” Ritchie confirms, “We were all big fans of hers, and when we met with her, she was already full of ideas for the character. I loved working with Noomi because she’s ballsy and smart and totally committed—all qualities we were looking for in Sim.”

Rapace says that the nomadic lifestyle of a Gypsy and the attitudes of the time have combined to make Sim tough. “She’s forever on the move and wherever she goes, she’s not treated very well, so she’s had to learn to defend herself. Her people are used to surviving under extreme circumstances and living on the edge, usually in places where they’re not welcome. Sim has seen the darker side of humanity and, in that way, she has something in common with Holmes.”

The actress might also have something in common with her character. “My father was a Flamenco singer from Spain, and I was told he had Gypsy blood in him,” she offers. “I’m not sure if it’s really true or not, but I’ve always had an interest in Gypsy culture and playing Sim gave me a fantastic opportunity to delve into that—the way they live and love and their strong sense of family and loyalty. Guy gave me a lot of freedom to develop her character, which I appreciated.”

“Noomi was incredible…not only a wonderful actress but a lovely person,” Silver says. “She’s in most of the movie alongside Robert and Jude and really had to hold her own with them, and she was amazing.”

The cryptic letter that drew Sherlock Holmes to Sim was from her brother, Rene. Years earlier, Sim and Rene had joined a group of anarchists called the Lapin Vert. When the group became too extreme, the pair abandoned the cause, but for reasons unknown Rene made his way back and wound up as a pawn in Moriarty’s deadly game. Sim agrees to help Holmes and Watson if they will save her brother.

Holmes first seeks out Sim at a gentlemen’s club, where he has brought Watson and his own brother, Mycroft Holmes, under the pretense of throwing Watson’s stag party.

Mycroft Holmes, who holds an unspecified but apparently high-level post in the British government, is played by popular British actor and comedian Stephen Fry. He relates, “Sherlock Holmes was one of my first and most passionate attachments in literature. I joined the Sherlock Holmes Society of London and was, I believe, its youngest member at the time. When I got the call about Mycroft, I was thrilled; I couldn’t have jumped further, faster or higher.

“The marvelous thing about Sherlock Holmes,” Fry continues, “is he has particular qualities that endure as each generation rediscovers him. When I saw the first ‘Sherlock Holmes’ that Guy made with Robert and Jude, I thought, ‘This is the one for our time.’ It had a mixture of action and humor and everything that exemplifies the best incarnations of the character. It was a joy to work with them on this film. Guy is an amazing director—smart as a whip, constantly curious, knows what he wants, and just how to make the atmosphere on the set fun.”

“Stephen Fry is referred to in England as a national treasure, and if you spend a little time with him, you understand why,” Susan Downey states. “He is not only an extraordinary actor, he is also one of the brightest, most knowledgeable, and most articulate people I’ve ever met. He’s a walking encyclopedia. More often than not, if we had a question, be it about history or Holmes, we’d turn to Stephen because we could always count on his answers to be accurate.”

A true aficionado, Fry came to the role of Mycroft with an utter grasp of all his quirks. “I love the idea that Sherlock Holmes has a brother who is smarter than he, but is completely lazy and disinterested in people. Mycroft is a total misanthrope. He co-founded a club, called the Diogenes Club, where no talking is allowed. When we see him with Sherlock, they immediately fall into trying to outdo each other, and there is poor Watson stuck in the middle of these two super brains having a deduce-a-thon,” he laughs.

Dr. Watson’s new bride, Mary, is stunned and somewhat horrified to learn there is another Holmes when she is rather unceremoniously deposited into Mycroft’s care after Sherlock hijacks her honeymoon.

Reprising the role of Mary, now Mrs. Watson, is Kelly Reilly, who, Susan Downey calls “wildly talented.” She adds, “We were so pleased that we get to see more of Mary in this film in both action and comedy moments, which gave us an opportunity to showcase the different dimensions of Kelly as an actress and Mary as a character.” Of her character, Reilly remarks, “Mary knows John loves her, but she also knows he’s torn between a quiet life with her and a life of adventure with Sherlock Holmes. And I believe she enjoys his exploits more than she’s willing to admit.”

The main cast of “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” also includes Paul Anderson as Moriarty’s right-hand man, Colonel Sebastian Moran, reputed to be the best sharpshooter in Europe, and Thierry Neuvic as Claude Ravache, the leader of the Lapin Vert, who makes the mistake of allying himself with Moriarty, with tragic consequences.

“My dear fellow, if you could be bothered to see this through to the end, I shall never again ask you to assist me.”

Holmes has already been on Moriarty’s trail for some time when he is reunited with Dr. Watson. In celebration of his last night of bachelorhood, Watson arrives at 221B Baker Street, the exterior of which was constructed at Leavesden Studios. Watson is expecting the traditional stag party, but he should have known that tradition is not his friend’s strong suit. Instead the door opens upon a literal urban jungle—the living room afforested with plants and trees and inhabited by a menagerie of exotic animals.

The eruption of flora and fauna that has taken over the Baker Street apartment was created by production designer Sarah Greenwood and her team on a stage at Elstree Studios. She says, “The great thing was that we could put any variety of plant in there because Holmes has imported them from all over to test assorted poisons and medicinal formulas. Still, there was an aesthetic to it, although Holmes doesn’t do anything for aesthetic reasons; everything has to serve a purpose.”

The dense jungle was layered over the existing clutter of furniture, books, papers, experiments and other paraphernalia, to the point where “you wouldn’t have thought you could get another thing in there,” Greenwood attests. “We started to wonder how they were going to manage to get a camera in there to shoot, but somehow they did.”

Hidden amongst the foliage, Holmes is indiscernible, as he is suited head to toe in a camouflage of his own design. Costume designer Jenny Beavan notes, “Sherlock wears more disguises in this film, which was challenging but fun. Apart from that, we mainly stayed with the idea that Holmes’ wardrobe is a rather eclectic mix of things that don’t always fit perfectly. In contrast, Watson always dresses neatly, befitting a former military man. Even as a civilian, his taste echoes his old uniform.”

Holmes has also appropriated Watson’s old office, transforming the space into a convoluted, low- tech tracking system—the physical manifestation of his obsession with Moriarty—following the progress of Moriarty’s plot. Red strings crisscross from newspaper headlines to maps to other assorted clues, forming a complex web of conspiracy and murder…with every strand weaving back to the professor.

Leaving the apartment, Holmes and Watson travel in style, with Watson at the wheel of one of the first horseless carriages. Researched and designed by Greenwood, the automobile was built by the special effects team, led by Mark Holt.

Putting her stamp on another popular mode of transportation of the times, Greenwood designed an opulent Victorian-era train car, where the newly married Watsons planned to begin their honeymoon, unaware that their plans are about to be derailed.

Greenwood relates, “One of the things that we only touched on in the previous film and wanted to expand on was the burgeoning of industry, which was affecting every echelon of society. The entire world was on the cusp of huge change.”

Nearing the end of the 19th century, oil lamps were rapidly giving way to electric lights and the appearance of some of those early lighting fixtures was unexpectedly useful to cinematographer Philippe Rousselot. He explains, “They used to have these giant arc lights to illuminate the city and they actually resemble the big lights we use in cinema today. So we didn’t have to hide all of our lighting while still being historically accurate, which can be very efficient when you’re setting up a shot.”

As they did in “Sherlock Holmes,” Rousselot and Guy Ritchie utilized a high-speed digital camera called the Phantom, which enabled the director to change the pace of the action in varying ways. Ritchie used the Phantom to create what was dubbed “Holmes-o-vision,” revealing Holmes’ split-second mental calculations of what are about to be physical altercations.

Nevertheless, Ritchie clarifies, “I never want to repeat myself, so there’s a variation to the Holmes-o-vision in this film. This time things don’t necessarily play out exactly as Holmes envisions them, so he has to adjust his thinking.”

The director adds that they put a twist on the technique in the climactic confrontation between the film’s central protagonist and antagonist, mirroring Holmes’ strategy with Moriarty’s counterstrategy. Ritchie comments, “It gave us the perfect opportunity to convey that both Holmes and Moriarty are operating on the same intellectual plane. But he’s still a very physical Sherlock Holmes.”

Eric Oram, who has trained Robert Downey Jr. for years in the martial art of Wing Chun Kung Fu, again worked with the actor, as he did on “Sherlock Holmes,” to achieve his character’s intuitive fighting style.

Stunt coordinator Franklin Henson says, “Robert is always game to do his own stunts and he’s very good at it. It was also a great help having Eric because he knows the dynamic Robert is used to.”

Henson choreographed a more traditional pugilistic style for Moriarty in light of the fact that he had been a boxing champion at Cambridge. Jared Harris also did his own stunts for the fight that proves the professor is a worthy opponent for the detective, in brawn as well as brains. Ritchie affirms, “Moriarty has the appearance of an academic, but we know that looks can be deceiving.”

The fight scenes were not confined to the men, which is something Noomi Rapace welcomed. “Sim is a street fighter,” the actress asserts. “She can punch and kick and she’s very good with knives, but when she’s thrown into a situation, she’ll grab whatever is close at hand. She’s scrappy. I like that,” she smiles.

Sim shows her mettle in a thrilling action sequence that unfolds at the gentleman’s club, where Holmes’ ulterior motives have little—or actually nothing—to do with Watson’s bachelor party. London’s historic Wilton’s Music Hall was turned into the rowdy establishment, where Holmes thwarts the attack of an exceptionally acrobatic Cossack assassin, sent by Moriarty to kill Sim. The ensuing chase and fight sequence, which traverses the club’s multiple levels, features the skills of a free runner as well as a stuntman, both dressed in the full Russian regalia of the period.

In designing Sim’s costume, Jenny Beavan took into consideration the character’s physicality, as well as her Gypsy heritage. Beavan observes, “Sim would not tolerate the confines of Victorian fashion; I wanted her clothes to have a sense of freedom. I found a great picture in Harper’s Bazaar of a woman in the 1890s hunting in what would have been a very short skirt for the time, and I thought it would be perfect for her.”
While not opulent, Sim’s wardrobe is very colorful, with delicate embroidery and layers of different fabrics and textures. There is a touch of masculinity in her hat and boots, offset by the femininity of her ornate jewelry.

“If we can find him and stop him…it will prevent the collapse of Western civilization. No pressure.”

Moriarty’s grand scheme is intended to have global repercussions, so the mission to stop him eventually leads Holmes and Watson beyond England’s borders. The international scope of the adventure presented both opportunities and challenges to the creative teams, starting with the fact that the movie was filmed almost entirely in the UK.

Recreating 19th-century Europe also involved some 21st-century technology. The visual effects team, headed by visual effects supervisor Chas Jarrett, utilized second unit photography and green screens to erase more than a century of change. Dan Lin expands, “The latest visual effects technology enabled us to film primarily in and around London while incorporating the backdrops of other parts of Europe.”

The Greenwich district was used for segments in both England and France, including the opening London street scenes, where a disguised Sherlock Holmes follows Irene Adler. Greenwich later served for exterior scenes outside the Paris Opera House.

London’s Richmond Park was used to film the Gypsy camp, where Holmes and Watson track down Sim, who joins them in their quest to find her brother, beginning in Paris. A café in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower—then a newly constructed architectural marvel—was built at Hampton Court, just outside of the city.

As Moriarty’s sphere of destruction widens, Holmes, Watson and Sim must make their way from France into Germany on horseback—demonstrating one of Sherlock’s few shortcomings. The sequence was filmed in the scenic mountains of Wales.

England’s historic Chatham Dockyard became the site of the German Meinhard Munitions Factory, where we see the forebears of modern warfare on a massive scale and where Holmes learns firsthand the ruthlessness of his enemy.

The action inexorably draws Holmes and Moriarty to a fateful encounter in a spectacular villa straddling Reichenbach Falls in the Swiss Alps. Designed by Greenwood, the stunning vista was realized by Jarrett’s VFX team. Downey reflects, “I think it was just as Conan Doyle would have wanted it, which makes me particularly proud. There is a sweeping nature to it that is both majestic and terrifying—a fitting precipice for these two formidable foes to go at it once and for all.”

The international flavor of the story is also reflected in the music by Hans Zimmer, who created the score for the first “Sherlock Holmes.” Zimmer offers, “Of course we included the ‘Sherlock Holmes’ theme, but this was a bigger, more epic movie, so we wanted to advance that idea in the music as well.”

The composer wrote a new suite for Moriarty and also wanted to incorporate music to represent the spirit of Sim’s Gypsy culture. Zimmer traveled to Roma settlements in Slovakia, where he says he discovered “unbelievable musicianship. We found ourselves a couple of bands and put them on a bus to Vienna, where we went into a tiny recording studio and started making music. The interesting thing is I don’t speak Romani and they can’t understand German or English, but when we sat down and started playing, there was no question about what language we spoke.”

Ritchie states, “I love working with Hans. He’s a great collaborator, which can truly be said of everyone who worked on this team. Far beyond myself, the producers, and the cast, this film reflects the creative contributions of a lot of talented people, so I feel very lucky in that sense.”

Joel Silver concludes, “Working on this movie was a fun time and a great ride and I think that’s something that will be shared by the audience. I hope everyone comes away from the film thinking, ‘What’s next?'”

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