The news that Sir Ian McKellen is to play Sherlock Holmes in a new movie, A Slight Trick of the Mind, directed by Bill Condon is exciting for a number of reasons. Condon’s name is already on the way to becoming canonised within cinema; his other directing credits include The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn and the soon to be released The Fifth Estate, which focuses on the dramatic escalation of Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks website. The name Bill Condon endorses the new Sherlock Holmes film with credibility and drama and will certainly draw interest from Holmes’ fans and critics alike.
Secondly, McKellen’s appearance guarantees the film a sense of reflection and emotional fragility, as Holmes is portrayed as a man no longer capable of the physiological genius he once displayed. Moreover, Arthur Conan Doyle’s iconic detective has risen to a new level of fame within the recent BBC adaptations starring Benedict Cumberbatch. A new interest as well as a new generation of viewers is undoubtedly going to help ensure that this film makes a firm standing at theatres upon its release.
The basis for A Slight Trick of the Mind is Mitch Cullin’s 2005 novel of the same name in which Holmes appears crippled, and a victim of memory loss. The sophistication and intellectual prowess once so intrinsic to his character has abandoned him, leaving him a frail imitation of who he once was. Now living in retirement in a hushed Sussex village with only his housekeeper and her son for company, Holmes experiences the torment of having left a case unsolved fifty years previous. Only segments of memory come to him and fill him with fear, rage and a yearning to uncover the whole truth hidden within the past.
The man charged with scripting the film is, according to Variety, Jeffrey Hatcher, known for his work on the 2008 film, The Duchess. Additionally, Screen International has reported that the movie is a co-production between Archer Gray Productions, See-Saw Films and AI Film. Furthermore the named executive producers are Len Blavatnik and head of BBC Films, Christine Langan; BBC Films will help to financially support the film with Icon providing the rest of the money.
Condon and McKellen have previously worked well together in 1998’s Gods and Monsters for which McKellen received an Oscar nomination. The partnership sounds to still be thriving years later, and is expected to deliver a film dealing with loss, the harsh realities of life and mortality and the passions that still burn within older hearts and minds.
Set upon a backdrop of Britain in 1947, a place still deeply scarred by the war and struggling to regain the power it once held, A Slight Trick of the Mind is expected to excellently accompany the ravaged location in which the narrative unfolds. If the film stays true to the core values of Cullin’s novel viewers will be asked to consider Sherlock Holmes, not as a man charged with solving mysteries within life, but with learning to accept the passing of time and the eventual mystery of life itself.
A Slight Trick of the Mind is set to start filming in April 2014.