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Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows - Guy Ritchie interview

Guy Ritchie

Interview by Rob Carnevale

GUY Ritchie talks about some of the challenges of making Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and reuniting with Robert Downey Jr, Jude Law and the rest of the creative team.

He also speaks of his admiration for Hans Zimmer, directing a naked Stephen Fry, why Coldplay’s Chris Martin played a pivotal role in the sequel and why he doesn’t feel constrained by the mainstream.

Q. How did you come up with the idea for this sequel?
Guy Ritchie: As a creative team, it’s just that. Lionel [Wigram, producer] came up with the idea [originally]. He started the whole thing running. Everyone has an equal part in creating what we think an audience will like, and what we think is exciting, creatively. This might be overstating it, but it’s a powerhouse of creativity. I don’t think anyone trumps another individual in this mix. I’m not sure any one of us can take the credit for any one idea. Someone would come up with a bad idea that would get ridiculed, and then you realise it’s the bad idea that led to a good idea, so there’s no such thing as a bad idea. I very much like being a part of that. I feel like if any one of us takes ownership of a concept, they become alienated by the group. It happens organically, because we’ve all got egos. But then when you get excited by the creative process, everyone gets excited, as no one is trying to own anything. Five or six brains think as one. Joel and Lionel got the momentum going to make the films, then thereafter it became a living organism as a mind. We just tap into that. The script was so rough, which some of us found frustrating at times, as we felt it wasn’t the film we really wanted to make. Then it got broken down and rebuilt by the organic mind.

Q. What was your collaboration with Hans Zimmer like this time round?
Guy Ritchie: Hans and I were very much in synch with what this film could represent. We like the same kind of music as well. He went off to Romania for a month and recorded the lion’s share of the score there. Although he’s very prolific, he really is the real thing. He’s one of those guys who got into the business for all the right reasons, and he’s still in it for all the right reasons. He’s a true creative and a pleasure to work with – his enthusiasm is contagious.

Q. Can you talk about the challenges of directing a naked Stephen Fry?
Guy Ritchie: [Laughs] I thought it was going to be an issue when we were presented with the pages, and at the end it said he was naked. He turned up on the day naked! There was no great resistance – rather like getting Robert into a dress! So I’ve got a sneaking suspicion it could’ve been his idea. There was no work on my part! Robert and I have a mutual friend – that chap Chris Martin out of Coldplay – and he’s a Sherlockian, as is Stephen Fry. It was his idea [to cast Fry].

Q. How physically demanding was this one? Were you tough on your leading men?
Guy Ritchie: There’s something worth noting is that these action scenes would sometimes last two weeks, and these guys would work eight, ten hours a day, repeating the same stunt. No one asks a professional athlete to do that amount of work, and consequently, these three were constantly on a diet and exercise routine. It’s impossible to appreciate how much you want out of them physically, never mind the other aspects.

Q. Why was this film not shot in 3D? Is that because you don’t like the medium?
Guy Ritchie: I am a fan of 3D movies, and I am a film geek and I like the technical aspect of filming a lot. Actually I did try and push this for 3D – the resistance was that there was a lot of 3D coming out. It felt almost tired at the time we were embarking on this. At the time it just didn’t feel that innovative.

Q. Do you feel constrained by the mainstream?
Guy Ritchie: Funnily enough, I don’t at all. Film-making’s changed, as we all know, and indie [film-making has] got muscled out in quite a conspicuous fashion. Why that is the case, I’m not sure. I still see myself as an indie film-maker. I certainly got no resistance from the studio in terms of trying anything we thought was innovative – they really encouraged it. They want this film-making, particularly at a blockbuster level, that has absorbed an indie influence. Big movies are becoming increasingly more interesting – some of them are, some of them aren’t. It’s an interesting time in film history.

Read our review

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