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February 2010

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D I R E C T O R ' S C H A I R L ONDON — British writer/director Guy Ritchie made his name with the flashy, hyperkinetic indie gangster caper Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, and followed that up with the similarly fla- vored Snatch and RocknRolla, which once again visited the seedy underbelly of London gangster life. Now, armed with a repor ted $100 mil- lion budget, and backed by the Warner Bros. machine, Ritchie has joined the big leagues with his latest film, Sherlock Holmes. Predictably, this is not your father's Sher- lock Holmes. Long gone are the traditional — and easily parodied — capes and deer- stalker hats. Instead, as embodied by Robert Downey Jr., the famous detective is now par t intellectual sleuth, par t action-hero, par tnered with an equally slimmed-down and pumped-up Watson, played by Jude Law. Here, Ritchie talks about making the film and his love of post. POST: What sort of film did you set out to make? GUY RITCHIE: "I wanted to give it my interpretation, I suppose, of Sherlock Holmes. My idea of how he should be por- trayed was gestating for decades — and I liked the idea that he's this very intellectual but also very visceral and physical guy. So he has this sor t of marriage between being physical and intellectual, and the fact that he's flawed makes him so appealing and in- teresting.That was what I was trying to bring out in the film, and the studio wanted Guy Ritchie-isms, so we had similar ideas and ap- proaches to make it all more accessible. They wanted more of me and I wanted more of them." POST: A lot of die-hard fans complained that this film was going to ruin the Sherlock Holmes name, that it would just be a big ef- fects-laden Hollywood sellout. Did all the talk worry you? RITCHIE: "No, because I actually tried to stay ver y true to the original books and characters, and it's not like I'm not familiar with all the stories. So I tried to remain faith- ful, even though obviously I have an opinion that percolates through the film." POST: Were you always a big Sherlock Holmes fan? RITCHIE: "Yes, I've been a fan since I was a kid. They were the first stories I was famil- iar with as a boy, and I always loved them." POST: Holmes has been portrayed on screen more times than any other character. How do you explain the character's continu- ing appeal? RITCHIE: "I think it's probably the sheer depth of the character, as there are so many nuances in him that Doyle managed to pick out. Endearing as he is, he's also rather vain and arrogant, but somehow that gives an authentic feeling to him as a char- acter. The breadth and depth of his charac- ter — and the fact that he's clearly a genius — makes him so interesting and accessible to modern audiences." POST: You shot a lot of it on location. RITCHIE: "We did, and that's something I also love doing.We had really great locations — by far the most interesting locations I've ever been involved in. I wanted to show the extremes of Victorian England, so we go from the gutters to the Houses of Parlia- ment. It's not easy finding period places, even in England, so we also shot in Liverpool and Manchester as well as London, and then we combined all those with CGI. Then we shot a lot of the interiors, such as Holmes' apart- ment, on stages in Brooklyn at a former ar- mor y, and then put the whole jigsaw to- gether in post." POST: Do you like post? RITCHIE: "I do. I love it. The par t of the whole filmmaking process that I find the most difficult is all the promotion of the films (laughs). So for me, the post process is really an extension of everything else you've been doing in production, and directing and editing is really a very similar process. So for me, I find myself continuing to work in the same way in the edit suite as I do on location or on the floor. I'm as creatively involved in post as I am at any other stage. And I love post as it's fairly relaxing compared with the actual shoot." POST: Where did you do the post? How long was the process? RITCHIE: "We did nearly all of it in Lon- don. We did a lot of it out of my office on Charlotte Street, and at Technicolor in Soho. We had a bunch of different post houses working on it, essentially all British." POST: The film reunites you with editor James Herbert, who previously collaborated with you on RocknRolla, Revolver, the docu- mentar y The Ego Has Landed and the ABC television pilot Suspects. Tell us about that re- lationship and how it works. RITCHIE: "After doing so many projects together we have a real shorthand, which is a huge advantage on a project this size. He began editing at my offices as soon as we began shooting. I've got to say, it does make a big difference having an editor who really understands your sensibilities and what you want from a scene.That shorthand between us takes a lot of man-hours out of my day, and that's a big plus when you have ver y long hours shooting. We also had a lot of vi- sual effects shots — done by Framestore and Double Negative — so it was a pretty challenging edit. He's a really great editor, and that made the edit go pretty smoothly." POST: There's obviously quite a lot of vi- Guy Ritchie — Sherlock Holmes By IAIN BLAIR This "indie" guy goes mainstream with a new take on the great detective. Guy Ritchie (center) with actors Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law: "For me, I find myself continu- ing to work in the same way in the edit suite as I do on location or on the floor." 12 Post • February 2010 While Ritchie tried to use locations whenever possible, many interiors were shot on a sound- stage in Brooklyn.

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