By JIM SLOTEK AND KEVIN WILLIAMSON
Robert Downey Jr. and Sacha Baron Cohen will be puffing from Sherlock Holmes' pipe. Inset, Basil Rathbone as Holmes.
Who's ahead in the race to upgrade Sherlock Holmes for contemporary audiences? It's elementary, says director Guy Ritchie.
"They don't even have a script yet."
The 'they' Ritchie is referring to are Sacha Baron Cohen and Will Ferrell, who have announced plans to team as Holmes and Dr. Watson respectively in a lighthearted spin on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's iconic sleuth.
Ahead of them, though, is Ritchie's dramatic production which will star Robert Downey Jr. in his first post-Iron Man role. Unlike previous incarnations of the character, Downey Jr.'s deductive genius will be as practiced throwing a punch as he is unraveling a mystery.
"Originally he was this intellectual action man. I think what happened was they played that down because they didn't have the means of executing the action in an interesting way," Ritchie explains. "But now we do have the means and we have the technology, so we're just riding on the back of that. It still remains in its period, but we liked the idea of this intellectual action man."
Ritchie's Holmes shoots this fall after which Downey Jr. will segue to no-brainer Iron Man 2.
TEST RUN: One of the most talked-about surprises at last weekend's Comic-Con expo in San Diego was the sneak screening of preliminary footage from the top-secret, didn't-even-know-they-were-making-it Tron 2.
Back in 1982, the original was famed for its visual effects but barely registered at the box office. Star Wars it was not.
Now 26 years later, Disney obviously believes the cult audience that has grown up with the flick is primed for a return to that video-game-inspired world. Although no release date was revealed -- and we're not sure they've even begun production -- the fleeting luminescent imagery sent fanboys buzzing. In it, a light-cycle chase concludes in the reappearance of Jeff Bridges, reprising his role from the original. The twist? This time it looks like he's the villain.
OOH, BABY: Before she got married in February to producer Nick Cokas, American Idol runner-up Katharine McPhee admits her plan was to have a baby immediately after the wedding.
And now? Not so much, says McPhee, who plays a pregnant sorority girl in the comedy House Bunny -- part of a gang of college misfits coached by a Playboy Bunny (Anna Faris) in the art of being popular with guys. The reason she gives was the "preggie pad" she wore. "There were two different bellies," she says. "One was prosthetic and one was a preggie pad that connects at the bottom. I wore that one more often than the actual prostetic, which you wore when you had to show the belly button and that kind of stuff.
"Before I got married, I was like 'I wanna have kids right away. And then I got married, and I was like 'No.' It might have had something to do with wearing the preggie pad for two months. So, thank you House Bunny."
BACK IN TIME: Meanwhile, it was Seth Rogen's idea to have Huey Lewis & The News write a title song for his pot-action comedy Pineapple Express -- just like Lewis did all the time in the '80s. Again, ironically funny.
"This movie is somewhat of an homage to '80s action movies in its own way, and we thought, 'What's the one thing every great '80s movie has? A song by Huey Lewis that sings the title of the movie. I ran it by these guys one day and said, 'Y'know what would be crazy? If we got Huey Lewis to do a song for this.' And for some reason I thought he would be, like, unobtainable. But it was way easier than we thought," Rogen adds wryly. "Two days later, we had a song from Huey Lewis."
Robert Downey Jr has the best fans, and they deserve the best, so please, you know who you are, cut the shit.