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Ian McKellen to Star As Sherlock Holmes in ‘A Slight Trick of the Mind’

Marty Melville, Getty Images

The last time director Bill Condon and actor Ian McKellen teamed up, we got ‘Gods and Monsters,’ a film that earned Condon an Oscar for his screenplay and McKellen a nomination for his performance. Now, a bunch of ‘X-Men,’ ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘Twilight’ films later, the two of them are collaborating once more, returning to their more traditional and dramatic roots. Condon and McKellen have signed on to direct and star in ‘A Slight Trick of the Mind,’ which will see the legendary British actor take on the role of legendary British detective, Sherlock Holmes.

If you think McKellen seems a little old to be playing a part currently portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch and Robert Downey Jr., you’re right. Based on the novel by Mitch Cullin, ‘A Slight Trick of the Mind’ follows an elderly and retired Holmes as he comes to terms with a case he never solved. Screen Daily broke the news and they have the following plot description:

Set in 1947, the film follows a long-retired Sherlock Holmes, who lives in a sleepy Sussex village with his housekeeper and her amateur-sleuthing son. But rather than enjoying a peaceful retirement, the famous Baker Street detective is haunted by an unsolved case from 50 years ago. He remembers only fragments: a confrontation with an angry husband, a secret bond with his beautiful but unstable wife.

Writers and filmmakers have been creating revisionist takes on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s great detective for decades now, but the character is currently enjoying another renaissance. Although Guy Ritchie’s second ‘Sherlock Holmes’ film fizzled at the box office, the character is enjoying newfound popularity among young audiences with BBC’s ‘Sherlock‘ and the CBS series ‘Elementary.’ In other words, if talented people like Bill Condon and Ian McKellen needed an opportune time to do their Holmes, this would be it.

McKellen will be seen as Gandalf the Grey this December in ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug‘ and as Magneto in next year’s ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past.’ Condon’s ‘The Fifth Estate,’ starring current-Holmes Benedict Cumberbatch, arrives in theaters on October 18, 2013.

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