Mr. Holmes (and five other iconic film characters who deserve a retirement movie)
Understood to be the fictional character that has featured more than any other in adaptations for film and television, Arthur Conan Doyle's deerstalker-wearing detective is undoubtedly one of the most famous fictional characters in history, with more than 75 different actors taking on the role of Sherlock Holmes over the last century. The latest of these is none other than Sir Ian McKellen, who stars as Baker Street's most famous resident in Bill Condon's new film, but this is Sherlock Holmes as you've never seen him before: retired.
Based on Mitch Cullin's 2005 novel A Slight Trick of the Mind, Condon's new film, Mr. Holmes, reimagines the detective as a 93-year old living out his retirement years not in Baker Street, but in a remote farmhouse in rural Sussex. Dr. Watson has long since shuffled from this mortal coil and instead the ageing Holmes is accompanied only by his housekeeper Mrs. Munro (Laura Linney) and her son Roger (Milo Parker).
Holmes is aiming to write his own account of his final case, one which remains unsolved and led to the great detective's retirement. Feeling that Dr. Watson's fictionalised write-up of the case has obscured vital facts in layers of embellishment and exaggeration, Holmes is planning to write his own assessment of the case in the hope of finally solving its mysteries, but age has taken its toll and his mind is not what it once was, particularly his memory. With the help of the curious young Roger, Holmes attempts to piece together the missing pieces of his memory in an attempt to solve the case once and for all.
McKellen is predictably impressive, playing a much more fallible Holmes than we've become used to, but will this mean more films featuring famous characters in their pension years?
You can find the trailer for Mr. Holmes below, beneath that we've made some suggestions for iconic film characters that could work in retirement movies of their own...
After years of unsuccessful attempts to persuade Bill Murray to return for a third instalment of Ghostbusters, Dan Akroyd finally gave up and handed the project over to Paul Feig for the upcoming, all-female reboot. The very fact that Akroyd didn't want to do it without him though belies a simple truth about Ghostbusters; Venkman was always the coolest. So why not give him his own spin-off? It wouldn't work without Murray, that's for sure, and we admit it's doubtful he'd be interested unless the script was amazing, but he's probably the only character from the original films that could carry their own movie and as far as we're concerned any film that puts Bill Murray front and centre is worth watching.
Now, bear with us here, this isn't as crazy as you might initially think. Generally speaking, a sequel to Ferris Bueller's Day Off would be a terrible idea, because we'd have to witness our mischievous teenage hero enduring some mind-numbing office job and having to juggle the school run with talking to the builders about that loft conversion he's going to need with that third baby on the way. But hang on, skip all that and head straight to a retired Ferris, concocting elaborate schemes to avoid visits from the grandchildren and joyriding in that new Ferrari that Cameron's banker son just bought with his ill-gotten bonus. While listening to Skrillex. Or something...
"Who's the black private dick that's a sex machine to all the chicks?” Well, maybe not so much any more, but there's something appealing about the idea of a retired Shaft handing over the mantle to a younger model. Richard Roundtree could still play the role of the original, plus there are any number of young black actors who could play his younger replacement. Plus we'd have the added bonus of being able to pretend that 2001 remake never happened...
The last time we saw Clarice Starling the role was being performed by Julianne Moore in Ridley Scott's 2001 film Hannibal, but since we don't see Dr. Lecter after he makes his escape we've no reason to assume he is dead, so there's always the potential for that story to continue, even though that would require a bit of artistic license with Thomas Harris' original idea, but it wouldn't be the first time screen adaptations have gone beyond the narrative of the books they were based on. Besides, there are very few memorable female law enforcers on the big screen and there's plenty of scope for a retired Starling being dragged back into an unsolved case, with or without Hannibal, so why not?
Our last suggestion is a topical one, with news breaking last week that Fox and Len Wiseman are working on a new Die Hard movie featuring an origin story for its vest-wearing protagonist John McClane. It's being described as a “sequel-prequel”, but if they're willing to go back to the beginning of his life, why not a film set in his old age? There'd be less running around, obviously, but he could still wear the vest. Perhaps a grandson or other young member of the Gruber family gets a job at the retirement home and tries to slip something into his cocoa, only to be thwarted by the snitching parrot in the day room that does a perfect German accent? Yes, it's ridiculous, but let's wait for the plot of Die Hard 6 and see who's laughing then...