Benedict Cumberbatch & Jonny Lee Miller: Still OK, despite “cynical” feelings

In case you were under a rock, BBC televisions show, Sherlock, is one of the greatest things to exist in the last several years. The casting, the writing, the direction…everything comes together perfectly. And the the greatest coup of the show is the lead, played by the excellent Benedict Cumberbatch.

CBS saw the show, and ala The Office, wanted to do an American version of it. Stephen Moffat, the brains behind both this show and Doctor Who, wisely said no. Flash forward a few months and CBS is talking about their upcoming modern day Holmes show, Elementary. The differences are there (New York set, female Watson played by Lucy Liu) but it is, just the same, a bit rude. What makes it worse, is that Benedict-pal and co-Frankenstein Jonny Lee Miller has been cast in the lead role.

While Moffat isn’t exactly a fan of the whole thing, Benedict has a more measured reaction. He spoke to Shortlist about the whole thing.

What do you make of the new US modern Sherlock Holmes adaptation, Elementary?

Jonny [Lee Miller] asked me if I was all right with him doing it. I said, “What are the similarities?” And he went, “Well it’s modern…” I went, “Oh.” Then he said, “Lucy Liu’s going to play Joan Watson…” And I went, “Oh.” I got hold of the pilot script just to check it out. I don’t know, we’ll see. I think there’s room for us both to coexist. I don’t feel threatened by it and I wish him the best, which is as diplomatic as I can be.

It’s a strange position to be in…

It’s very odd. I did say, “Well, I’d prefer you didn’t do it but you’ve got a kid to feed, a nice house in LA and a wife to keep in good clothes.” When you get used to a certain standard of living and they waft a pay cheque at you, what are you going to do? I think Jonny was like, “Mate, I’ve got the f*cking mountain to climb here [to reach the acclaim of Sherlock], you’ve got nothing to fear.” I wish him the best of luck, but I’m a bit cynical about why they’ve chosen to do it and why they cast him.

So no friendships lost, and the series are hopefully going to be different enough that it’ll all work out ok. And who knows? When Elementary debuts on the 27th, maybe it’ll make more people aware of the excellent Sherlock, the third season of which will shoot and debut next year.