Sherlock Holmes And The Baker Street Irregulars
Jonathan Pryce is Sherlock Holmes
Jonathan Pryce studied at RADA and, upon graduating, joined the Liverpool Everyman Theatre Company. He went on to perform in seasons at both the Nottingham Playhouse and the Royal Shakespeare Company.
In the Seventies, Pryce established himself on the London stage with appearances in The Taming Of The Shrew, Hamlet and Measure For Measure, among other plays. In 1980, he won an Olivier Award for his definitive and highly acclaimed Hamlet, directed by Richard Eyre at London's Royal Court.
Pryce went on to enjoy a hugely successful stage career in both the West End and on Broadway, winning a Tony Award in 1977 for his Broadway debut in Comedians. He continues to work on the stage, most recently appearing on Broadway as Lawrence Jamison in the musical Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.
Pryce's screen career took off in 1985 when he shot to fame in Terry Gilliam's Brazil. Amongst other roles, he went on to co-star opposite Pierce Brosnan as Elliot Carver, the evil megalomaniac media mogul in the 18th Bond film, Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), and co-starred with Robert De Niro in Ronin.
Pryce has most recently been seen as Governor Weatherby Swan in the successful Pirates Of The Caribbean trilogy.
In 1995, Pryce won the award for Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival, followed by the award for Best Actor at the Evening Standard Awards in 1996 for his role in Carrington.
Jonathan Pryce on playing Sherlock Holmes:
Hundreds of actors have played Sherlock Holmes on stage, screen and radio. How did you feel about playing the great detective?
"It's a role I have always thought I would like to do ever since seeing Basil Rathbone when I was young. My great friend Bill Paterson had often said that we should do it together and, when this script arrived, we jumped at it."
What's interesting about this Holmes and what attracted you to the story?
"It is such an iconic role that I was a little nervous about taking it on, but the script focuses on the Irregulars so much that I felt I could sneak up on it!
"It is very well written and respects the period but, at the same time, feels like a very contemporary piece."
In the story we get a glimpse at Holmes's secret and romantic past with criminal mastermind Irene Adler. Do you think this Holmes has more secrets up his sleeve?
"I hope he has more secrets. I'd certainly like to spend more time exploring them!"
How would you describe Holmes's relationship with the Baker Street Irregulars?
"I think he has a love/hate relationship with them ... but mostly love! They have a mutual respect for each other and the kids want to learn from him. Holmes has an unsentimental approach to them. Working with this particular group of young actors, we could approach these aspects with an edge of danger and humour."
Holmes is instantly recognisable by his distinctive appearance and accessories – the deerstalker, pipe and sharp nose. How important do you think this is in adopting the character?
"We resisted a too stereotypical approach to Holmes. The deerstalker makes just one appearance and, because it is made for family viewing, smoking is discouraged. As pipe smoking makes me nauseous, I was very happy not to light up! As for the sharp nose, I used the one I was born with…"
How did you find working with the rest of the cast, particularly such a young one?
"I loved working with the young cast. They were talented, bright and enthusiastic – hard working, without an ounce of cynicism. I wish I could say the same for the adults! Bill is an old friend, Anna is a complete delight and Michael Maloney a wonderful foil."
Do you see anything of yourself in Sherlock Holmes?
"We are both devilishly handsome and highly intelligent but there the similarities end."
Are there any similarities between this character and any other roles you have played?
"I have been lucky to have played some characters with the same brooding intelligence. Holmes is a lot of fun to play. You know he will have the answer in the end, however circuitous the process. On set it was always rather strange to be referred to as 'Sherlock', though!"
How important do you think it is to continue adapting the stories?
"This is a completely new story, using characters and ideas from the original books. It stays faithful to the intent of those stories and that's where the fun lies. I hope this team can continue what they have begun with the Irregulars."
How did you find filming in Dublin?
"I loved everything about it! The people, the city, the Guinness, the food, the Guinness, the work, the crew. Did I mention the Guinness?"