Russell Crowe as Watson in Sherlock Holmes?

Those rascal UK tabloid newspapers and their silly movie casting rumors based on anonymous sources. Whatever will they think of next? If they weren’t always so wrong, it would be kind of funny, but they always seem to end up being, you know, wrong. Remember all those Cher as Catwoman in “Batman Begins 3” rumors? Yup. They hailed from Across the Pond as well. And now, Russell Crowe as Watson in Guy Ritchie’s upcoming re-imagining of Sherlock Holmes? Hmm, interesting, my dear Watson. Is it too much of a stretch to believe that Crowe, at this stage of his career (re: A-list superstar) would play a supporting role to Robert Downey Jr.?

Says The Sun UK:

He was due to play the Sheriff of Nottingham in a retelling of the Robin Hood story but that has been put on the back burner and now he’s going to be Dr Watson in GUY RITCHIE’s Sherlock Holmes movie.

With Guy’s eagerly-awaited gangster flick RocknRolla about to open and ROBERT DOWNEY JR already signed up as the legendary detective, it already has the buzz that goes with a classic.

A movie insider told me: “Russell wants the part, Guy wants Russell. All they’ve got left to do is dot the i’s and cross the t’s.”

The trick here is Crowe putting aside his movie star status for a supporting role to RDJ. I could easily see RDJ doing that (after all, he spent his entire career doing Best Friend roles in the ’80s and ’90s), but when was the last time Crowe was in a movie where he wasn’t the star, or at least a headlining co-star? I’m pretty sure you would have to go all the way back to 1997’s “L.A. Confidential”, when Crowe was still a relatively new face in Hollywood without a proven track record as a leading man.

But then again, if Crowe is as desperate for a movie as the article claims, I could see him doing a movie with RDJ. If he came on board, Ritchie could easily bulk up the Watson part to give Crowe co-headlining status alongside RDJ, similar to what Crowe got in “American Gangster”, “3:10 to Yuma”, and “Body of Lies”. But there’s the rub: the source material for which Ritchie is basing his movie on, a comic book, chronicles the adventures of Sherlock Holmes as we get to see a different side of Holmes. Unless Ritchie plans on completely redoing the original intent of the movie, I don’t see how he can bulk up Watson’s part enough to make Crowe a co-headliner.

Bottom line: although we have to keep in mind that this is coming from a UK tabloid (i.e. they ain’t exactly Time Magazine, you know), and the fact that the whole thing doesn’t seem to make much sense from a storyline point of view, the idea doesn’t sound THAT far fetched to me. Maybe Crowe is feeling like doing a movie where he doesn’t have to work as hard? Hey, actors can be lazy, too, even mega stars.

By the way, I love how RDJ describes the movie:

“I’ve got to spend some time with Guy and I love his take on it. We’re both martial arts enthusiasts and in the original stories of Sherlock Holmes, he’s kind of a bad-ass and a bare-knuckle boxer and studies the rare fictional martial art of baritsu.

“If you look baritsu up, they can’t even really tell you what it is, so it gives us a lot of leeway.”

A “bad-ass” Sherlock Holmes? I can dig it.


Ah, nevermind. I just wrote all the above for nothing. Guy Ritchie just told Empire Online that Russell Crowe is NOT in negotiations to play Watson in his movie. UK tabloids. Pfft.

Below: in every picture of Sherlock Holmes and Watson you see, Watson is always standing in the background. Get it? It’s about Sherlock Holmes and some guy name Watson who interjects every now and then; it’s not Sherlock Holmes AND Watson.

Sherlock Holmes and Watson