BBC's Sherlock is the gold standard for adaptations of the famed British detective. If the series got an American reboot, which actors should be cast?
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories about a mastermind detective with peculiar habits turned Sherlock Holmes into a beloved global icon. There have been so many different adaptations that one has lost count, but one that is clearly a cut above the rest is the BBC program created by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat.
There already exists an Americanization of this narrative, Elementary, which stars Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu as Holmes and Watson, respectively. However, Sherlock here is still British, so the major difference is reserved for the NYC setting. To truly recast it in US terms would mean a complete overhaul of the cast list.
Sherlock Holmes — Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Joseph Gordon-Levitt can transform Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock into his own — roguishly charming, placid, and at ease with the world. This deviates slightly from Sherlock's standard attitude, but when in America, do as the Americans do.
The great thing about Gordon-Levitt is that he can switch from solemn rectitude to bubbly enthusiasm, which would be a treat to watch, especially after all the stiff upper lip Sherlocks in film and TV (except Robert Downey Jr., of course).
Mycroft Holmes — Robert Downey Jr.
Speaking of Downey, the actor is finally the right age to play Mycroft, a role he would definitely pull off, perhaps even with an improved outcome.
His semi-paternal affection for Spider-Man notwithstanding, because the elder Holmes is not one to expose his emotions, Downey is capable of refreshing the role of Mycroft just enough to be completely different. In other words, the actor would act, look, and talk like Mycroft, but he would feel like an entirely unique character to the audience.
Mrs. Hudson — Jamie Lee Curtis
Jamie Lee Curtis is a comedic master artist, as she proves in films like A Fish Called Wanda, Freaky Friday, and Knives Out. This makes her perfect for the role of Mrs. Hudson, whose various eccentricities demand the finesse of split-second timing.
John Watson — Elijah Wood
Elijah Wood will make an excellent sidekick, regardless of his ability to star in massive blockbusters with an unearthly dexterity. Imagining him as Dr. John Watson, all grumbly because of his war injuries, and yet being deeply devoted to his best friend and partner is not difficult for him in the slightest.
Frodo won't cut it, though; Wood will have to tap into his portrayal of Kevin from Sin City, not going full serial killer cannibal, obviously, but just enough to produce Watson's darkly lurking aura.
Inspector Lestrade — Ben Affleck
Inspector Lestrade is a close pal of Sherlock's, which is strange in itself considering that the detective rarely allows himself to become friends with anyone. The cop, however, is a goofy-esque character, nearly helpless without Sherlock, something Ben Affleck has experience with.
His roles in Good Will Hunting and Dazed and Confused both involve portraying a secondary character embedded in a vague stupor while happily giving way for the protagonist to take center stage and sparkle.
Molly Hooper — Zoe Saldana
What few people get about Molly Hooper is that she seems feeble and vacant on the surface, but she's quite the powerhouse when pushed. She never backs down from assisting Sherlock, although this could be in part due to her feelings for him. But the fact is that she has put herself in harm's way on more than one occasion.
Jim Moriarty — Edward Norton
One of Edward Norton's most famous roles, and the one he's largely associated with, is the Narrator in Fight Club — a seemingly weak-willed man who resorts to toxic masculine fantasies. On the other hand, there is American History X, in which Derek Vinyard's neo-Nazi aggression is aggressively in-your-face.
Jim Moriarty may not be a violent man per se, but his brain is wired in a manner that prevents him from experiencing any emotion other than excitement or rage. Edward Norton more than fits the bill.
Mary Watson — Tessa Thompson
Mary Watson is an unforgettable role, and not least because she is responsible for eternally cementing Sherlock and John together in friendship. She is gentle and compassionate while hiding her gruesome, painful history from the man she marries, implying that she often struggles to stay within the present.
Tessa Thompson is rather well suited to handle this character, mainly because of her divergent portrayal of Charlotte Hale in Westworld — first as herself, and later as Dolores.
Eurus Holmes — Charlize Theron
Forget Imperator Furiosa. The best comparison here would be that of Aileen Wuornos in Monster, a sex worker turned serial killer. Charlize Theron blends into the personality of her character, almost to the point of indistinguishability; her work in the film even won her an Oscar for Best Actress.
Irene Adler — Jennifer Lopez
Jennifer Lopez is the only actress in Hollywood with the sensual charisma, commanding posture, and mystery of character that are integral parts of Irene Adler.
If her performance at the Super Bowl LIV isn't convincing enough, her depiction of seasoned NYC stripper, Ramona Vega, in Hustlers (2019) will lay any doubts to rest. J.Lo is stunning in every possible way, and it's a certainty that her Irene Adler would be revolutionary — especially armed with those whips.