Sir Ian McKellen has played King Lear, MacBeth, Richard II and Hamlet in addition to himself on The Simpsons. Now with his upcoming role as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the film, Mr. Holmes, one of the greatest actors of all-time will have achieved the Gordie Howe Hat Trick of film by adding Conan Doyle to his earlier roles of Gandalf (Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit) and Magneto (X-Men).
Mr. Holmes stars McKellen as an elderly Sherlock Holmes who travels to Japan in an attempt to solve a 50-year-old cold case that involves a beautiful woman from his past. Unfortunately, before its release this summer, the films producers, director and distributor seem to have run afoul with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s estate. According to The Wrap, the lawsuit claims that Sherlock Holmes creator Conan Doyle’s heirs still own the rights to the detective’s days in retirement.
While Mr Holmes was adapted from the 2005 novel A Slight Trick of the Mind by Mitch Cullin, the estate claims that the author appropriated elements of a late Sherlock Holmes story, The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier, making both the novel and the forthcoming film adaptation in breach of copyright.
According to reports, while the first 50 of the Sherlock Holmes stories are in public domain, the last 10 Holmes stories, which were published between 1923 and 1927, are still under U.S. copyright. “These copyrighted 10 stories develop the details of Holmes’ fictional retirement and change and develop the character of Holmes himself,” states the lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in New Mexico last Thursday.
Laura Linney plays Sherlock’s caregiver and housekeeper Mrs Munro, as well as Colin Starkey (Inspector Lewis) who will also appear as Sherlock’s former partner Dr John Watson.
Mr Holmes is set for release on June 19 in the UK and July 17 in the US.