Brad Pitt and Robert Downey Jr. going head-to-head onscreen. That’s a tantalizing cinematic throwdown, which explains why even the possibility of such a face-off — in a sequel to a film that has not even opened yet — has been churning through the rumor mill. If Downey’s “Sherlock Holmes” becomes a box-office hit following its Christmas Day opening, could we eventually see the actor’s Holmes joined in a sequel by Brad Pitt as the wily detective’s nemesis James Moriarty?
That’s been the gossip for months. In August there were rumors that Pitt was on the “Holmes” set, and The Hollywood Reporter dished in September that the A-lister was in discussions to take on the role. And now we know — spoiler alert! — that Moriarty does in fact pop up in “Holmes,” albeit swathed in shadows and with a voice not recognizably Pitt’s. So when MTV News had a chance to chat with director Guy Ritchie and his cast, we had to get to the bottom of the mystery.
Had Ritchie talked with Pitt about playing Moriarty? “I can’t tell you that,” the director said, glancing a bit nervously at his publicist. “Maybe Moriarty will surface again …. I’m not allowed to say anything.”
Why be so tight-lipped about something that is not even a possibility? His answers will only fuel the Pitt-as-Moriarty fire. “I’m a big fan of Brad and I’d love to work with Brad,” said Ritchie, who directed Pitt in 2000′s “Snatch.” “Everything he’s done, I’m a big fan of.”
When we put the Pitt questions to Downey, the actor declined to answer or speculate. “We’re not the casting directors and [Moriarty's] kept purposely out of the narrative in the story and, should we be fortunate enough to go forward again, then we’ll probably make casting announcements and that stuff.”
“Holmes” star Mark Strong was a little more forthcoming in our interview, saying he never saw Pitt on set, but that Pitt and Ritchie have a strong creative bond. “I never met [Pitt], but I know that Guy and he are friends, obviously, because they’ve worked together and I know they’d love to get someone of his caliber to play a character of the depth and weight of Moriarty. I know they’ve probably talked about it.”
Rachel McAdams’ character, Irene Adler, actually interacts with the mysterious Moriarty in the film. Did the actress perform alongside Pitt?
“No Brad Pitt sightings,” McAdams said with a laugh, adding sometimes she wasn’t even on camera with another actor. “I was just talking to a dark void.”