Holmes, sweet Holmes

Sher­lock Holmes groupie Jonny Lee Miller had one im­por­tant phone call to make af­ter se­cur­ing the lead role in a new se­ries

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - TELEVISION -

AC­TOR Jonny Lee Miller sought the bless­ing of his pal Bene­dict Cum­ber­batch af­ter land­ing the lead in forth­com­ing Sher­lock Holmes se­ries El­e­men­tary, to as­sure him the Amer­i­can show would be noth­ing like the British de­tec­tive drama.

Cum­ber­batch has been star­ring in Sher­lock, the BBC’s mod­ern take on Sir Arthur Co­nan Doyle’s sto­ries of the fic­tional Lon­don sleuth, since 2010. Miller found him­self fol­low­ing in his friend’s foot­steps when he was an­nounced as the main char­ac­ter in El­e­men­tary, which trans­poses the fic­tional in­ves­ti­ga­tor to mod­ern-day New York.

The Trainspot­ting ac­tor ad­mits he’s a big fan of Cum­ber­batch’s por­trayal and would of­ten dis­sect the lat­est episode of Sher­lock with his friend over the phone. But Miller in­sists his ver­sion of Holmes will be com­pletely dif­fer­ent.

‘‘I love the work that Bene­dict has done with Sher­lock,’’ Miller says. ‘‘So I would call him up like a groupie af­ter ev­ery episode came out and want to talk to him about it. And we had a dis­cus­sion about this project as well. Bene­dict has been very, very sup­port­ive, and, you know, I wanted to re­as­sure him about how dif­fer­ent this script was and project was. All of the other dif­fer­ences will kind of be ap­par­ent. That’s an­other coun­try and a whole lot of vibe.’’

Miller, who was once briefly mar­ried to An­gelina Jolie, says he’s been busy re­search­ing the role.

‘‘Play­ing Sher­lock is not like a boy­hood thing for me. I have dis­cov­ered this char­ac­ter my­self by read­ing . . . I’ve al­most fin­ished all of the lit­er­a­ture. I haven’t quite fin­ished it all yet, but for me to dis­cover that has been a won­der­ful thing and to have that vast reser­voir of in­for­ma­tion and re­search avail­able to you – by just a ter­rific writer. But it’s a chal­lenge, you know.’’

Miller says he is feel­ing the pres­sure to do the char­ac­ter jus­tice: ‘‘There’s dif­fer­ent ver­sions of it out there re­cently, and so it’s an ex­tra bit of pres­sure, but it’s a fan­tas­tic char­ac­ter, and op­por­tu­ni­ties like this don’t come along as of­ten as peo­ple might think for us. So it’s won­der­ful.’’

Miller and Cum­ber­batch bonded while star­ring on the West End stage in di­rec­tor Danny Boyle’s Franken­stein in 2011.

Com­ing soon. Airs in Aus­tralia, Nine, NBN.

Jonny Lee Miller.

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