Sherlock: Steven Moffat, and the chances of a Sherlock movie

News Simon Brew 21 Jan 2014 - 10:14

A report has popped up suggesting that the door is open to a Sherlock movie. Here's what Steven Moffat said about it...

Sherlock series 3 didn't just set the ratings alight in the UK. As it continues its roll-out around the world, it's having a similar effect. In the US, it's now started to high ratings. And we hear that the response in China too has been huge. Sherlock isn't just a UK television ratings hit: it's a major worldwide one.

Entertainment Weekly has given the cover of its latest issue over to the show, and it chatted to Steven Moffat as part of its feature. As part and parcel of that, the question of a possible Sherlock movie raised its proverbial head.

Moffat declared that "we don't rule anything out" when asked about a film, but went on to say that "there's something quite special about the fact that it's on television starring those two". Those two being Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman of course, both of whom have subsequently been landing major roles in movies. "Mark [Gatiss] and I sometimes imagine what would happen if we had written it now and were saying 'we'd like Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman for the parts"'.

This has been taken, with some justification, as Moffat holding the door open to a movie take on Sherlock. But then don't go holding your breath, as at a Q&A following the original screening of His Last Vow, he seemed less enamoured with the idea.

"Yes you could take it to movies and in that case you’d get one every three years as opposed to three every two years – why is that better?", he asked. "There would have to be a pressing narrative reason to do a movie. We’re doing movies, we’re doing them on television. As I’m fond of saying with the Doctor Who special we did, The Day Of The Doctor, which we put in the cinemas, on that weekend it became number two at the American box office. That’s a TV programme, number two at the American box office with limited distribution. So that’s television handing cinema its own arse. I think they should come to us and beg!"

He did add that "it’s lovely seeing it on the big screen, it’s lovely having a huge, big television. It would just be the question ‘How does it make it better to go to the cinema?’ and everyone knows that cinema and television shows in terms of production quality are getting closer together, so how would we make it better if we put in on the big screen?".

You can read the full Q&A here

Furthermore, given that Sherlock's 90 minute format allows plenty of exploration room on the smaller screen, we can't imagine that a Sherlock movie is an immediate priority even if the creative team were particular enthused by the idea. Instead, rumours - unconfirmed and unsubstantiated thus far - do persist that the BBC is looking to shorten the two year gap between Sherlock series. We'll keep you posted as we hear more...

Entertainment Weekly.

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There's absolutely no need for a Sherlock movie. I cannot think of one reason why they would do one, except of course getting more money.

Never happen.
And I'm happy with that.

"the BBC is looking to shorten the two year gap between Sherlock series."

Now that's something I want.

The only reason I can see do this is if some big American studio comes in and goes:

"you can have X million dollars to make a Sherlock movie, you have full creative control and retain all the rights, after the movie you can keep doing your usual televised thing, we just want a cut of the money made by the film".

Don't think it will ever happen though!

I'd say the biggest change for a Sherlock film, to make it feel different from another episode, would have to be in the way they approach the writing of the film.
Not that the writing isn't spectacular but if they wrote a film that focused on a far more contained case in a limited amount of time, rather than the several months that frequently pass in average episodes, it would feel very different from a normal episode and even have far more tension. Or even went in the opposite direction and wrote a far bigger more international case, forcing Holmes and Watson to spend lots of times in various locations around the world solving linked crimes.

It would have to be something that stood out as being very different from the average episode, either by making use of the increased budget to really push the big moments in the writing as far as possible, or making use of the extra runtime they could have with a film to go as indepth as possible with the cases/ character, without having to worry about potentially cutting out 10/20 minutes in editing to keep to the 90 minute runtime.

I agree that there's no need for a film. I think the recent season works best once all three episodes have been on and you can re-examine the Empty Hearse for clues towards events in His Last Vow. You can't do that with a film. And I can't see them making a film that tops The Great Game for instance.

I'm perfectly happy for the RDJ/Jude Law movies for a movie version which in spite of their flaws are enjoyable enough ways to spend 2 hours.

Each episode is basically a film already! There is no need.

Do 3 x 90 minute episodes, and also show them at the cinema. Job done, problem solved, everyone is happy.

Frankly I'm so disappointed with series 3 that I am past caring.

What about Moriarty: Origins?

I always think that questions like this show a bias that movies are better then TV which, if it was ever true, is simply not true. Any successful TV show gets asked that question but it's very rare for a movie to get a TV show spin off (MASH and the upcoming Marvel TV series spring to mind).

And then there's the question of exactly how many TV shows manage to make that transition well. Star Trek, South Park and Spongebob - again - are the only ones that leap to memory.

Sherlock is already cinematic as it is so I honestly don't see what there is to be gained my making versions for cinema.

Sherlock is already a movie every week. A film version would be no different.

The only Sherlock film I want to see is one in which every single live-action incarnation of the character has to team up to battle some kind of super-Moriarty (maybe have hundreds of Andrew Scotts, Agent Smith-style). Cumberbatch, Miller, Downey Junior, Brett, Cushing, Jonathan Pryce, Frank Langella etc - you can just CGI the dead ones. You could even have the animated one from Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century, maybe as a Jarvis-style supercomputer hologram thing that helps them out. And there could be brief but amusing cameos from people who have played him in piss-takes and homages, like David Mitchell, Alexander Armstrong etc.

And they should brutally kill off Downey Junior's version in the first scene, to show how high the stakes are.

Who's with me?

Rise of the planet of the Moriarty?

As each episode is already a movie, there is no need for it. Well maybe they could air an extra lengh episode for an event such as Doctor Who did in November. But not a real movie.

Oh, I'm so in!

At the end it could be revealed that they were all being controlled by Nicholas Rowe (Young Sherlock Holmes)

Or bridging a long gap between the next series, if Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman weren't available to produce three episodes - instead, a one hour forty five mins to two hours long "episode" that could stand as a film.

Absolutely pointless superfluous idea. It's already in it's perfect format and medium.

The past three episodes WERE film length! They are already making a film per ep. So I doubt a feature film would add anything, there is a bigger audience and demand on TV. It's far better medium than film for Sherlock. What they need is more money to make more TV. There is not enough of the TV show as it is ! Maybe someone like Netflix can fund ? Currently I'm already paying for Sherlock though my tv licence fee, something like £150 a year. They should pay graham norton less!

Lol that's why you are here reading this and posting comments. You are a liar. Because you will reply to this and rant on, if you don't reply then you truly do not care. So lets see shall we ?

And Meredith Henderson (from Canadian mystery series Shirley Holmes).

You're both mad...

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Andrew Scott

The reason there is so little of the TV show is that they cast as the leads two very good actors who are in demand. If the series ended, it wouldn't hurt their careers at all - indeed, they'd probably make more cash away from the BBC (they are film actors now and film will always pay more than TV) - but Ben and Martin really enjoy the show as it is and so are happy to keep coming back. But try to tie successful actors to just one project is the most likely way to get them to quit and seek other prospects. Film sequels sometimes wait for years for the right cast to be free.

Basically Ben and Martin are choosing to do Sherlock as it's fun. People pressuring them for more and more are likely to be the ones that kill the fun and hence then kills the show. Be patient.

You had a fair point before you started whining about the license fee like an incessant Daily Mail reader.

Again, Moffat is a huge bullsh*ter so I'll take anything he says with a pinch (pile, whatever) of salt. But, like you guys say, each episode is pretty much a film at 90 mins each.

No mention of the plans for a Christmas special? I wonder who might have been cast as Sherlock if the show first aired this month. Would Matt Smith have been Sherlock? He did audition for John Watson after all.

If they make a film to bridge a long gap, then that would make the gap even longer. And making a 2 hour film might just require the same amount of time to film an entire series of Sherlock. Again, no need and no, thank you.

TV and RADIO license. If the BBC had to pay Sky less, they would have more money. Government should force Sky to carry BBC, ITV, C4 & C5 for free. That would upset Murdoch (win-win), so they won't do it.

Sorry, off topic.

Sweeney, anyone? I remember the craze for making movies of every TV show during the 60's/70's/80's. They were almost universally crap. From (Cushing's) Dr. Who to sitcoms like Please Sir! Plus the need for a "more cinematic" feel puts pressure on the creators, resulting in scenarios like Paul McGann's Who movie, with unnecessary motorcycle chases and American settings....

Why would anyone downvote Shirley Holmes?

We're not mad, William, we're high-functioning fanboys, do your research ;)

Lol, thanks for the reality check slap!! :-)

Nope, good points. Better to have quality rather than quantity. They are indeed actors in demand, and better they really enjoy it. Must be crazy being a popular actor in demand !

Agreed, absolutely no need for a film. Each episode is practically that anyway! But the shortening of the 2 year gap has made me horny!

is a cock!

I walked into that...

god - you meant to say god.

I'd rather Steven Moffat resurrected his first series called Press Gang than have a Sherlock movie.

Zero need for a 'Sherlock' movie. It (as evidence in it's third season) has a hard enough time coming up with plots to make 90 minutes of show. That's the snarky answer.

The sensible answer is: the same reason we don't have a theatrically released "Dr. Who" movie. That's not the format it's suited for.

Sherlock episodes are already 1 and a half hour long. No need for a movie when you get 3 of them.

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