Holmes and Watson: just good friends?
Having enjoyed a very healthy opening in the US over Christmas, Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes has been one of the biggest hits of the festive season on both sides of the Atlantic, and both Ritchie and his studio Warners have signalled that they would like to turn the Holmes update into a multi-film franchise.
However, Ritchie's plans have hit a potential snag thanks to recent comments the movie's star, Robert Downey Jr, made on US television.
Critics have noticed a certain flamboyance in Downey's portrayal of the great detective, and in a recent interview the actor all but said that Holmes and Watson were a gay couple. He described Watson's fiancée, Mary, as a convenient "cover" for the two men, and when introducing a clip of the film, he asked his audience to decide whom of the two men was the more "butch".
All of this has not amused Andrea Plunket, who owns all the rights to the Sherlock Holmes stories in the US. She said she hoped the incident was merely an example of "Mr Downey's black sense of humour", and added that she would withdraw permission for any more films to be made if the theme is developed.
"I am not hostile to homosexuals," she said, "but I am to anyone who is not true to the spirit of the books."
So, perhaps someone should tell Mr Downey to lay off the gay jokes.