Jonny Lee Miller (Eli Stone, Emma) has been tapped to play Sherlock Holmes in CBS’ Elementary. The show will see Miller’s Sherlock in present day New York, where he will be tech savvy (using text messaging and the internet to communicate) and solve crimes. The formula is familiar—with the show clearly taking a page straight out of BBC’s Sherlock, though CBS denies it.
Its an interesting casting move for CBS considering Miller shared the lead roles of Dr. Frankenstein and The Creature with Benedict Cumberbatch in last Summer’s production of Frankenstein at the National Theater. Cumberbatch, of course, is most notably known for bringing the infamous consulting detective into the 21st Century, in the Moffat/Gatiss smash hit production Sherlock.
When news first broke that CBS would be creating its own modern Sherlock, Moffat and company quickly jumped to protect its program. Sue Vertue, executive producer and co-creator Steven Moffat’s wife, said “We understand that CBS are doing their own version of an updated Sherlock Holmes. It’s interesting, as they approached us a while back about remaking our show. At the time, they made great assurances about their integrity, so we have to assume that their modernized Sherlock Holmes doesn’t resemble ours in any way, as that would be extremely worrying. We are very proud of our show and like any proud parent, will protect the interest and well being of our offspring.”
CBS has gone on to say their show won’t be anything like the BBC’s production and that’s true to some extent. CBS is doing the series to simply cash-in on the Sherlock mania, while the BBC’s is a labor of love—written by Moffat/Gatiss, two very dedicated fans to the canon. And you have to remember the CBS series won’t have the Cumberbatch/Freeman dream team.
What’s bothering me about today’s news though is Miller’s choice to take on the role. Miller must know he is taking part in a production that the creators (and possibly even the cast) of Sherlock are against. He’s stepping into a role that Cumberbatch has made entirely his own and that fans will vehemently protect—especially if they believe Miller is imitating Cumberbatch’s performance.
Spielberg himself has said Cumberbatch’s Sherlock is the best he’s ever seen on screen.
Spielberg said that.
It may as well have been God saying it.
I understand a job is a job but I find it odd, and perhaps slightly shady, that he would say yes. Granted, maybe he has read the script and its completely different from the BBC’s show, I don’t know. But you would think the man would want to stop having his performance compared to Cumberbatch—because you know that’s what’s going to happen.
I’m curious if CBS is hoping the Cumberbatch magic rubbed off on Miller during their run at the National Theater? See, while Miller is great and relatively known to the U.S. public, he is no Cumberbatch. He has no real command of the screen. He doesn’t exactly draw viewers into the story. And lets face it, he’s not all that memorable.
Admittedly though I feel bad for Miller. Contrary to what you may think, I actually like him as an actor, I’m just afraid this has “crap” written all over it. Because like last summer’s Frankenstein, where Benedict’s performances of both Frankenstein and the Creature was the clear cut favorite (over Miller’s interpretations), Miller (and his Sherlock) will once again live in the Cumbershadow.