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Quint interviews Robert Downey Jr. and Rachel McAdams about SHERLOCK, cigars, noir, corsets and much more!!!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with a really fun interview I conducted with Robert Downey Jr. and Rachel McAdams for SHERLOCK HOLMES at Comic-Con. This was an odd one for me as it was a total surprise until right before it happened. I knew I was interviewing the SHERLOCK producers (coming soon), but it wasn’t until I went to check in for that interview that I knew I had Downey and McAdams as well. Awesome, but that left me with little to prepare… but fuck it, right? I like to make these things conversational anyway (ie make it up as I go). It was my first time talking with McAdams (and yes, she’s as lovely in real life as she is up on the silver screen), but not Downey. I got to chat with him for the first IRON MAN a couple of years ago and recently ran into him on a set visit. I knew he smoked cigars so I gifted him one from my stash, a Gurkha Grand Reserve. It’s a fun one to gift aficionados because it comes in a glass tube sealed with gold wax… nice presentation. Anyway, I mention this only because we hit on that straight away… right after I introduced myself to McAdams who mistook me for Drew McWeeny. That’s not the first time and it won’t be the last, but that’s fine. I’m mistaken for two people constantly… Drew and Guillermo del Toro. Both are gentlemen of fine stock and persuasion, so I can only be flattered. That’s where our chat begins right after her saying we met on the set of Sherlock Holmes and me saying that I am not Mr. McWeeny. Enjoy!

Robert Downey Jr.: You’ve embarrassed the lovely Rachel McAdams, you should have said you were Drew.

Quint: That’s true. (To Rachel) We have totally met before! I don’t know… Drew’s got wandering hands…

Kraken: Just say that you are Drew and just do really obnoxious stuff! You can get away with it.

Rachel McAdams: Just sabotage Drew and then you won’t have that problem.

Quint: Yeah, but see my worry is that Drew would sabotage me back the next time he runs into you guys.

Robert Downey Jr.: (drawn out, in French accent) Saboteur.

Quint: Did you like the cigar?

Robert Downey Jr.: It was good.

Quint: I’m not a connoisseur, but that’s what I like.

Robert Downey Jr.: Yeah?

Quint: Yeah, those Gurkha cigars…

Rachel McAdams: Did you bring a cigar… for me?

Quint: I didn’t bring you a cigar.

Rachel McAdams: Sexism! Robert Downey Jr.: Oh, yeah! Dude, it really was (good), by the way. I also just had a little bit of a real squishy Montecristo Number Two that gave me goose bumps.

Quint: Oh yeah?

Robert Downey Jr.: Yeah.

Quint: Nice.

Robert Downey Jr.: A couple of times a week. That’s all I’m good for.

Quint: [To McAdams] I went to the IRON MAN set and I brought cigars for him and Favreau. I knew they were cigar people. If I knew you were a cigar person I would have brought you one, too!

Rachel McAdams: Well, I’m not really. I was just really jealous for a second. (laughs)

Quint: They are cool, too. They are in these crystal tubes with melted wax.

Rachel McAdams: Now what do you do with them? Can you do something with the crystal tube after?

Quint: Besides look at it and think it looks like mad scientist equipment?

Rachel McAdams: Put your weed in there? (laughs)

Quint: You can put your weeeeeed in there…

Robert Downey Jr.: Yeah, you can do misdemeanors and/or felonies depending on how you cut the glass.

[Everyone Laughs]

Quint: Alright, well thanks for taking the time to talk to me, I really appreciate it! The footage looks great. Speaking of Drew, I was extremely jealous that Drew got to go, but I loved his reports. He wrote some insanely great material from that visit and his reports made it feel like the set was just such a fun place to be. A lot of times you don’t really get that. I have been on a lot of movie sets that are fun. I’ve been on some that are stressful. I’ve been on a mixture of both that are just professional, but it sounds like this one was just fun.

Rachel McAdams: It’s amazing that Drew says that, because I believe that that was when we were in the pig slaughterhouse that when Drew came to visit. Wasn’t it? Robert Downey Jr.: It might have been then, but you know what it might have been also? The punch bowl and then that scene, the much heralded and oft missed you and “Is it poison? Did you poison my…” Rachel McAdams: Oh yes! The little tryst in the hotel which was fun. Robert Downey Jr.: Where we handed you some two star dialogue to see what you could do with it. You were like “Okay. You sure you guys did five drafts on this one?”

[Everyone Laughs]

Quint: Being a period film, does that add pressure as an actor or does that free you up a little bit?

Robert Downey Jr.: Pressure to her midriff.

Quint: Not physical pressure!

Robert Downey Jr.: We talked about this at press conferences where I just look at her and I would be like “In addition to everything else going on, McAdams is just straddled tight.” We got to set at nine. We worked French hours. We essentially worked continuous days, so there was not a lunch hour, so there was no foreseeable end in sight. Rachel McAdams: I’m not allowed to take it off, but ever so often I would just let it all hang out, man.

Quint: So they had to cut your dialogue into short sentences?

Robert Downey Jr.: She has methods, one of which is mystical, a certain divine yoga practice that I’m sure kept you from going off of the deepest end. Rachel McAdams: Yeah, that’s true. My yoga came in handy.

Quint: Just as an audience member, it looked great!

Robert Downey Jr.: It’s impressive footage isn’t it?

Quint: Absolutely!

Robert Downey Jr.: It’s not like that’s everything that went right. (Philippe) Rousselot shot it great. There’s something very free about a lot of that with the choreography and stuff kind of happened in a structured way on the day in the moment.

Quint: And there is so much detail to every scene. I love seeing the glimpses of Holmes’ home. I loved that stuff. Just the dust in the air and the clutter. It feels stylized, but it also doesn’t feel out of place if you know what I mean, but that production design looks incredible, so I can only imagine that helped you guys step into the world.

Rachel McAdams: Oh, definitely. And for me, Irene is such an unorthodox woman of that time; she’s adventurous and not sitting at home doing needlepoint. She is out in the world making trouble, so I had a lot of leeway in terms of playing her, which was really fun. And I feel like Holmes is… I mean, what a character. There are just so many places to go…

Click here to read along with the next bit in Amazing Sound-O-Text!!

Robert Downey Jr.: There is a scene where she comes and obviously it’s in the footage that she is basically saying, “I want something from you.” I just remember that day, because we were “Well, how do we express all of this stuff, that she has been traveling around?” So the idea that we had was Rachel ends up saying “This from there…” and “Figs (from Greece)” and all of these things, so we kind of covered all of that ground, but the real thing is when she comes over just as sweet and natural as can be and is just kind of like she’s waking up a college roommate or something like that and you see my eyes open like the Devil herself is in the room and the first thing I do is go like check the safe to see if she has stolen my shit. So we communicated a lot with a little and it really strangely, like in a straight foreword detective story we know that you would be the Femme Fatale and you can’t be trusted, but we get together in the end and this and that, but it’s so much a function of where Irene interfaces with the bad guy plot and what our actual history is and where we are going and how many times can you forgive someone for screwing you over. But back in the books and Lionel (Wigram, producer) was talking about this too, we have an opportunity, because we could still go do a bit of… You know, you can go back and dial things in. There was time when Holmes had Watson throw a grenade into your apartment to smoke everybody out and had me come in looking like I was an injured bystander, so I could go up and sneak into your safe and get all of that stuff you were talking about. Rachel McAdams: It’s very clever, because he says in that story that Irene is in, it’s the only story, he says if you want to figure out what someone’s most prized possession is, because Holmes is trying to get my most prized possession, which is a photograph… I’m framing the prince with a photograph of us… he says “Smoke. Make a fire and they will go to that thing first.” That’s great, but then I bested you and then I’m gone the next day without a trace.

Quint: You said something very interesting… is there kind of a Noir injection into this story? At least with Irene’s character?

Click here to read along with the next bit in Amazing Sound-O-Text!!

Robert Downey Jr.: What I would say is that some of the Doyle lexicon includes the birth of Noir, because we have people who are very much like the gum shoe dick. They are not looking to fit into society, you can’t buy them, and they operate with, but often is not outside the realm in reach of the law and their thing is their own peculiar sense of justice.

Quint: A Noir staple is your lead is always a very flawed person and that’s one thing I love about Holmes as a character. As brilliant as he is, because of that even, it also makes him a little insane. He has the cocaine addiction. His intelligence puts him out there and separates him from the rest of humanity, so that’s really interesting to think about that in a Noir sense. I’m sure somebody must have written a paper or book on that.

Robert Downey Jr.: Probably and then there’s the whole thing about the city and this is so much about that time in London and as advanced as it was how seedy the underbelly was and how dangerous it was, so someone like Irene Adler, who is a kind of retired diva from the states winding up there as a hub spot to all of these nefarious missions that she is doing everywhere from Eastern Europe to North Africa and the British Isles and around it or whatever. It’s like, of course he would called her “The Woman,” because she is he one who is the one slipping out in some pretty murky waters in1891 Europe. Rachel McAdams: It’s such a great time, because it’s when science and black magic are colliding, so there's so much of that in our film version, which I thought was great.

Quint: So, what are you guys doing next? What’s next for you after SHERLOCK? Is it coming out this year?

Rachel McAdams: It comes out Christmas Day and I have THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE coming out in August and I’m just finishing up a film with Harrison Ford called MORNING GLORY about morning news shows and the wonderful world of. Robert Downey Jr.: It’s been too long since there has been one of those. I was talking about that with a group of people the other day.

Quint: A news show movie... like Broadcast News and Network?

Robert Downey Jr.: Broadcast News was so definitive and it seems like your thing… Rachel McAdams: And that world has changed so much and it’s really high gloss now, so it’s fun to interpret it now and you IRON MAN 2…

Quint: Tomorrow…

Robert Downey Jr.: It is actually coming out tomorrow.

Quint: That’s the surprise of the panel?

Robert Downey Jr.: It’s pretty much written; tomorrow at sundown all will be revealed. Rachel McAdams: I’m staying for that.

Quint: Me too. I’ll save you a seat.

Rachel McAdams: I was going to hop on a plane, but forget about it.

Quint: Thank you. I really appreciate you guys taking the time. It was good seeing you again!

Rachel McAdams: (laughs) It was nice to see you for the first time.

That was a very fun chat, wasn’t it? This is my second time interviewing Downey and my third time holding a conversation with him and that cat is fascinating. He’s always on the ball, cracking jokes and making you feel a welcome participant in the conversation. As is the norm, I wish we had more time to really get into Sherlock, especially the occult element that’s in the film, but what can ya’ do? I discuss that with Susan Downey, Joel Silver and Lionel Wigram a bit more in that interview, so keep your eyes peeled for that. Hope you enjoyed the chat. Got a lot more coming your way. Stay tuned! -Quint Follow Me On Twitter

Readers Talkback
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  • Aug. 3, 2009, 3:35 p.m. CST


    by lockesbrokenleg

  • Aug. 3, 2009, 3:48 p.m. CST

    Ritchie brought his motherfuckin' A-game to Rocknrolla

    by SoylentMean

    and this Sherlock Holmes movie looks great. Now if only there were some books to read involving the character...

  • Aug. 3, 2009, 3:50 p.m. CST

    Wow, Sherlock Holmes must be good

    by lockesbrokenleg

    You guys barely talked about it.

  • Aug. 3, 2009, 3:53 p.m. CST


    by Mullah Omar

    I gotta be honest - I skim through most of the plot-related HOLMES info to keep it fresh when I finally see it. I still don't even really understand how much time McAdams will get in the film and if she's up there with Watson in importance.

  • Aug. 3, 2009, 3:54 p.m. CST

    V. Enjoyable read Drew

    by spooky2k

    :D I mean Eric. This wasn't so much an in depth on the film, but was very fun to read. Thank you. And thank you of course to the lovely Rachel McAdams and EPIC Robert Downey Jr.

  • Aug. 3, 2009, 3:56 p.m. CST

    Getting Excited

    by Rathbone

    The plot is non-canonical and it appears the production has taken all kinds of liberties with the characters. But Downey engenders so much good-will, I find a lot of my misgivings melting away. It's been so long since I've seen a good Holmes movie. After all the stinkers this summer and now that the Wolfman has been postponed (again), this is the last movie of the year that I'm anxious to see.

  • Aug. 3, 2009, 4:19 p.m. CST

    No time for explanations Watson...

    by Duke_Whittington

    ...the first two inches are cold.

  • Aug. 3, 2009, 4:57 p.m. CST

    i'm all for iconclasm ... BUT ...

    by madCanada

    ... odds are, this will blow. (shoutout to Canadian Rachel, tho!)

  • Aug. 3, 2009, 4:57 p.m. CST

    not looking forward to the movie

    by taff

    Enjoyed the interview but after seeing the trailer, I am not looking forward to the movie. I am a huge Holmes fan, love the Jeremy Brent series, read all the books and short stories, but this movie looks really bad.

  • Aug. 3, 2009, 5:01 p.m. CST

    ...and Both are Kinda Dumpy and Look Like They Smell...

    by Read and Shut Up

    ...I'm just sayin'.

  • Aug. 3, 2009, 5:03 p.m. CST


    by idrinkyourmilkshake

    AWESOME! I can't believe she fessed up to that.Only a TRUE POT smoker would've said that.

  • Aug. 3, 2009, 5:07 p.m. CST

    Remind me why this isn't all in sound-o-text?

    by JuanSanchez

  • Aug. 3, 2009, 5:08 p.m. CST

    knock knock?Who's there?

    by idrinkyourmilkshake


  • Aug. 3, 2009, 5:35 p.m. CST

    I'd have given her my "cigar"...

    by Thrillhouse77

    err..."cigarello" - to be accurate.

  • Aug. 3, 2009, 5:41 p.m. CST


    by axel fff

    That sounds dirty. But detective fiction isn't automatically film noir. And film noir is a whole more than detectives. Learn about your fucking history, Hollywood.

  • Aug. 3, 2009, 6:46 p.m. CST


    by CarlThorMark1978

    Yeah, I love RDJ but this is no better then any of the remakes that we bitch about on this site. This is atypical corporate studio bullshit. Take a well know property like Sherlock Holmes and sexy it up with plenty of action. FUCK THIS SHIT!!! The List of Seven is a fucking fantastic book written by Mark Frost and I can’t believe that it hasn’t been made into a movie yet although Guillermo Del Toro said, in an issue of Fangoria back in 2004, that he had tried to get it made but the failure of Wild Wild West had cooled the studio’s towards big budget period action films.

  • Aug. 3, 2009, 6:52 p.m. CST

    Thanks Quint!!

    by waites

    Nice treat to come home to after a hot long ride home after a long day at work. I always enjoy reading interviews with Downey. The guy has a pretty amazing brain. I am looking forward to this movie alot! I think it will be better than a lot of people are thinking. Anyway.. nice job Quint!

  • Aug. 3, 2009, 7:04 p.m. CST

    a little bit of a real squishy Montecristo Number Two that gave

    by themysticalmisterdisco

  • Aug. 3, 2009, 7:05 p.m. CST

    me goose bumps

    by themysticalmisterdisco

  • Aug. 3, 2009, 8:06 p.m. CST

    This looks like Downey's "Wild Wild West"

    by FeralAngel

    In which a period piece is "manned up" with excess fist fights and bimbos and cussin' and sh*t. I don't know...I prefer a darker, brooding Holmes, not a psuedo-noirish action figure. Ah well. Might be fun. I may partake, I may not. Will be looking forward to the reviews here. I'll get a few laughs and save a few bucks maybe...

  • Aug. 3, 2009, 8:11 p.m. CST

    Pfff...Id let rachel mcadams touch my cigar

    by supercowbell5THECOWBELLHASSPOKEN


  • Aug. 3, 2009, 8:32 p.m. CST


    by lockesbrokenleg

    Have you seen the preview? It even has Holmes doing bullet time in it.

  • Aug. 3, 2009, 9:05 p.m. CST

    Axel fff

    by Continentalop

    Looks like someone read my interview with Eddie Muller. <P> But 100% right. Sherlock Holmes is far away from noir. He is 100% righteous and without any moral quandary. <p> Quint, I like you, but you were full of shit in this interview. <p> Still love AMAW though.

  • Aug. 3, 2009, 10:10 p.m. CST

    I want to see a Kiss Kiss Bang Bang sequel

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    Hollywood would greenlight ANYTHING with Downey in it right now, so strike while the iron is hot!<BR><BR>"If yu looked in the dictionary, under the word 'idiot'''"<BR><BR>"There'd be a picture of me?"<BR><BR>"No. There'd be the definition of the word 'idiot', which is what you fucking ARE!"

  • Aug. 3, 2009, 10:10 p.m. CST

    "You", obviously.

    by Nasty In The Pasty

  • Aug. 3, 2009, 11:36 p.m. CST

    Montecrsto #2s are the best in the world.

    by JuanSanchez

  • Aug. 4, 2009, 2:20 a.m. CST

    For all 3 of us Russell Mulcahy fans...

    by Sherlock Holmes II

    ...I just looked at his imdb page, and it says, after 2 years in pre-production, that 'Zen in the Art of Slaying Vampires' is now in production, status updated '28th July 2009'. Looks like that Van Damme/Vinnie Jones 'Weapon' movie has been called off. I found that out after stumbling upon a JCVD forum. Cheeyoz!

  • Aug. 4, 2009, 3:42 a.m. CST

    "So, Gay Perry... Still gay?"

    by David Cloverfield

    "Nah, I'm knee deep in the pussy, I just love the name so much, I don't want to get rid of it." Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is fucking awesome. They should re-release it in more theaters now that RDJ is hot again. There's an awesome Downey franchise with a cult following, but only a few people saw it. Then make a sequel.

  • Aug. 4, 2009, 7:14 a.m. CST

    Holmes was meant to be an expert fighter

    by lex romero

    So I really have no problem with the fight scenes looking good rather than being stiff awkward shit like they had in the 50s tv series. Hell he was even meant to have a talent for a form of western martial arts that involves fighting with a walking stick. <br><br>I'm pretty sure Lord of the Rings only spent a couple of pages describing the battles and they sounded pretty tame whilst the other 800 pages were dedicated to describing the trees, but no one bitched about the battles being expanded and made all epic. People have such selective bitching.

  • Aug. 4, 2009, 10:56 a.m. CST

    Quint, you creep me out....

    by D.Vader

    With that "You can put your weeeeeeed in there...." <p> I'm trying to picture your delivery for that and it weirds me out.

  • Aug. 4, 2009, 11:36 a.m. CST

    RDJ plays the same character in every movie

    by ZombieHeathLedger

    He's "not an actor he's a moviestar!"

  • Aug. 4, 2009, 11:54 a.m. CST


    by CarlThorMark1978

    The one that Peter Weller get’s into a conversation with at the police station, “say, Rachel, would you do me a favor and rub some of this sour candy powder on my huge faggotlips”.

  • Aug. 4, 2009, 12:10 p.m. CST

    as much as i love RDJ, if this movie actually manages

    by jackknifed_juggernaut

    to avoid FAIL, it'll be due to Law's Watson. from what i've seen of this project, he's the only part which seems 'right.'

  • Aug. 4, 2009, 1 p.m. CST

    CTM, re: what Quint sounds like

    by D.Vader

    I actually kind of pictured him like Jon Stewart as the crazy paranoid stoner in "Half Baked". <p> "You ever look at the back of a $5 bill... on WEEEEEEEEED before?"

  • Aug. 4, 2009, 2:18 p.m. CST

    "Gay" Sherlock Holmes?

    by WealthyPeasant

    That's what "NY Post" is reporting: