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Copyright holder baulks at ‘gay’ Sherlock Holmes film

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  1. Except that as shown in this article by Robbie Hudson in the Times, there is nothing new about a gay Holmes…

  2. I don’t think a gay theme will happen for the sequel, but Downey’s vocality on the homoerotisism is going to spur lots of fan creations (fiction, roleplay, fanvids, art).

  3. “Who’s going to want to see Downey Jr. and Law make out…”
    ME!!! :D And my husband, who is straight. How does Mr. Conservative know what audiences want to see?

    I’ve heard that Sir Conan Doyle intended for Holmes and Watson to have sexual tension and/or that he’s placed subtle hints they are lovers. I’m quite anxious to see it, now ;-)

  4. Why not keep the tension and only develop it a little bit? That’s interesting enough.
    To call homosexual storyline’s a “black sense of humour” just shows how Andrea is covering up her homophobia.

  5. Spike well said. Also the gay themes for Holmes has always been there. Like Batman and Robin in the day.

  6. This is sad…

  7. There has already been a film with this slant. I think it was called The Private life of Sherlock Holmes. In it, Holmes tells an aging Prima ballerina that he and Watson are a couple, so that she will stop persuing him to become the father of her children. Then Watson who is dancing with the other ballerinas, ends up dancing with the guys because they hear he is gay. Very funny scene.
    I think sometimes these people that hold the rights to national institutions like Holmes, ignore the wider appeal. Also homophobia has no place in a modern society. If in the sequel they made Holmes gay, the public would decide whether they agreed or disagreed with it by box office figures. I tink it would be a nice change, ad something new to the Holmes portfolio.

  8. I’m hoping the actors will stand there ground, I don’t want it to be just about Holmes being gay that just boring and not what you want to see. but having it in the background gives it much more depth to the storyline.
    However as I was saying I hope they just don’t do the film if they suddenly butch straight guys at the whore house etc.
    I’m hoping that not just the production company as they will do what they are told as there is money involved, but the actors themselves they are both liberal people and could stop a crappy squeal witch would look bad on there name.

  9. “I am not hostile to homosexuals, but I am to anyone who is not true to the spirit of the books.”

    Er, right, so why don’t you toddle off and make a film that actually is, there’s a good girl.

    Honestly, I saw this film yesterday. It’s good, not great- definitely not in keeping with the ‘spirit of the books’, though, so I don’t know where the hell that cam into it…

  10. eleanargh 4 Jan 2010, 9:24pm

    “Who is going to want to see Downey Jr and Law make out? I don’t think it would be appealing to women.”

    Haaaaa! That’s what you think, even I’d love it and I’m a gay woman.

  11. id love to see Jude Law being rimmed! sorry pink news censor.

  12. especially by a guy with a curvy pipe and a deer stalker!!

  13. Pumpkin Pie 4 Jan 2010, 10:57pm

    To me, Watson is a ladies’ man and Holmes is asexual, so those two getting it on with each other would feel a little weird. But, plenty of homoeroticism would do just fine. :3

  14. I would have thought a gay relationship between Holmes and Watson was very much in the “true to the spirit of the books”.

    Apart from that, I’m always amazed how long copyright protection seems to last. I always thought it was up to 50 years after the author’s death (which was 1930). A Wikipedia search suggests it could be up to 70 years in the UK/EU and USA, but even in that case it would have expired. How the hell is there a copyright holder???

  15. Probably nobody except me is interested, but just in case: it seems copyright has expired in all jurisdictions, but “The Sherlock Holmes Literary Estate” relies on trademark protection from the USA, giving protection on the characters until 2015. Protection from a country where the author never wrote a word, when all protection in the country where he lived, wrote and died ended years ago. Makes me sick.

  16. I find it interesting that the copyright holder talks about “the spirit of sherlock holmes”, given that whilst this film is very enjoyable as a victorian gothic action/mystery, it is NOT sherlock holmes to my mind. I’m a big S.Holmes fan (my favourite TV version is the 1970s/80s version currently being shown lots on ITV3).

  17. Could anyone tip dear Mr Medved as a few Facts of Life in our sad, sad modern world?

    a) There’s such a thing as slash (gay) fanfiction and it’s done mostly by women.

    b) “Women” themselves include homosexual women, bisexual women, asexual women, straight-but-wondering women and, horresco referens, dedicatedly-straight-women-enjoying-gay-fiction. I myself hover between quite a few of these categories (don’t I hate the word) according to the time and moment.

    c) “Brokeback Mountain” and its homoerotic take on the western genre coralled a record number of spectators, male and female, in American and European theaters.

    1. Preach Archea! Preach!

  18. This story is a storm in a teacup.

    There is no substantive “gay subtext” in the film; that is just a joke repeatedly made by RDj.

    And this “US copyright holder, Andrea Plunkett” is nothing of the sort, as can be read here –

    “A recently created web site for “the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Literary Estate” represents Andrea Plunket, the former wife of Sheldon Reynolds, producer of the 1954 television series starring Ronald Howard as Holmes. Reynolds controlled the copyrights in the 1950s. Plunket is proprietor of a guest house in Livingston Manor, New York. Her claims to rights in the Sherlock Holmes stories have been repeatedly rejected in U.S. federal court decisions (including Plunket v. Doyle, No. 99-11006, Southern District of New York, February 22, 2001; Pannonia Farms Inc. v. ReMax International and Jon Lellenberg, No. 01-1697, District of Columbia, March 21, 2005). She has also filed a claim to the name “Sherlock Holmes” as a United States trademark, and it too has been turned down.”

    So it is simply a case of the media, en masse (and with a homophobic agenda?), jumping on a statement by someone who will say or do virtually anything to establish herself as having some sort of voive or relevance to the issue.

    1. Lizzie Sparrow 26 May 2012, 7:39pm

      There is in the second one, tho…

  19. theotherone 5 Jan 2010, 1:15pm

    true spirit of the books? Aren’t both the leads to young for the roles? I don’t remember wrestling in The Casebook of Sherlock holmes or His Last Bow…


  20. They should make a film about two gorgeous lesbian detectives called Shirley Holmes and Joan Watson.

  21. Brian Burton 5 Jan 2010, 1:33pm

    I say Holmes, d’you fancy a bit of slap’n tickle? Elimetary my dear Watson, Slap first then tickle!

  22. How pathetic, haven’t laugh so much for ages. Think these US copyholders need to get a life!

  23. “Watson… I’m working on a theory… I’d like you to pull down my trousers and forcibly insert a medium-sized citrus fruit where the sun never shines”
    “What the devil will that achieve Holmes?”
    ” A-lemon-entry my dear Watson!”
    Sorry, couldn’t resist!

  24. Pumpkin Pie 5 Jan 2010, 7:10pm

    ” A-lemon-entry my dear Watson!”

    I say! Fantastic/10

  25. @theotherone – No, the ages are about right. The canonical Holmes and Watson stories began with them around the age of thirty, and Holmes retired around fifty. It’s virtually every other adaptation that got that wrong. In the books Holmes was a boxer, with martial arts training. This is a surprisingly great film, and while not 100% faithful, it is more so than it is being credited with. I HIGHLY recommend it.

    Holmes and Watson go camping. Having just awoken, they lie side by side, watching the field of stars above fade into a distant dawn.
    “I deduce that we have been visited in the night by a person of criminal tendances, Watson.”
    “Good Lord Holmes, how could you possibly know that?”
    “Watson, they stole the bloody tent!”

  26. theotherone 5 Jan 2010, 9:35pm

    I stand corrected. I presume I have only read the later tales.

  27. theotherone 5 Jan 2010, 9:37pm

    ‘Watson, there’s something affot!’

    ‘Should I bring my revolver Holms?’

    ‘No, just your heavier walking stick and that large tub of lubricant.’

  28. B James Watt 6 Jan 2010, 4:33am

    Thank you, graham. It’s been several years since I’ve read the Holmes stories, so I can’t claim to be an expert, but Holmes & Watson were more suited to an action film than most people seem to realize. I haven’t seen the film yet, and from the trailers it seemed a bit garish & explodey, but I appreciated that it holds quit closely to the original text.

    As for a homosexual relationship, I don’t remember anything overt in the text. Watson was married (which doesn’t exclude a gay relationship); and the two are quite close, but I never got any sense of there being a sexual relationship between the two. Perhaps a different reading would yield another result?

    That said, I would appreciate the presence of a platonic but racy sort of flirtation between Holmes & Watson. I could see that sort of thing as being very in keeping with the characters.

  29. Jean-Paul Bentham 6 Jan 2010, 5:06am

    What’s a lemon-entry?

  30. gay holmes movie, who cares? but a porn movie with downey jr and jude law would be good.

  31. Jean Paul – Erm, it’s a bad pun on a famous catchphrase… see this link to Wikipedia

  32. When did Conan Doyle die? Surely copyright is limited to 70 years after his death?

  33. Just looked it up; he died July 1930; so the copyright in the EU should expire this July. Dunno about the USA.

  34. It turns out it’s already out of copyright in the UK, and only the casebook is still in copyright in the USA, and ownership of the copyright is disputed. Plunket’s claims to ownership have been rejected by some courts according to the article below, but she has a website putting her point of view. Some risk involved, so if youwant to make a gay SHerlock film, best avoid showing it in the USA I reckon.


  35. While it seems that men were actually allowed to have the kind of deep emotional attachments to friends that women are still allowed to have without them being erotic, and while Holmes always struck me as utterly asexual and Watson very straight, I’m amused that RDJ’s ease with gay and bi sexuality is seen as so threatening by someone who has sod all to do with the making of any films or ownership of any copyright. A bizarre non-story if ever I saw one.

  36. I can kinda see where this comment is coming from, but still it has more to do with biggotry than keeping to the nature of the story
    It is not fact at all in these stories, some is fabricated and that isn’t sticking to what actually happened
    So what if Sherlock was gay?
    Thats the only reason i would even consider watching the next film (that and the fact Robert D Junior is HOT!) ;)

  37. Oh, come on, first off, If it’s going to make money then there is no chance that they’re not going to make it. So saying anything otherwise is irrelevant. Secondly, I’m personally a fan of gay sherlock holmes I know there’s never going to be a make out scene, (probably xD jk) but I still enjoy the pairing none the less.

  38. I, for one, would LOVE to see Robert & Jude make out (am a woman here)

    sexy as h e double hockey sticks

  39. Um, excuse me, then how is it that John’s gender can be changed and that’s alright? How is that “true to the spirit of the books,” re: Lucy Liu. HYPOCRISY, it’s everywhere.

    1. Wow i never thought of that, you’re so right. The lady’s just ridiculous

  40. Lizzie Sparrow 26 May 2012, 7:33pm

    Clearly Medved has no idea what he’s saying nor has he ever encountered a fan fic blog full of drooling fan girls. Plus in reality, Ms. Plunkett actually has very little if not ANY jurisdiction over what they do with the works of Sir A.C. Doyle. Oh yeah—the gay subtext is not only in the movies, but the canon. At this point, there IS no gay subtext in the movie–it’s now just text. Get a clue.

  41. Not appealing to women? Wtf? Does this guy know anything about women?

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