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Pitt — the New Moriarty?


Sylph

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A "Sherlock Holmes" sequel is afoot.

Three months ahead of the release of its Robert Downey Jr. action pic, Warners is developing a new installment.

The studio is poised to bring on Kieran and Michele Mulroney, the scribes who are penning its "Justice League: Mortal" tentpole, to pen a draft of the new tale. Brad Pitt has had discussions with producers to star as Holmes' nemesis Moriarty in the new pic, say people familiar with the project, though there is no deal in place for him to take the part.

Susan Downey, Dan Lin and Joel Silver produced "Holmes," a holiday release that, from well-received footage at Comic-Con, appeared to be an action-heavy rendition of the world Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created.

Guy Ritchie helms the pic, and Downey stars as the title character; Jude Law plays protege Watson, and Rachel McAdams stars as love interest Irene Adler. Much of the talent is expected to return in the new pic, as could Ritchie as director.

Pitt has been the subject of a litany of blog rumors as appearing in several shots of "Holmes" as Moriarty, but those familiar with the script say the character is in shadow and cannot be recognized.

Michael Robert Johnson, Anthony Peckham, Lionel Wigram and Simon Kinberg all worked on the screenplay for the first pic, which is set in the world of Holmes but creates a new story and challenges for the iconic characters. It's unclear whether the new pic would also invent a new story or draw more from previous Conan Doyle material.

Pitt, repped by CAA and Brillstein Entertainment, most recently of course starred in "Inglourious Basterds" and is on board to star in Columbia's revamped "Moneyball," among other projects.

In addition to the ensemble superhero pic "Justice league," the Mulroneys, repped by CAA and Management 360, wrote and directed "Paper Man," the superhero-tinged dramedy starring Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Daniels that opened the Los Angeles Film Festival this year.

It's increasingly common for a studio to begin developing sequels ahead of a movie's release, enabling a second pic to get into production faster than it normally would, and at a comparatively low cost. Warners began pushing "The Hangover," as the movie's prerelease buzz began to grow, though did not close deals until after the movie had begun raking in boxoffice dollars.

Warners is keen on developing new franchises, with Holmes -- with its broad fan base and rich source material -- considered a very appealing candidate. The project would also mean Downey would star in a second franchise, after "Iron Man," while DreamWorks could build yet another franchise around him with "Cowboys & Aliens."

Steven Zeitchik reported from New York; Jay A. Fernandez reported from Los Angeles.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/film/news/e3i2abb9d0f8f4b8fdc99be642eda6424df

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