Guy Ritchie

Guy Ritchie

Guy Ritchie is back in the director's chair for Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, which is out on DVD & Blu-Ray this week.

The movie reunited him with Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law, who reprised their roles of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson.

- How collaborative an experience is it making the Sherlock Holmes movies?

Everyone has an equal part in creating what we think an audience will like and what we think is exciting. This might be overstating it but it’s a powerhouse of creativity.

I don’t think anyone really trumps another creative individual in this mix. It’s really a question of harnessing all of those ideas. I’m not sure any one of us can take the credit for having any particular idea.

- What about if someone comes up with an idea that’s not so good?

Someone might come up with a bad idea and get ridiculed, then you realise it was the bad idea that led to a good idea - so there’s no such thing as a bad idea. I think it’s important that we just keep the format open so everyone can keep throwing in ideas, and those ideas gestate or they don’t; they gestate or they die according to the creative team.

I very much like being a part of that. I feel as though once any one of us tries to take ownership of a concept they become alienated by the group. That sort of happens organically and because we’ve all got egos we all do it.

But then when you get excited by the creative process what tends to be happen is everyone relaxes, and then as soon as no-one’s trying to own anything that’s the best of all of our work - when no-one’s claiming ownership over any idea. Five or six brains work as one - that’s when it works most efficiently.

So at what time and at what point anyone came up with any single idea I have to say that no-one did. Joel and Lionel [Silver and Wigram, the producers] got the momentum going to make the films, and then thereafter it became a living organism as a creative mind. We just tap into that to make these two things happen. 

- Is it true you weren’t happy with the Game Of Shadows script at first?

The script was so rough, which some of us found quite frustrating at times because we didn’t think it was the film that we really wanted to make, but it got broken down and rebuilt.

- How did Stephen Fry react to having to be naked on screen?

I thought it was going to be an issue - we all thought it was going to be an issue - when we were presented with the pages and at the end it said he’s naked. But Stephen turned up on the day naked.

There was no great resistance - rather like getting Robert [Downey Jr] into a dress; I’ve got a sneaking suspicion it could have been his idea. Anyway, Stephen turned up to work without any clothes on, so it went from there and there was no work on my part

- Did you always want Fry as Mycroft?

Robert and I have a mutual friend - that chap Chris Martin out of Coldplay - and he’s a Sherlockian, very enthusiastic about the whole thing, as is Stephen Fry. And it was Chris’s idea to cast him.

- The action scenes must have been grueling?

Some of them would last for two weeks and the actors would work eight or ten hours a day repeating the same stunt. No-one asks a professional athlete to do that amount of work, and consequently they [Downey Jr, Jude Law and Noomi Rapace] were constantly on a diet and constantly on an exercise routine.

Just the warm-up itself used to go on for an hour, cool down goes on for an hour, and then they have 10 hours in between - and that went on for week after week.

It’s almost impossible to appreciate how much you want out of them physically - never mind the other aspects, just the physical aspect was very, very demanding.

- Was there a reason you didn’t shoot the film in 3D?

I am a fan of 3D movies and I am a bit of a film geek so I like the technical aspect of filming a lot. Actually I did try and push this for 3D. The main reticence was that there was a lot of 3D coming out; it felt almost tired at the time that we were embarking on this.

I am a fan of anything that’s innovative, but at the time it just didn’t feel that innovative. I think if we’d just gone a bit earlier then I would have pushed harder.

- Do you feel constrained by working in the mainstream?

Funnily enough I don’t at all. Filmmaking’s changed, as we all know, and indie movies have been somewhat muscled out in quite a conspicuous fashion. Who’s responsible for that and why that is the case I’m not sure.

At the same time I still see myself as an indie filmmaker and I certainly got no resistance from the studio in terms of trying anything there we thought was innovative - they really encouraged it. Filmmaking, particularly at a blockbuster level, has absorbed a sort of indie influence.

I think that’s the upside of the position that we found ourselves in. Big movies are becoming increasingly more interesting. Well, some of them are and some of them aren’t. It’s an interesting time in film history and I do feel that these big movies can be very interesting. So no, I don’t feel constrained at all.

- How much thought goes into the look of these movies?

We spend a lot of time on the general aesthetic, but it’s something that just evolved. Philippe Rousselot [the director of photography] and myself sat down and we went through a plethora of mixed formats to come up with something that we hope is original.

It should look somewhat antiquated but at the same time you’ve got all the benefits of the technical evolution with film, so we spent a good deal of time coming up with the aesthetic.

- Can you tell us a little about your collaboration with composer Hans Zimmer?

Hans and I were both very much in synch on this film. We like the same kind of music as well. It was an extension. Hans really enjoyed the first one and on the second one he went off to Romania for a month and recorded the lion’s share of the score in Romania.

Although he’s very prolific he really is the real thing. He’s one of those guys who got into the business for all the right reasons and he’s still in this business for all the right reasons. He’s a true creative person and a pleasure to work with, and his enthusiasm is contagious. I can’t speak highly enough of Hans Zimmer.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is released on DVD & Blu-ray 14th May

Click to buy: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows DVD

Click to buy: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows Blu-Ray