Ian McKellen is the new Sherlock Holmes

The actor will star in Bill Condon's adaptation of a Mitch Cullin novel

Prachi Gupta
September 5, 2013 6:20PM (UTC)

Beloved Sir Ian McKellen, known to fans as Gandalf, Magneto and confidant of Sir Patrick Stewart, has been charged with his next iconic role: Sherlock Holmes.

The actor will play an aging Holmes in Oscar-winning Bill Condon's film adaptation of “A Slight Trick of the Mind,” a novel by Mitch Cullin. More from the press release:


In 1947, Sherlock Holmes, long retired, lives in a sleepy Sussex village with his housekeeper and her amateur-sleuthing son. But far from living out a peaceful retirement, he is haunted by an unsolved case from fifty years ago. He remembers only fragments: a confrontation with an angry husband, a secret bond with his beautiful but unstable wife.

With his legendary mental powers on the wane, and without his old sidekick Watson, Holmes is faced with the toughest case of his life - a case that might finally reveal to him the mysteries of the human heart.

This will give Benedict Cumberbatch, the reigning Sherlock Holmes (and the star of Condon's WikiLeaks movie, "The Fifth Estate"), a break from solving crimes and fighting injustice. The casting decision introduces a new nerd fantasy, though: A face-off between Cumberbatch and McKellen in a Bill Condon movie.

Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at pgupta@salon.com.

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Acting Benedict Cumberbatch Bill Condon Ian Mckellen Movies Sherlock Holmes

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