Mr. Holmes Movie Poster

Trivia for Mr. Holmes

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  • Sir Ian McKellen is the second actor to play both Sherlock Holmes and a Marvel character after Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark, a.k.a. Iron Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe; McKellen played Erik Lehnsherr, a.k.a. Magneto, in the X-Men film franchise. Benedict Cumberbatch, of Sherlock (2010), playing Doctor Strange (2016), would make Cumberbatch the third. Sir Ian McKellen has worked with fellow "Sherlock Holmes" actors Benedict Cumberbatch and Sir Christopher Lee in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies.
  • Sir Ian McKellen (Sherlock Holmes) and Frances de la Tour (Madame Schirmer) appeared in Vicious (2013).
  • Phil Davis (Inspector Gilbert) also played the taxi driver in the first episode of Sherlock (2010).
  • Fourth collaboration between Laura Linney and Director Bill Condon.
  • Bill Condon directed The Fifth Estate (2013), which starred Sherlock (2010) actor Benedict Cumberbatch.
  • Sir Ian McKellen and Hiroyuki Sanada appeared in The Wolverine (2013).
  • This movie originally was titled "A Slight Trick of the Mind", after the Mitch Cullin novel on which it was based, but the filmmakers changed it to the simpler and more accessible "Mr. Holmes".
  • Nicholas Rowe, who plays the Matinee Sherlock, played the title character in Young Sherlock Holmes (1985). In that movie Young Sherlock Holmes (1985), the elder Watson was voiced by Sir Michael Hordern, who previously played Gandalf in the BBC Radio version of The Lord of the Rings. The younger on-screen Watson was played by Alan Cox, whose father Brian Cox appeared with McKellen in X2: X-Men United (2003). In his own portrayal of Gandalf, Sir Ian McKellen worked on The Hobbit trilogy with Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch, fellow Sherlock Holmes alumni. Freeman played Bilbo Baggins, and also plays Watson on Sherlock (2010), and Cumberbatch provided the voice of Smaug and the Necromancer, and portrays Sherlock Holmes on the same show with Freeman.
  • Sir Ian McKellen took a course in beekeeping with The London Honey Company prior to filming. He was not stung during filming.
  • Filming of the beach and cliff scenes took part in Seaford near the Cuckmere River, which also lends its name to the fictional train station to which Holmes travels.
  • Ann is seen looking into the window of a taxidermist owned by Ambrose Chappell. In The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), James Stewart goes to a taxidermist called Ambrose Chappell to look for his kidnapped son.
  • The house in which Holmes lives is on the edge of Winchelsea in Sussex, a medieval walled town rebuilt after old Winchelsea slipped into the sea. Winchelsea is about forty miles from Seven Sisters, where the beach scenes were filmed.
  • Sir Ian McKellen has worked with his close friend Sir Derek Jacobi on such shows as Vicious (2013). Jacobi has narrated many of the Sherlock Holmes audio books. Due to the fact that the novels are told from the perspective of Dr. John Watson, it is fair to say that Sir Derek Jacobi has played Dr. John Watson.
  • Sir Ian McKellen stated in an interview that his costume had very uncomfortable materials, and he chafed in the worst places. Because of this, he is hesitant about reprising his role in future installments.
  • Bill Condon previously directed Sir Ian McKellen in Gods and Monsters (1998), in which McKellen likewise portrayed an older man, James Whale, trying to overcome his failing mental faculties.
  • Sir Ian McKellen observed that it was easy for him to imagine Sherlock Holmes as a real person, since the majority of this movie is set during his own lifetime, and he could have met Sherlock as a boy in 1947, just like Roger.
  • Sir Ian McKellen didn't research Sherlock Holmes stories in preparation for his role. McKellen claimed that he learned his lesson the hard way, making The Lord of the Rings trilogy, that it was nothing more than a distraction, knowing the source material, and constantly questioning what changes were made for the script.
  • According to Holmes, he has been retired for nearly thirty years. Since this movie is set in 1947, Holmes' last case happened in 1918. In the same timeline, Watson should have died in 1921, three years after this professional separation. Since Holmes is ninety-three years old in 1947, it means that he was born in 1854. McKellen was seventeen years younger than his character.
  • One of the locations from this movie is Hatfield House, located in Hertfordshire, England, where it stands as the Diogenes Club. Hatfield House also played a major role in Sherlock Holmes (2009) as the interior of Sir Thomas' house, and the series Agatha Christie's Marple (2004), about yet another Sherlock-like classic literary detective.
  • To simulate age progression, liver spots are placed on Holmes' head. In earlier scenes, they are not there.
  • Milo Parker (Roger Munro) is taught beekeeping by the aged Sherlock Holmes (age ninety-three). In Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (2016), Milo played Hugh, whose special power is controlling bees.
  • This movie is a concept movie about an "old" Sherlock Holmes. In a film-within-the-film, Holmes is played by Nicholas Rowe, who previously starred in Young Sherlock Holmes (1985).
  • The seven hundred fifty acre Wickham Manor Farm estate in East Sussex, where most of the filming was done, was once home to William Penn, who founded Pennsylvania in 1672. Nowadays, the idyllic property is operated as an upmarket Bed and Breakfast.
  • Laura Linney was initially hesitant about accepting her role, as she had just given birth to her son Bennett. However, when she learned that old friend Bill Condon was going to direct, she changed her mind and travelled to England with her infant, whom she breastfed throughout the shoot.
  • Laura Linney and Hiroyuki Sanada appeared in The City of Your Final Destination (2009).
  • The single canonical reference to the age of Sherlock Holmes is in the story His Last Bow, set at the beginning of World War I in August 1914, in which Holmes is described as being sixty-years-old. This would make his year of birth 1854, which would indeed make him ninety-three-years-old in 1947. In W.S. Baring-Gould's "biography" of Holmes, he is supposed to have lived from 1854-1957, dying at the age of one hundred three.
  • There were indeed fears about the Glass Harmonica (invented by Benjamin Franklin), but claims that the instrument was deadly were unfounded as players won't get lead poisoning from touching lead glass. However, its unworldly quality is true, for the sounds produced are of a frequency which the human ear finds hard to locate.
  • In X2: X-Men United (2003), Sir Ian McKellen appeared with Brian Cox. Cox appeared in The Strange Case of Sherlock Holmes & Arthur Conan Doyle (2005), in which he played Dr. Joseph Bell, the real-life model for Holmes.
  • Sir Ian McKellen plays mentor to a character played by Milo Parker. In McKellen: Playing the Part (2017), Milo plays Ian McKellen himself, as a young boy.


  • In the source novel "A Slight Trick of the Mind", young Roger does not survive, but tragically dies from being stung by the wasps he was attacking.
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