Ian McKellen to play Sherlock Holmes

The Hobbit star will play a retired Holmes, haunted by an unsolved case, in a new British film

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Ian McKellen is to become the latest in a long line of celebrated British actors to portray the world’s most famous fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes.

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McKellen will play Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s creation in upcoming feature film A Slight Trick of the Mind. 

Directed by Bill Condon, the movie is adapted from Mitch Cullin’s novel of the same name, which sees a retired and aged Holmes eking out his remaining years in a remote Sussex farmhouse, keeping bees and grappling with his waning mental powers, until a 50-year-old unsolved case returns to haunt him.

A Slight Trick of the Mind is a collaboration between BBC Films and AI, the production arm of Icon Films in the UK.

McKellen is currently starring in the Hobbit trilogy alongside Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch, the two stars of BBC1’s Sherlock. Completing the showbiz circle, Condon recently directed Cumberbatch in WikiLeaks movie The Fifth Estate.


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