Henry Cavill has been confirmed to play the part of Sherlock Holmes in Legendary’s Enola Holmes, which stars Millie Bobby Brown as Sherlock’s younger sister Enola. In 2006, author Nancy Springer launched a series of young-adult novels starring Sherlock Holmes’ 14-year-old sister, Enola, that took advantage of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic characters.
Back in March, there were reports that Legendary Pictures had signed up to launch an Enola Holmes film franchise. They’d recruited Millie Bobby Brown to take on the starring role, whose success in Stranger Things has turned her into one of Hollywood’s most sought-after young actresses. Enola Holmes is a unique opportunity for Brown, giving her the chance to step up as a major movie actress capable of carrying a franchise. Brown was recently joined by Helena Bonham Carter as Enola’s mother, and it seems Legendary is close to rounding out an all-star cast.
According to Variety, Henry Cavill has signed up to play Sherlock Holmes himself. Production is expected to begin over the summer, with Jack Thorne (His Dark Materials) writing the script and Harry Bradbeer (Killing Eve) stepping into place as director.
In recent years, Cavill has become associated with action franchises rather than more cerebral roles; best known for playing Superman in the DC Extended Universe, and also appearing in Mission: Impossible – Fallout. Fortunately, though, there’s more to Cavill than muscles; as he proved with The Man from U.N.C.L.E., he can pull off suave and charming quite well. It will be interesting to see how Cavill handles the traditionally acerbic Sherlock Holmes, who is, after all, a Victorian Englishman. Meanwhile, Millie Bobby Brown is certainly going to be busy for the foreseeable future. Stranger Things season 3 is due out on July 4, with the Duffer brothers working on what may be a final fourth season. Brown was also reportedly offered a lead role in Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair, although that’s yet to be officially confirmed.
The Sherlock Holmes franchise is now bigger than ever before, and in large part that’s because the copyright for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic stories expired back in 2014. Although Conan Doyle himself died in 1930, for 84 years his heirs retained the copyright and profited from any adaptation. The Conan Doyle estate attempted to argue that a copyright claim could persist on a character, even though the works depicting said character had fallen out of copyright. It wound up in court, where they lost, and Sherlock Holmes is now in the public domain.