Two and a half months before Elementary premieres on CBS, the pilot screened to a packed ballroom here at Comic-Con and it was all about the woman. Lucy Liu to be specific. The actress and her casting as Joan Watson in the Sherlock Holmes modernization attracted a lot of attention when it was announced in February. But to today’s applauding Comic-Con crowd Liu, who plays a sober companion to the recovering addict Holmes, seemed as natural to the Holmes iconography as the Facebook, cell phone records, drug addiction and New York Mets references in the pilot. It continued during the panel that followed. “We love you” cried out a fan at the back of the hall as Liu responded to an audience question concerning criticism about her casting. “I think the gender change creates a dynamic and chemistry that you don’t see in the films and the BBC series,” said Liu earlier to applause, “I’m not saying it’s romantic but it’s little bit of tingle.” Liu and Elementary’s Holmes, Jonny Lee Miller, were joined on the panel by executive producers Robert Doherty and Carl Beverly. “Lucy was hired because she’s a great actor,” said Beverly to big cheers. Doherty told the crowd that turning Watson into a woman was an essential part of his version of the detective but not to create a romance. “Holmes doesn’t’ quite get the fairer sex, so it made me wonder what would be more trying for Sherlock Holmes to live with a Watson who was a women, but it shouldn’t make a difference, it’s the bond between the two of them.” Elementary debuts on September 27th at 10 PM.
Robert Downey Jr. Asks Hollywood To ‘Forgive’ Mel Gibson While Accepting American Cinematheque Award
The American Cinematheque tribute to Robert Downey Jr last night held might have been unthinkable just a few years ago when the actor was hopelessly hooked on drugs, destroying his career and winding up in prison. But if there is anything Hollywood loves, it is redemption – and a second (or third or fourth) chance. That’s something Downey received and ran with largely thanks to his wife Susan who put him on the right course and hasn’t let him fall off since. With a hot career thanks to a second Oscar nomination for Tropic Thunder and blockbuster franchises like Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes, Downey not only turned around his career, he fixed his life and now he’s reaping the rewards as evidenced by the great turnout on Friday night at the Beverly Hilton. But the evening took a serious turn when Downey made an impassioned plea to Hollywood to “forgive” his friend Mel Gibson who was on hand to present him with the award. “Unless you are without sin – and if you are, you are in the wrong [expletive] industry, you should forgive him and let him work,” Downey said to much applause.
The undisputed highlight of the night came when previously unannounced guest Mel Gibson appeared. Gibson and Downey Jr co-starred in Air America and Gibson’s unwavering support of Downey during his darkest hours was well-documented at the time. Gibson brought up Downey to accept the award to a standing ovation and said, “He taught me many things and I will use the ‘C’ word, courage. There’s nothing so much wrong with him. Of course you have to worry about the guy making the judgement here. He’s a good dude with a good heart.”
“This is my fuckin’ time,” Downey said. “Mel and I have the same lawyer, same publicist and same shrink. I couldn’t get hired and he cast me. He said if I accepted responsibility – he called it hugging the cactus – long enough, my life would take meaning. And if he helped me, I would help the next guy. But it was not reasonable to assume the next guy would be him.” Downey then went to on to hug Gibson and urge people to let Mel continue his career without shame.
It was a star-studded event, to be sure. Jack Black called Downey a “stone cold stud muffin” while Michael Douglas (looking great) said working with Robert Downey Jr on The Wonder Boys was “something special.
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of TCA
At an afternoon TCA panel promoting the new season of PBS’ Masterpiece series, exec producer Rebecca Eaton was asked to explain a story in Britain’s Daily Mail that charged the acclaimed period drama Downton Abbey (recently nominated for 11 Primetime Emmys) lost two hours of content in its journey from the UK to America. Sounding unusually contentious, the typically unflappable Eaton explained, “I’m glad you brought this up. This was a story in the Daily Mail. Do I have to say anything more? And they got it wrong and they made a big deal out of it, that we’d taken two hours out. It wasn’t true. Our version was overall 20 or 25 minutes shorter and had to do with (advertising) and the need for different formatting. We didn’t chop it up to make it more palatable to the dummies in the American audience — as it was implied.” Eaton was quick to add, “By the way, that reporter’s name was Christopher Hastings.”
I already reported this, but here’s the official Warner Bros announcement: