The estate of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has threatened to kill any potential sequel to the hit film Sherlock Holmes if it suggests that the famous detective and his associate Dr. Watson were secretly gay lovers.
In a recent appearance on The Late Show With David Letterman, Sherlock Holmes star Robert Downey Jr. suggested there might be a “homoerotic subtext” in the relationship between Holmes and Watson, played in the movie by Jude Law. He also asked the audience whether or not Holmes was in fact “a very butch homosexual.”
The comments may have been nothing more than the sort of light-hearted back-and-forth commonplace on late-night talk shows, but they still didn’t go over well with Andrea Plunket, who controls the U.S. copyrights on Sir Arthur’s famous detective tales. She took Downey’s words seriously enough that she issued a warning to director Guy Ritchie: If he pursues that angle in the next film, she’ll pull the rights to the property.
“I hope this is just an example of Mr. Downey’s black sense of humor,” she said. “It would be drastic, but I would withdraw permission for more films to be made if they feel that is a theme they wish to bring out in the future. I am not hostile to homosexuals, but I am to anyone who is not true to the spirit of the books.”