If there was one thing you could count on when Sherlock Holmes went up against Professor Moriarty in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s tales of the quintessential sleuth, it’s that Moriarty, that arch-nemesis, could be back at any time for the next adventure. So it was all but inevitable that he would turn up in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, the follow-up to Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes.
Portraying Moriarty in A Game of Shadows is Jared Harris, whose storied career currently has him best known for playing Lane Pryce in AMC’s Mad Men. According to Harris, he was understandably excited to play “arguably the first uber-villain in modern literature, which was quite daunting. He has to operate on a level that justifies Sherlock Holmes’ high opinion of him in terms of the magnitude of the threat he represents. You have to believe he is as smart as Holmes — perhaps smarter — like a grandmaster in chess who is able to think several moves ahead of his opponent. But the fact is he’s a sick sociopath … which made him a lot of fun to play,” Harris laughs.
In A Game of Shadows, Moriarty targets Watson (Jude Law) and his bride-to-be, Mary (Kelly Reilly), as part of his plan to defeat Holmes once and for all. It’s a deliciously evil role, and one that producer Lionel Wigram was glad to see Harris win. “Jared plays Moriarty with a wonderful combination of charm and menace,” he explains. “He can appear very demure and kind, but there’s also a mad glint in his eye, so he conveys the different sides of Moriarty: respected university professor and friend to the rich and powerful, and the diabolical mastermind of a massive criminal enterprise, who sees how industrialization is changing the landscape and is exploiting it to his own ends in a way no one else would fathom. That’s his genius.”
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is available starting June 12 on Video On Demand. Check your cable system for availability.
© 2012 Warner Bros. Pictures