"No offence, kid, but my anti-mind-control headgear looked WAY less stupid."


"No offence, kid, but my anti-mind-control headgear looked WAY less stupid."

MR. HOLMES

The Abridged Script

FADE IN:

EXT. COZY SEASIDE BEE FARM FULL OF BEES

IAN McKELLEN is a roughly bajillion-year-old SHERLOCK HOLMES. He lives with his war-widowed housekeeper LAURA LINNEY and her son MILO PARKER.

IAN MCKELLEN

Milo, my superhuman detective powers lead me to believe you broke into my room, which was a dumbass thing to do considering you’re well aware of my superhuman detective powers.

MILO PARKER

Sure, I went in there and I nosed through your private writings. And I’m not the least bit abashed or remorseful about it. I suppose my brattishness is going to earn me some of your legendary aloof disdain?

IAN MCKELLEN

Naw, you’re okay in my book, you little rascal!

(chuckles, tousles Milo’s hair)

LAURA LINNEY

What the bloomin’ ’eck? Fatherly affection? What ’appened to the egomaniacal sociopath from every single other portrayal of Sherlock ’olmes?

IAN MCKELLEN

EXCUSE ME, if I wanted the help to speak I’d write out something halfway intelligent and then order you to say it.

LAURA LINNEY

’Ang on, why am I the only person you’ll be an insufferable tosser to?

IAN MCKELLEN

I’m just pissed off that you and your atrocious accent got the female lead of this movie ahead of any number of actual English actresses. It would have been perfect for Emily Watson or Olivia Williams or Emily Mortimer or Sally Hawkins, but no, I guess we needed somebody with the staggering box office clout of Laura Fucking Linney.

MILO PARKER

So while I was rifling through your stuff I saw that you’re writing a Sherlock Holmes mystery. Are you trying to piece together the one elusive case that you could never solve and which has hounded you through the years?

IAN MCKELLEN

Exactly! Sort of! Well, no. Actually it’s a case I solved in about half an afternoon, but now I’ve got senile dementia and I don’t remember how it went.

MILO PARKER

Oh. Well that could still be interesting! Sherlock Holmes using his detective skills on himself, finding hints and clues that reveal what he himself did years ago!

IAN MCKELLEN

Hey, that does sound interesting! But instead I’m just going to occasionally have random chunks of the story click back into my memory without any investigating going on at all.

MILO PARKER

Ugh, fine, let’s make with the flashbacks then.

INT. NOT 221B BAKER STREET

NOT-QUITE-AS-DECREPIT IAN receives a visit from prospective client PATRICK KENNEDY.

PATRICK KENNEDY

So I see we’re claiming that Sherlock Holmes didn’t actually live at 221B. What the hell, man? That’s been a constant. Cushing lived at 221B. Downey did. Cumberbatch does. Hell, even Dr. House did, and he was just a very loose collection of sly references.

IAN MCKELLEN

Oh, Watson just put in a fake address. Those stories were mostly wrong! You think I smoked a pipe? Piffle! And my asshole persona? Balderdash! And all that high adventure with chases and derring-do? Made up! Why, if I ever wrote my own accounts of my cases they’d be vastly different.

PATRICK KENNEDY

But you narrated “The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier” and “The Adventure of the Lion’s Mane” and they were both very consistent with-

IAN MCKELLEN

Uh, those were made up too! Basically any time you see a discrepancy from the original stories, remind yourself: Arthur Conan Doyle wrong, this movie right.

PATRICK KENNEDY

Oh great. So instead of going the regular fan fiction route, where the author supports their alternate interpretation with possible clues from the source material, we’re going the “Wicked” route where you just point at the source material and go “nuh uh”.

IAN MCKELLEN

Look pal, do you have a case for me or what?

PATRICK KENNEDY

Right, that. My wife Hattie Morahan was depressed after two miscarriages, so to help take her mind off it I paid for her to have lessons in some giant glass music instrument that looks like something that’d be played by a character from Dune. But that just made her more fixated, so I stopped the lessons. But she’s still been going to her teacher’s building and writing her cheques, despite both of them insisting the lessons have stopped! So, will you take the case?

IAN MCKELLEN

Huh? What case? Is there even a little bit of a mystery here?

PATRICK KENNEDY

Sure there is! You can call it “The Adventure of the Woman Who Was Obviously Just Doing a Thing and Then Lying About It, But Her Husband Paid a Detective to Investigate It Anyway”.

IAN MCKELLEN

Fine then, I’ll just follow your wife to RUN-TIME ERROR ’53’ MEMORY NOT FOUND

EXT. APIARY (BEE PLACE)

IAN MCKELLEN

Doop! Stupid old-man memory. Guess we’ll just have to do some non-flashback stuff until it kicks back in.

MILO PARKER

So what vaguely metaphorical bonding activity are you and I going to get up to here in the main timeline?

IAN MCKELLEN

Bees! The only solitary detail Arthur Conan Doyle ever gave about retired Sherlock Holmes was “bees”, so prepare for the bee-keepingest movie this side of Ulee’s Gold! It’ll also provide us with a second mystery: what is causing a sudden spate of bee deaths?

MILO PARKER

Okay, what are our clues?

IAN MCKELLEN

Dead bees. Those are the only clues we ever get. We just keep finding more dead bees.

MILO PARKER

That’s... not much to go on.

IAN MCKELLEN

No, but I think we’ll piece it together in the end. Hmm, what could be causing all these bee deaths, it’s a real puzzler.

(pause)

By the by, did I mention that wasps are evil and have a habit of killing bees?

MILO PARKER

About a thousand times so far, yes.

IAN MCKELLEN

Yes well that’s neither here nor there, just thought I’d randomly shoehorn that fact into another conversation. Now to get back to these super mysterious bee deaths. Hmmmm.

INT. JAPAN, SOMETIME EARLIER BUT NOT THAT MUCH

IAN is meeting with some JAPANESE GUY called HIROYUKI SANADA.

IAN MCKELLEN

What the heck? A third timeline? What’s the deal with this one?

HIROYUKI SANADA

This takes place a couple months back when you took a trip to meet me, a specialist who can help you obtain a special anti-senility plant. Because naturally Sherlock Holmes, hardcore skeptic and fanatical believer in science and logic that he is, is going to trek the globe in pursuit of obscure herbal folk remedies.

IAN MCKELLEN

I already explained how we can feel free to ignore any part of the Holmes canon we feel like. Now, where do we have to go to find this plant? Not on some remote mountaintop or anything like that I hope?

HIROYUKI SANADA

Actually, you’re in luck. It grows right on the outskirts of a particular city. And by a particular city, I mean

EXT. HIROSHIMA, 1945

HIROYUKI SANADA

the smoking ruins of Hiroshima! Seriously, it looks like the bombing was, like, earlier this week. The place is still partially on fire and everything. You’re fine with a little radiation, right?

IAN MCKELLEN

Well this seems in poor taste. Jamming this real, massive tragedy into a throwaway scene in the middle of an elaborate bit of Sherlock Holmes fan fiction? I thought this was an event that Hollywood knew was to be treated with kid gloves.

HIROYUKI SANADA

You do remember that they put Nagasaki in The Wolverine. The movie where I played a guy who dressed up in a samurai costume and tried to sword-fight a couple of mutants, and you cameoed as a magnetic supervillain inviting a metal-clawed berserker to come fight some flying robots.

IAN MCKELLEN

Oh yeah. I guess open season was declared at some point when we weren’t looking. Look carefully, 9/11, this’ll be you someday.

(pause)

By the way, my occasionally-glimpsed detective genius tells me that you’re not actually an expert in this plant thing after all. Explain yourself!

HIROYUKI SANADA

It’s true, it was all a ruse to lure you here. My father was ambassador to England, and one day we got a letter from him that was all, “Sherlock Holmes told me I should stay in England forever, also I can’t send for you for whatever reason, later bitches!”

IAN MCKELLEN

Huh? For one thing, I’ve never heard of that guy, he was clearly just using a random famous name to make his abandonment seem legit. Sorry. But what even was your plan here? Take me into your home, treat me extra nice, actually help me find the plant I’m looking for, and never mention the dad thing? This is, what? Revenge minus the revenge? Getting at the truth except not actually bothering to ask me anything?

HIROYUKI SANADA

Sheesh, I dunno. As far as I can tell I’ve gone to quite a bit of effort to achieve nothing at all. Just never mind this whole thing I guess.

EXT. MUSIC SCHOOL, EARLIER PAST

IAN’S BRAIN jolts back into action and he keeps remembering the mystery about that wife. PAST IAN follows HATTIE MORAHAN to the MUSIC SCHOOL, but instead of heading UPSTAIRS to see the TEACHER, she goes to the BACK YARD.

IAN MCKELLEN

Aha! The teacher was telling the truth, Hattie isn’t taking lessons anymore. She’s actually paying for some talented kid to learn that crazy instrument, and she just sits out back and listens!

(pause)

Wow, that... really wasn’t much of a mystery. What am I going to tell Patrick? “Your wife IS secretly obsessing over that instrument still, but in a SLIGHTLY different way than we thought”? Screw it, even though the mystery’s totally wrapped up now I’m just going to act like it’s not and keep tailing Hattie.

He follows HATTIE as she visits a PHARMACY.

HATTIE MORAHAN

THANKS FOR THE POISON, MISTER PHARMACIST. I’LL BE CAREFUL NOT TO POISON ANYBODY WITH ALL THIS POISON.

IAN then keeps following her as she goes to a LAWYER.

HATTIE MORAHAN

SO YOU’RE SAYING I CONTINUE TO BE IN PATRICK’S WILL? GOOD TO KNOW THAT NOTHING HAS CHANGED VIS-A-VIS ME GETTING ALL HIS MONEY IF HE WERE TO SUDDENLY BE DEAD.

Next she forges PATRICK’S SIGNATURE to get some of his money from the BANK, and then she gives the money to some MYSTERIOUS DUDE at the TRAIN STATION.

HATTIE MORAHAN

IT’S NOT CLEAR WHAT THAT WAS ALL ABOUT, BUT IT SURE WAS SINISTER AND JUST MIGHT HAVE SOMETHING TO DO WITH HUSBAND-POISONING.

IAN MCKELLEN

Funny how the day I follow her happens to be the day she had scheduled for her Parade of Unsubtle and Obvious Clues. Somehow I get the sneaking suspicion that it all might have been put on for my benefit.

HATTIE MORAHAN

No shit, Sherlock.

IAN finally confronts HATTIE at a park bench, whepark bench, whepark bench, whexpflj9qqr%

INT. IAN’S STUDY

IAN MCKELLEN

Blagh, there we go again. Once again we putter around until my brain gets back into order and the story resumes. At least I’m handily recalling events in a nice chronological order.

LAURA LINNEY

Tell me luv, what kind of senile dementia are we talking about ’ere? Are we doing that pared-down ’Ollywood version where you’re completely confused and doddering when we want to do drama, and totally lucid when we want to move the story along, with basically no middle ground?

IAN MCKELLEN

(slack-jawed, blinking)

Pluh? Senile de-what-tia? Who are you? What’s going on? Why are there bees everywhere?

(snaps out of it)

Oh, it’s YOU. Go stand in the closet til you’re needed.

LAURA LINNEY

I suspected as much.

(goes stands in closet)

MILO PARKER

Meanwhile our bee mystery is moving along nicely. Our latest clue is additional dead bees! Not too long from now I single-handedly figure out the solution - and I hope you’re ready, because this is going to blow your mind - the bees were killed by WASPS!

IAN MCKELLEN

HOLY SHIT! Impressive work, Milo, you are a bright lad.

MILO PARKER

And as soon as I find the wasps’ nest, instead of coming in and getting advice from the genius wasp expert, I just dump a bunch of water on a thousand angry insects and nearly get My Girled to death.

IAN MCKELLEN

...I take back that previous remark. Anyway, you go do all that, I’ll see if I can remember the rest of the story about Mr. Sanada and his wife.

MILO PARKER

What? You mean Mr. KENNEDY and his wife, right? Sanada is the Japanese guy.

IAN MCKELLEN

Oh. Right. Uh.

MILO PARKER

Oh my God, hold it! That Freudian slip makes it all fall into place! The husband in this mystery is HIROYUKI’S DAD! You just remembered him as “Mr. Kennedy” because that’s the fake name that John Watson used in his highly fictionalized account of the events. So the reason Hiroyuki’s father never returned from England was because he met Hattie and decided to marry her! It all fits! AND it explains why we bothered with the Japan flashbacks in the first place!

IAN MCKELLEN

A fascinating deduction! I bet a lot of the audience is piecing it together right now and is really interested to see where this revelation leads us.

(pause)

But, eh heh, funny thing... that wasn’t actually a Freudian slip, just a random senile brain fart. So, yeah, none of what you just said is anything.

MILO PARKER

...

IAN MCKELLEN

Sorry if the dramatic pause we put in there made you think it was of some kind of significance.

MILO PARKER

Just remember the rest of the story you useless old fart.

EXT. PARK, THE PAST

IAN finally confronts HATTIE at a park bench, where they talk for a while about BEES because this movie suffers from a severe deficiency in BEES.

HATTIE MORAHAN

By the by, I found your card in my husband’s coat last night and I know exactly who you are.

IAN MCKELLEN

Oh for God’s sake. Look, let’s suppose for a second that I wasn’t the world’s greatest detective, and I still hadn’t realized that your earlier clues were staged for my sake. Even if I were that witless, SURELY I’d have to figure it out when you straight-up tell me “I’ve known a detective was investigating me the whole time!”

HATTIE MORAHAN

Huh. Yeah, there was really no reason for me to have mentioned that, was there. That was not smart.

IAN MCKELLEN

So anyway, I did my smug one-glance analysis of that guy you met at the train station. Turns out he's a stonemason. And putting that together with some stuff Patrick said earlier, I came to the conclusion you were paying him to make up gravestones for your miscarried children - and for YOURSELF!

HATTIE MORAHAN

Curses, you’ve found me out! Yes, I planned to poison myself and make it look like I did it accidentally whilst trying to kill Patrick. Because apparently I figure suicide is a way worse official story than incompetent murder attempt.

IAN MCKELLEN

Just a small suggestion: next time you kill yourself and try and make it look like an accident, you might want to forego ORDERING YOUR OWN TOMBSTONE IN ADVANCE. That could be just a leeetle bit of a tipoff.

HATTIE MORAHAN

Say, you seem like one of the few people who would understand the overdramatic, bug-crazy loneliness I’m going through. Let’s run away together, random old man I just met!

IAN MCKELLEN

Uh. That might not be an entirely healthy solution? I dunno.

HATTIE MORAHAN

Wrong answer! You have failed me, Ian! EAT CRIPPLING GUILT!

(throws herself in front of speeding train)

IAN MCKELLEN

I am so not getting paid for this one.

INT. IAN’S STUDY

IAN MCKELLEN

I remember it all now! I was so racked with guilt over my failure to save Hattie that I retired from detecting and fell into despair. If only I’d been more sensitive to her suffering! At least I’ll know not to make that mistake next time I meet a woman clearly under strain and struggling with grief.

LAURA LINNEY

(glares)

MILO PARKER

Look Ian, this chick planned to frame herself for murder so she could die and be reunited with her fucking miscarriages. Clearly she was a total fruitcake with extra nuts smothered in crazy sauce. You probably shouldn’t beat yourself up because you didn’t spontaneously figure out the magic combination of words that would un-bonkers her.

(pause)

And really, did we have to become the one millionth Sherlock Holmes fic to have his life profoundly changed by a woman?

IAN MCKELLEN

Hey, at least it wasn’t another sexed-up butchering of Irene Adler. Anyhow, Watson helped me recuperate, but when he wrote the story he mangled it into something more appropriate for his dumb fictional version of me. In the end, after all those years, Watson didn’t know me at all.

MILO PARKER

Oh FUCK OFF. You’re going after the relationship between you and Watson now? The fucking bedrock of the entire property? The thing that’s formed the emotional core of every fucking Sherlock Holmes story since the dawn of time? You’re gonna look me in the eye and tell me that John Watson died having never really known you?

IAN MCKELLEN

...No. As a matter of fact, he’s not dead after all. NOW, WATSON!

DR. JOHN WATSON bursts in through a WINDOW and SEIZES MILO!

JOHN WATSON

Good work, Holmes! And now, “Milo”, let’s see who you REALLY are!

He rips off MILO’S MASK to reveal... PROFESSOR JAMES MORIARTY!

IAN MCKELLEN

Aha! So, Moriarty, my plan to feign senility in order to uncover your plot to raise an army of killer bees has worked!

JAMES MORIARTY

Grrr! And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for you meddling nonagenarians!

LAURA LINNEY

What the bloody bollocks is goin’ on? None of this was in the movie!

JOHN WATSON

Oh well you see, the movie got a lot of details wrong for the sake of drama. This abridged script tells the ACTUAL story of what REALLY happened.

IAN MCKELLEN

(flips off entire movie)

HOW DO YOU LIKE IT, ASSHOLES?!

END.

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