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Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly bring out the comedy in Sherlock and Watson

An upcoming comedic take on Sherlock Holmes and Watson will add to the mountain of modern film and TV projects about the famous characters, including the 2015 movie 'Mr. Holmes' and the still-continuing TV series 'Sherlock' and 'Elementary.'

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    John C. Reilly (l.) speaks during a ceremony honoring Will Ferrell (r.) with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, in 2015 in Los Angeles.
    Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP/File
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Pairing stars Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly again seems to be elementary for studio Sony as a Sherlock Holmes movie starring the comedy duo is moving forward.

Mr. Ferrell and Mr. Reilly, who have appeared together in films including “Talladega Nights” and “Stepbrothers,” will reportedly star together in a comedic take on the Holmes stories. 

Etan Cohen, who wrote the screenplay for “Men in Black 3” and co-wrote the film “Tropic Thunder,” is set to direct the new Holmes story.

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Viewers seem to have endless capacity for Sherlock Holmes stories. On the small screen, offerings include the British TV show “Sherlock,” starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman and the CBS show “Elementary,” starring Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu, both still producing new episodes.

The 2015 movie “Mr. Holmes” starred Ian McKellen as the detective, while the 2011 movie “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” starring Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, and Rachel McAdams, was itself a follow-up to the 2009 box office hit.

It sounds like those behind the upcoming comedy film with Ferrell and Reilly are hoping this familiarity will help the project rather than hurt it, however. “The feeling is those iterations have stoked worldwide awareness for the characters, and hopefully will create an appetite for a full-out comic version of the super sleuths, anchored by a couple of stars who are two for two in the hit column together,” writes Mike Fleming Jr. for Deadline.

And what accounts for the continuing popularity of Holmes and Watson? Mr. Cumberbatch told the Telegraph recently, “I think it’s to do with [author Arthur] Conan Doyle’s extraordinary invention, which has a universal appeal to all nationalities. This is a man who’s an outsider, who’s intelligent, who doesn’t tolerate mediocrity, who is incredibly efficient, but also has his weaknesses and comeuppances.  I think the ability to turn the mundane, average and normal into a pop-up world of potential adventure … is that you never know where it’s going to lead. There’s an endless amount of potential adventure.”

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