'Sherlock Holmes' to investigate the bigscreen

It’s elementary, my dear Watson — reimagine Sherlock Holmes as an action-adventure sleuth and you may uncover a new film franchise.

Warner Bros. Pictures is teaming with producer Lionel Wigram to adapt Wigram’s upcoming comicbook “Sherlock Holmes” for the bigscreen. Neil Marshall (“The Descent”) will helm, while tyro scribe Michael Johnson penned the script.

“Sherlock” is expected to be Marshall’s next directing project, as the studio is eager to push ahead. Helmer is currently lensing “Doomsday” for Rogue Pictures.

Exact storyline is being kept under wraps, but creative execs at Warners say they are looking for the “Sherlock” team to reinvent the sleuth and his loyal No. 2 Dr. Watson in much the same edgy way that Christopher Nolan has reimagined Batman for Warners.

Wigram, a former Warners creative exec who oversaw the first three “Harry Potter” pics and who now has a first-look deal with the studio, intends to play up parts of the detective’s character that have been largely overlooked when adapting Arthur Conan Doyle’s books for other media.

Wigram’s vision has Holmes losing some of his Victorian stuffiness and being more adventuresome, including playing up his skills as a bare-knuckle boxer and expert swordsman as he goes about solving crimes.

Marshall, Johnson and Wigram are all Brits, like Holmes, who has likely been portrayed on film and TV more than any other fictional character. By some accounts, more than 75 actors have played the pipe-puffing, practical-minded London detective in 200 films and TV shows since 1900.

Studio and Wigram are working closely with the Conan Doyle estate. The Holmes character is in the public domain in the U.S. and most other countries, but there were still rights issues for Warners to work out. Those issues have been closed.

Wigram, who worked on the “Harry Potter” pics while at Warners, developed his “Sherlock Holmes” comicbook as a selling tool for the movie. Comicbook will likely be published to coincide with the release.

Marshall was last in theaters with “The Descent” from Lionsgate.

He and Johnson and repped by Paradigm.

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