Mark Gatiss Strengthen the Brotherly Bonds of Mycroft and Sherlock Holmes

First appeared in totalfilmindonesia.com as “Mark Gatiss mempererat tali persaudaraan Mycroft dan Sherlock Holmes“.

Mark Gatiss Strengthen the Brotherly Bonds of Mycroft and Sherlock Holmes

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Playing the much smarter and more mysterious older brother of a “high functioning psychopath” consulting detective must not really be a walk in the part. But for Mark Gatiss, co-creator, co-writer and actor of BBC’s highly popular crime drama Sherlock, it’s as close to an ideal job as he could get.

One of the perks of being one of the two men in charge (the other being Steven Moffat) in the show, while also also acting in it, is that he gets to “change lines at the last minute without asking anybody.”

During our conversation by phone (Total Film Indonesia was in Jakarta, Gatiss in Liverpool), the actor/writer elaborates: “At the last minute, lots of things which might be difficult otherwise can be arranged quite quickly. It’s also great because I’m there on the set every day anyway even when I’m not acting. It’s very useful to be around and make sure that everyone is fully on board with what we’re trying to do in that particular episode. One of the difficult things about filming is that, when you do things several months apart, people might slightly lose track of where they were. They might start the scene being more emotional or something and you have to keep them on track – ‘You remember the scene before this, you were actually quite angry.’ It’s good to have a complete overview of all three stories.”

But what of building Mycroft as a character? Gatiss, who is a big fan of the Arthur Conan Doyle books, has already said that his version of Mycroft Holmes took his cue from Christopher Lee’s character in Billy Wilder’s The Private Life Of Sherlock Holmes (1970). There’s apparently something more sinister with Gatiss’ Mycroft, as it is with Lee’s, compared to the one conceived by the author, as the character only appeared in 2 of the original stories. “As with all the characters what we’ve tried to do is give them a bigger life and background than they usually have. Mycroft was only in two of the original stories. And apart from being cleverer than Sherlock and enormously fat, there isn’t much more to it except that he is the British government,” Gatiss explains.

The Holmes brothers may not get along but Gatiss claims that Mycroft is concerned for Sherlock. “They have a much more antagonistic relationship which I think is extremely interesting,” he continues. “There is warmth there somewhere deep down but it’s much more brittle and I think that’s a great thing to play with. What we’re trying to do, as with Mrs. Hudson and Lestrade, and new characters like Molly and Anderson, is to just to broaden it out a bit so you get to know these people as a family, almost.”

One of the smaller, though no less interesting, mysteries of S2’s “The Hounds Of Baskerville” (which Gatiss wrote) was when Scotland Yard’s Inspector Lestrade came to Baskerville to aid Sherlock and John Watson in their investigation. At that time, Sherlock accused him of being sent there on Mycroft’s orders as his “handler”. We asked Gatiss about working with the actor Rupert Graves, who plays Lestrade, and the story behind the accusation.

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