Ian McKellan in 'Mr. Holmes': How British is It?

Introducing his new movie, Mr. Holmes, at MoMa in which he plays Sherlock Holmes as you have never seen him. Ian McKellan called this the "quintessential" British story, as told by Americans: Jeffrey Hatcher's screenplay from Mitch Cullin's A Slight Trick of the Mind, and directed by Bill Condon. "The British never had a chance." Fortunately, Americans are just as intrigued by Sherlock Holmes! With Laura Linney, deglamorized to play a frumpy housekeeper Mrs. Munro, and Hiroyuki Sanada as a revenge-bound son, the movie is as British as a crumpet. The fine ensemble swirling around McKellan's killer performance as the aging Mr. Holmes, now in retirement in the country, is first rate. And in that spirit, the movie's Monday premiere took advantage of Broadway's dark night, with theater actors out for drinks and ravioli at Southgate in celebration.

Lena Hall and Alex Sharp, exulting over their Tony Awards, imagined the statues as telephones meant to contact each other. Swoosie Kurtz, Robert Klein, Montego Glover, Margaret Colin, Peter Cincotti, Zach Grenier and William Ivey Long were all in the mix. Long did not stay for the party, but we shared a lament for the death of Roger Rees, a Broadway legend onstage with Chita Rivera so recently in The Visit.

Writers and directors partied too: John Patrick Shanley, John Krokaides, Terence Winter, Robert Benton. Jeffrey Hatcher, a Minneapolis resident, is now at work on an American property: the screenplay for A Confederacy of Dunces. Many admired the performance of young Milo Parker, in the role of Roger, Mrs. Munro's son, who suffers a near fatal insect attack. But not Ian McKellan who complained about how bad the young actor was, tongue firmly planted in envious cheek: "He's gone on to Spielberg!" So was working with this actor the toughest part of making this movie? No, it was working with bees.

A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.

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