Film & TV

Interview: Jeremy Lovering, Sherlock

Sherlock is back after an agonisingly long wait. In anticipation for the series’ return Film & TV Editor Charlie Andrews sat down with Jeremy Lovering, director of the first episode ‘”The Empty Hearse”, to talk about the show



You have worked with the BBC before on programmes such as Spooks, what was it like to work on a show as big as Sherlock?

I think as a director you probably just look at the content of the show and what you think you can bring to it rather than the ‘bigness’. If I felt I couldn’t bring something to it then I wouldn’t do it. And if you were overly aware of the eyes watching you at every step then I think you’d become a bit paranoid and never come out of your room. Also there are certain things you have to deal with no matter how big or small the show that are the same. So much of filming comes down to economics so no matter what scale the show is you still have to find the most effective way to tell the story within the time and money constraints you have.

Similarly when you read a script you see if it resonates, if it doesn’t then you shouldn’t go there. So for Sherlock being ‘big’, whilst I was mindful of it, it didn’t feel relevant. The only real impact though was the size and dedication of the existing fan-base – I was very mindful of that and felt a sense of responsibility and respect to them. Mind you, as I was a fan myself it kind of made sense that if I was making a Sherlock I wanted to watch then they would as well. Hopefully. Fingers crossed.

What was your relationship like with Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat?

Obviously I had massive respect for them and that’s always a good place to start. To be honest I think they were interested in exploring things so they seemed happy to see where I would go. As it co-incided with where they wanted to be it was all very positive and supportive.

What do you think is the secret of the show’s popularity? Do you think it will continue after the forthcoming series?

The balance of emotion, thrills and humour. John as everyman, Sherlock as a unique person becoming more humanized but capable of audacious utilitarian detachment and who is cleverer than most of us but doesn’t make us feel stupid. The exceptional qualities of Benedict and Martin. The fact we are moved, excited and laughing often in the same scene. Yes.

sherlock-doorSherlock just loves that hat

You directed ‘In Fear’ earlier this year and obviously Sherlock, do you know where you are going to go from here? Is there anything in particular you would like to do next?

I’m looking at a lot of scripts at the moment off the back of how In Fear went down both here and in America. There’s a wide range – a graphic novel, a historical psychological drama, a messed-up post-war love story, a ghost story – which I guess reflects my eclectic interest, so at the moment it’s just a case of waiting to see.

How did you find handling the big personalities of Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman? What are they like outside of their characters?

They are both actors at the top of their game so they seem to want to keep pushing their performance as much as they can and not sit back on their heels – which was massively exciting. There were moments where I’d watch the place we had arrived at and marvel how we had got there, they really are that good. And if you’re that good you can afford to be generous and thoughtful and inclusive and they were both were.

s5Sherlock leaves behind his detective days to take up waiting

What would you like to see happen to Sherlock and Watson in the future?

I think the characters are evolving in a way that tests their humanity and their skills, and their brains, and their loyalties, and their fears and their weaknesses and their strengths so more of that is fine by me…

Who is your favourite character in Sherlock and why?

I love both Sherlock and Watson equally for their opposite values and character and for how on some psychological level they cross over and meet on some level.

Do you see yourself as Sherlock or Watson and why?

Hmmm – high-functioning sociopath or man numbing psychological scars by exposing himself to danger…? I’ll leave that one.

For more on Sherlock keep an eye out for another interview with director Colm McCarthy along with the Series 3 Review


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