Robert Downey Jr. Set to Play Sherlock

Robert Downey Jr. will star in Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes. The drama is the first time Downey  will go before the cameras since his blockbuster turn in Iron Man. Variety says Downey  committed to the film, which begins shooting in October, after Ritchie turned in the latest version of the script.

Warner Bros. is planning an October 2009 release date.

The basis for the film is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic tales, but also the forthcoming comic book Sherlock Holmes that producer Lionel Wigram wrote as a selling tool for a new take on the classic character.

The comic’s concept sees Holmes as more adventurous than previous screen incarnations and delves more into his obscure character traits, says The Hollywood Reporter.

A rival production, albeit a comedy, is gearing up at Columbia with Sacha Baron Cohen playing Holmes, and Will Ferrell playing his crime-fighting partner Dr. Watson. No director is as-yet attached. Judd Apatow will produce that project.

Downey  next will be seen in Tropic Thunder later this summer and then stars with Jamie Foxx in The Soloist. He’ll play Iron Man’s Tony Stark again in the sequel with Jon Favreau directing.

He is also attached to star in DreamWorks’ Cowboys and Aliens.