Enola Holmes, the latest Hollywood adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle's legendary consulting detective Sherlock Holmes presents the character with a younger sister who just might be smarter than him. This time around, Sherlock is played rather against type by a very beefy Henry Cavill. According to an interview by Decider with the film's director Harry Bradbeer, it was not Cavill's muscles of steel that landed him the part, but rather his gentle nature.
"[Cavill's] gentility was probably what drew me to him, rather than any particular physical type. I love the idea of a fresh approach. Certainly, Henry's presence and his size are all part of the freshness of this interpretation. I wanted a Sherlock who could go on a journey from the Sherlock that we all know-to having met his sister and being pushed into an emotional corner. He was forced to open up. So I needed someone who could go to those places. I had a hunch, looking at Henry, that he was hiding that. I didn't think he had many opportunities to do that."
In most classic adaptations, Sherlock Holmes is defined by his intellect, rather than his emotions. In Enola Holmes, since Sherlock is not the main character, his task is not to solve the film's central mystery and save the day, but rather be the supporting and caring big brother to Enola.
The role is far removed from Cavill's previous work, as the brooding and distant Superman, and the even more brooding and distant Geralt of Rivia. Yet, according to Bradbeer, when he first met the actor to discuss the role, he sensed a gentleness in Henry Cavill that he felt would translate very well for this particular take on Sherlock.
"We met, and had a cup of tea-actually, I think it was a cocktail. We had two gin and tonics, in fact, in Hammersmith [London]. We started to talk about him and his background and his family and his life. Soon, as we started to talk about the character as well, we realized there were plenty of places to feed off of and work with. There was so much gentleness, and all kinds of wonderful things in his nature that were there to use. I thought, "Well, you can do this. Let's do it. It'll be different for you and different for the audience."
Based on the best-selling novel series by Nancy Springer, Enola Holmes tells the tale of the youngest Holmes sibling Enola, a free-spirited fourteen-year-old chafing under the strict set of rules placed on females in Victorian England. When their mother mysteriously disappears and her brothers Sherlock and Mycroft appear to be of little help, it falls to Enola to set out on an action-packed adventure to follow a trail of clues and uncover the fate of the Holmes matriarch.