Henry Cavill Comments On His Sherlock Performance And That Lawsuit From The Conan Doyle Estate

Henry Cavill as Sherlock Holmes

The latest exploration of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes canon is playing on Netflix now, only rather than Sherlock standing in the spotlight yet again, it’s his and Mycroft’s younger sister, Enola, who’s getting the attention. Nevertheless, both Holmes siblings play key supporting roles in Enola Holmes, with Sherlock being played by Superman actor Henry Cavill.

However, shortly before Enola Holmes was released on Netflix, the movie found itself in a bit of a pickle. Back in June, Arthur Conan Doyle’s estate sued the streaming service, claiming that because Henry Cavill’s Sherlock Holmes is more emotional in Enola Holmes, this constitutes a copyright infringement of Doyle’s final 10 Sherlock stories, as opposed to Cavill’s Sherlock being based on the character from the author’s earlier tales featuring the detective, which are in the public domain.

During a recent interview with GQ, Henry Cavill was asked to provide his thoughts on this Enola Holmes legal messiness. Here’s how he responded:

I mean, honestly, I don’t have a take on it. It’s a character from a page which we worked out from the screenplay. The legal stuff is above my pay grade.

Maybe if Henry Cavill had been a producer on Enola Holmes, he would have had a take to share about the movie’s current legal predicament. But as an actor, he did his job bringing his version of Sherlock Holmes to life, and he’s willing to let others deal with the legal response that came out several months before Enola Holmes hit Netflix. That said, when it was noted how this must be the first time someone has been sued for damages because of their acting, Cavill simply said that “nothing surprises him anymore.”

We’ll just have to wait and see how this Enola Holmes lawsuit shakes out, although it is worth noting that the movie is based off the first installment of author Nancy Spinger’s book series, and those stories were never subject to legal complaints years ago. In any case, among the defendants named in this current suit are Springer, director Harry Bradbeer and writer Jack Thorne.

As for how Henry Cavill’s Sherlock Holmes came to be, the actor recently explained how it was a result of trial and error, and that we actually could have seen this Sherlock behaving more emotionally compared to what was shown in the final product. In his words:

Initially, there was a lot more in the way of emotional stuff coming out because it was digging deep into my own personal stuff. And we pared it back. What we were left with behind was an emotionally connected Sherlock, but only emotionally connected with one person. And that was Enola. And I loved building that part of the character. He’s still this eccentric, odd, weird, aloof genius detective, as far as the outside world – as far as anyone else—is concerned, but his relationship with Enola is very specific and very unique.

Evidently Henry Cavill and the rest of the cast and crew’s efforts have paid off, as Enola Holmes has earned a lot of positive reception. With five other books in Nancy Springer’s original book series, Netflix could certainly keep the Enola Holmes train going, which Harry Bradbeer certainly sounds game for. And while obviously Millie Bobby Brown’s eponymous character would continue to be the star of the show, there’d also be plenty of opportunities to make Cavill’s Sherlock stand out even more.

Feel free to read CinemaBlend’s review of Enola Holmes and keep your eyes peeled here for any updates regarding a potential Enola Holmes 2. You can also keep track of what movies are supposed to come out next year with our 2021 release schedule.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.