The question of who would play Sherlock Holmes’ famous archnemesis Professor Moriarty in Sherlock Holmes 2 has been looming large before even the first film came out. Actors rumored in connection to the gig included Brad Pitt, Daniel Day Lewis, Sean Penn, Javier Bardem, and Gary Oldman. Now, Latino Review is reporting that an exciting and unexpected actor has gotten the gig: Jared Harris. Harris is best known for his role as Lane Pryce on AMC’s Mad Men. He’s also had recurring roles on The Riches, Fringe, and he most recently costarred in John Carpenter’s The Ward, which played at the Toronto International Film Festival. He’s also signed costarring in Tomas Alfredson’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.
Hit the jump for a recap of what we know about Sherlock Holmes 2 thus far.
Update: Steve here. I’ve confirmed from my own sources that Jared Harris is indeed going to play Professor Moriarty. I’ve also been told Sherlock Holmes 2 starts filming next week in London.
Last week, we reported that Stephen Fry had signed on to play Sherlock Holmes’ brother Mycroft. Earlier this month, Noomi Rapace (the Swedish adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) joined the cast and will play the female lead. Rachel McAdams will return as Irene Adler, but her role will be minimal. Sherlock Holmes 2 is due out on December 16, 2011.
Personally, I’m jazzed about all this new casting. I think Harris (if he does indeed have the gig) is an inspired choice and I applaud Guy Ritchie and Warner Bros. for going with a character actor who can embrace the role rather than a movie star who could potentially overshadow it. While I wouldn’t have minded if any of the names rumored to play Moriarty had gotten the part, I think this is a wonderful breakthrough opportunity for Harris.