Please don’t be too mad at that headline, dear reader. It may be painful, but it also spells-out good news! Variety reports that Robert Downey Jr., our beloved summer movie troubadour, has crossed the necessary t’s and dotted the required i’s and is all set to star in Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes project. This is a big win for Ritchie, who has been looking to put the credibility he gained by directing Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch back in his pants pocket. Downey Jr., who has been on a roll since the amazing one-two of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Zodiac, continues to make interesting choices. Wait, I forgot about Lucky You. He’s been on a roll that hit a slight bump, bobbled, and rebounded elegantly (and ironically). (Sorry.)

The thing is, we now have (officially) dueling Holmes projects. Everyone, pinch yourselves! It was reported last week that Sacha Baron Cohen and Will Ferrell signed on to play Holmes and Watson, respectively, in a Judd Apatow production. That film is reportedly and obviously bent more towards the comedic. However, I imagine the Downey Jr. that will be at the big end of Ritchie’s directing megaphone might tend towards the wry. Basically, we are getting two of the best comedic actors working today both donning Deerstalker hats, peering lovingly through antique magnifying glasses, trolling opium dens, and making Watson feel like Watsdumb.

Actually, scratch the Deerstalker cap…for Downey, at least. When Russ reported on this project last month (click here), he had this to say:

Ritchie will rewrite the existing Tony Peckham screenplay, which is based on Lionel Wigram’s Holmes comic book. The idea is to ‘reinvent’ Holmes and that, considering Ritchie’s involvement, could be tiresome. Wigram’s take on the character reportedly emphasizes the detectives boxing and sword skills.

Since Ritchie’s Holmes project is expected to start shooting this October, and with Downey now officially aboard, look for other casting announcements (Professor Moriarty, I presume?) to hit very soon.