With Ridley Scott’s Nottingham on the shelf until the trees get green again, Russell Crowe needs some work. Riling up CHUD message board posters about Bill Hicks biopics don’t pay the bills, so it looks like he may want to be assisting Robert Downey Jr in solving crimes. According to Australia’s Herald Sun, Crowe is up for the role of Watson in Guy Ritchie’s new Sherlock Holmes movie.

“Russell wants the part, Guy wants Russell,” a movie source told The Sun newspaper. “All they’ve got left to do is dot the i’s and cross the t’s.”

If true, this is weird on the surface. Russell Crowe playing second banana? Sure, his career isn’t exactly as hot as it was a couple of years ago, but coming in number two to RDJ does seem odd. It’s possible that the film is really more of a buddy movie than we thought – anybody out there have a script for this thing? I can’t even check the comic book source material, since that doesn’t debut for another month.

Of course taking a second banana role could be just the sort of thing that energizes a career that’s in the doldrums. Remind us that you’re an actor and not just a movie star – especially before you go off to do your most movie star-ish role in years, playing both Robin Hood and the Sherriff of Nottingham.