Downey offered a sneak peek Tuesday of "Sherlock Holmes," his new take on the cerebral detective created by Arthur Conan Doyle.
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Theater owners attending their annual ShoWest convention got to see Downey's Holmes in a bruising boxing match, diving from a tall building into London's Thames River and trading barbs with roommate Dr. Watson (Jude Law), who complains about the detective's slovenliness and nocturnal violin playing.
"Holmes, does your depravity know no bounds?" Watson asks the detective.
In one scene, the unclothed Holmes finds himself cuffed by both hands to a bed.
Downey also turns the detective into something of a ladies man as his Holmes gets a romantic interest (Rachel McAdams). Conan Doyle's Holmes lived a monk's life, save for one purely platonic dalliance with a female foil whose intellect he greatly admired.
Despite the saucy swagger and attitude of Downey's "Sherlock Holmes," directed by Guy Ritchie, the actor said the movie is true to the spirit of Conan Doyle's stories, which have plenty of action.
Past screen adaptations of Holmes stories "just never had the money to do it right," Downey said.
Downey joked that after his superhero flick "Iron Man" had a blockbuster opening weekend last year, his agents told him he had a window of the "next hour and a half" where he could do anything he wanted in Hollywood. His agents told him "don't do anything crazy," Downey said.
The actor said he called Joel Silver - the producing partner of his wife, Susan Downey, and his collaborator on "Weird Science," "Gothika" and "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang." Downey said he told Silver he was interested in doing an intelligent action movie that also was a period piece.
"I gave him basically an impossible list," said Downey, whose upcoming drama "The Soloist" co-starring Jamie Foxx also was screening at ShoWest on Tuesday.
Released by Warner Bros., "Sherlock Holmes" is due in theaters Christmas Day.