John C Reilly has said the first time he met comedy partner Will Ferrell he realised working together was, “why we were put on this Earth”.
The duo are one of Hollywood’s best loved double-acts, having appeared together in Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby, Step Brothers and Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.
Their latest joint effort, Holmes & Watson, is an irreverent take on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s best-known character, with Ferrell playing famed detective Sherlock Holmes and Reilly in the role of his trusted sidekick Dr John H Watson.
Reilly and Ferrell first met more than a decade ago and Reilly said he knew from the beginning they had a special chemistry.
He told the Press Association: “The first time Will and I met, we knew we had something in common, and it wasn’t until we actually got together to work we thought, oh, this is why we were put on this Earth, to make hijinks together.”
Set in Victorian London, Holmes & Watson also stars Ralph Fiennes as villain Professor James Moriarty and sees Reilly and Ferrell trying to prevent the murder of Queen Victoria.
The lead actors don comedy British accents for the film and Reilly said he enjoyed upsetting the English crew members while filming scenes where the queen – played by Pam Ferris – was knocked unconscious.
He said: “We are very irreverent, in fact we touch the queen, we accidentally knock out the queen, we try to dispose of the queen’s body.
“The idea that someone, another human being, is somehow untouchable, literally you’re not allowed to touch them, or they’re thought of as some sort of god, is absurd to Americans, absurd.
“So we took great pleasure in freaking out the English people on the crew by being so deeply disrespectful to Queen Victoria.”
Ferrell added: “We have a bit of fun with everything that is British.”
Holmes is the most portrayed movie character in history, according to the Guinness World Records.
Previous actors to don the famous deerstalker hat include Benedict Cumberbatch in the BBC television series Sherlock and Robert Downey Jr in the 2009 film Sherlock Holmes.
Ferrell said it was “extremely engaging” to explore the Sherlock universe through the characters of Holmes and Watson.
He said: “There are so many things that are iconic in the Sherlock Holmes landscape that was fun to just pick through all that and have fun with it.
“And that’s kind of the magic of those two characters.”
Holmes & Watson also stars British actress Rebecca Hall as Reilly’s on-screen love interest while US actress Lauren Lapkus plays Ferrell’s.
Hall, who appeared alongside Christian Bale in The Prestige, discussed watching Ferrell and Reilly in action.
She said: “They really enjoy each other, it was really lovely to watch. Part of the reason why it works is because they really love each other’s humour. You’d see them make each other laugh all the time and I think that’s why it works, they’re truly having lots of fun.”
Lapkus added: “It was great to watch them, they have such good chemistry and they have so much fun together. There are certain scenes were we’re watching them from afar and those scenes were very funny.”
Holmes & Watson will be released in UK cinemas on December 26.