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|MONTREAL: Sherlock Holmes ventures into the realm of demons in The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire, a chilling thriller that will be shooting in and around Montreal November 25 to December 21, 2001. Holmes is renowned for his extraordinary deductive abilities but the domain of demons is not his natural territory. For the first time, Holmes begins to doubt his own mental powers.
The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire is the eeriest of all Sherlock Holmes movies made by Muse Entertainment in association with Hallmark Entertainment of New York. Muse produced three earlier Holmes films: The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Sign of Four and The Royal Scandal.
“The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire is a dark and moody murder mystery,” says Director Rodney Gibbons, who also wrote this screenplay. “Every shot, every line and every scene is designed to create relentless tension and complications,” he adds.
Gibbons’s script is not based on any of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s writings. Doyle created Sherlock Holmes over 100 years ago placing him in many adventures – but never amongst the living dead.
The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire is set in an Anglican mission, tropical Guyana and London, circa 1890. Among the colourful characters in The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire are zealous monks, an expert on vampire bats, a clairvoyant, Guyanese servants and Scotland Yard detectives. Bats of various types also figure strongly in the screenplay. Other themes include intolerance and prejudice against visible minorities, as well as the plight of bats around the world, which are often needlessly feared and destroyed.
“The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire represents the quintessential Sherlock Holmes story that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle never wrote,” says Executive Producer Micahel Prupas. “It has the same unexplainable events, the eccentric characters and the moody, misty settings. Generations of people all over the world have loved Sherlock Holmes. We are proud to add a fresh, new film to this great body of entertainment.”
Producer Irene Litinsky adds: “Our film offers a whole new mysterious realm for Sherlock Holmes fans. For the first time, Holmes is forced to face the supernatural.”
Sherlock Holmes - Matt Frewer
Dr. Watson - Kenneth Welsh
Brother Marstoke - Shawn Lawrence
Dr. Chagas - Neville Edwards
Sister Helen - Cary Lawrence
Signora de la Rosa - Isabel Dos Santos
Inspector Jones - Michel Perron
Brother Caulder - Joel Miller
Brother Abel - Tom Rack
|The setting is London, 1892, in the district of Whitechapel, an area notorious for being the neighborhood where Jack the Ripper went on his killing spree only two years earlier.
The Anglican monks and nuns of the Hermitage of St-Justinian the Martyr have aided the poor slum dwellers of Whitechapel for years. Then, shortly before Christmas, one of the monks is found dead in the abbey church, the apparent victim of a vampire.
For Brother Marstoke, head of the Hermitage, this death has a horrifying resonance. Several years earlier he and others of his religious order had founded a mission in British Guyana. The mission prospered until an outbreak of rabies began taking its toll on the local population. Believing that vampire bats were the carriers of the disease, Brother Marstoke had them wiped out against the wishes of Dr. Chagas, a local naturalist and black man who was studying the bats. Soon thereafter, two monks were found dead with bite marks on their necks. Nearby, scrawled on the wall, were macabre messages from Desmodo, a local vampire demon, that warned of bloody revenge for the deaths of ‘his children’.
The mission was closed and while Brother Marstoke went traveling for a year, his followers returned to London. All believed that the nightmare was at an end. But now, shortly after Marstoke’s return to England, it seems that the vampire demon has struck again. Terrified and shaken, Brother Marstoke turns to Sherlock Holmes to solve the latest murder.
Holmes maintains that the killings are the work of a human hand. To this most famous man of facts, logic and deduction - even the concept of God is in question. He is certain that a vampire demon is a scientific impossibility. And yet, Brother Marstoke insists that a demon has followed them from South America. What’s more, Holmes’s trusted friend, Dr. Watson, keeps on reminding him that many things are unknowable and scientifically unexplainable. As events unfold, even Sherlock Holmes begins to doubt his own mental powers.
Ultimately Holmes solves the mystery. But at the end of the day even he wonders whether or not he had a bit of ‘divine’ assistance.
Michael Prupas and Steven Hewitt
Producer: Irene Litinsky
Production Manager: Jean-Yves Dolbec
Director: Rodney Gibbons
Writer: Rodney Gibbons
Director of Photography: Serge Ladouceur
Production Designer: Jean-Baptiste Tard
Costume Designer: Luc J. Béland
Muse Entertainment Productions
Broadcaster: CTV Television in Canada and Hallmark Channel in the U.S.
|Previous Episode Coverage on this site:|
A Muse Entertainment Production Of
A Rodney Gibbons Film
|THE CASE OF THE
|For more production information on the Frewer-Welsh Sherlock Holmes series visit Muse Entertainment Enterprises.|
|A NEW SHERLOCK HOLMES ADVENTURE|
|(Synopsis courtesy of Muse Entertainment Enterprises)|
|Lawrence played the lead in The Dane, a short dramatic film that won a Gemini Award in 1999. He also had a Gemini Award nomination as best supporting actor for his role in The First Snowfall. He has had numerous roles in television. Appearing in Twilight Zone, Jett Jackson, Widows, Brian’s Song and Cagney and Lacey. Some of his feature film credits include Between Strangers, True Blue, Exit Wounds, America Betrayed, Triggermen and Bait.
Brother Marstoke of course becomes Holmes' primary suspect in the new killings, but in fact, Holmes has a long line of suspects. One of them is Brother Abel (played by Tom Rack), a benign, incapacitated, babbling fool. Is he really a fool or is that just a cover? Another is Brother Caulder (played by Joel Miller) who resents Marstoke’s liberal attitudes and is jealous of his leadership. A third suspect is Dr. Chagas, the naturalist from Guyana who has arrived in London to present a scientific paper on vampire bats. A fourth is Hector de la Rosa, Brother Abel’s Guyanese attendant. Holmes knows that the killer is not a supernatural creature at all but a bitter human being with a lust for vengeance.
Lawrence says he really enjoyed taking on the role of Brother Marstoke because the character is so complex.
Marstoke also enjoyed the experience of working with Script Writer and Director Rodney Gibbons.
|Excerpt from Muse Entertainment Press Release
November 21, 2001
|Shawn Lawrence as Brother Marstoke|
|Lawrence is a well-known character actor whose forte is versatility. He is proud to say that he is seldom typecast. He’s played killers, psychos, cops, prison wardens, hit men and coroners among many other characters. In fact, he even played Jesus on stage in Godspell.|
|Born and raised in London, England, Lawrence began acting at the age of 6. He was Michael in Peter Pan.|
|“I try to do a play at least once a year. It’s an adrenalin rush and gives immediate satisfaction. On stage an actor has to be full of emotion. But the emotions have to be reigned in for film.”|
|“Brother Marstoke is a nervous, guilty man. While in Guyana he became fascinated with native cultures, masks and rituals. Poor Marstoke is so wrecked with guilt, grief and nervous agitation that he instantly becomes one of Holmes’s main suspects. Marstoke is spooky in the way he insists that the killer is demonic. Holmes thinks he is too insistent “|
|“I flew on stage in a wire harness. It was so much fun I knew I wanted to do this the rest of my life.”|
|Lawrence says he loves living and working in Canada. He has a busy schedule working in film and television and also in theatre.|
|“He is a kindhearted and good man but he is very emotional. His grief and guilt make him edgy and nervous.”|
|“As both writer and director, Rodney had a very clear vision of what he wanted, but also gave his actors the freedom to incorporate their own ideas in a caring, supportive atmosphere. Working on the show was a joy!”|