Jared Harris Reportedly Cast As Moriarty In 'Sherlock Holmes 2'

The cast of Sherlock Holmes 2 is starting to come together, and since the first film began production two years ago, the biggest question mark in franchise lineup has been the actor who will play Professor Moriarty, the arch-nemesis of Sherlock Holmes.

Brad Pitt was once rumored in the role, after reports surfaced claiming that he had shot a cameo to appear in the first film. (We saw only Moriarty's hand and silouette in that picture, and the actor who voiced him has not been named. Rumors that it was Pitt persist.) Daniel Day-Lewis has also been rumored, but we never figured that would actually happen.

Now there's a report that a less famous but quite capable actor will play the role: Jared Harris.

Latino Review reports that Harris, currently appearing on Mad Men, has been tapped as Moriarty. (EDIT: Deadline confirms.) And while there was always that terribly unlikely fantasy that Daniel Day-Lewis would actually bite, Harris should be great. And he won't overshadow the entire production, as DDL might have.

Moriarty is an interesting figure in the stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Said to be a great criminal mastermind who controls London criminals from behind the scenes, he is mentioned in a handful of tales, but only directly seen in two. One of those, The Final Problem (actually the direct introduction of the character) saw the instantly famous duel between Holmes and Moriarty at Reichenbach Falls, after which both apparently fell to their deaths. Doyle intended this to be his last Holmes story, but he was eventually persuaded to write further adventures.

The Final Problem, incidentally, is also one of the few appearances of the elder Holmes, Mycroft, who will be played by Stephen Fry in Sherlock Holmes 2. That leads to the quick assumption that The Final Problem will be a large influence on the script. Will this film end with Harris and Robert Downey, Jr. seemingly falling from the falls? I'd love to see that.