Sacha Baron Cohen has signed up to play Sherlock Holmes in a new spoof film about the detective with Will Ferrell to play Dr Watson.

The British actor will take on the role of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's most famous creation in a new Columbia Pictures film while Ferrell, his co-star in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, is to star as the sleuth's sidekick.

According to trade newspaper Variety, the comedy will be produced by Jimmy Miller and Judd Apatow, the latter being responsible for smash hits such as The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Superbad and Knocked Up.

Etan Cohen - no relation to the Ali G star - is to script the as-yet-untitled film, though a start date has not yet been confirmed.

"Just the idea of Sacha and Will as Sherlock Holmes and Watson makes us laugh," said Columbia Pictures co-president Matt Tolmach in a statement.

"Sacha and Will are two of the funniest and most talented guys on the planet, and having them take on these two iconic characters is frankly hilarious."

The Columbia announcement marks the second Sherlock Holmes project to begin development this year, with Guy Ritchie set to shoot a drama about the most famous resident of Baker Street.

The Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels director has been contracted by Warner Bros Studios to helm a film based on an upcoming comic book about the detective.

Sherlock Holmes, set for a 2010 release, will be based on an as-yet-unpublished graphic novel take on the Arthur Conan Doyle creation by former Warner Bros creative executive Lionel Wigram, who will also produce the film alongside Dan Lin.

03/07/2008 09:13:57