Exec shuffle at Silver Pictures

'Sherlock Holmes' in preproduction at the company

Changes are afoot at Silver Pictures as it enters preproduction on "Sherlock Holmes."

Executive Navid McIlhargey is leaving the company for a post a Regency, Arnon Milchan's production and finance company. McIlhargey, who joined the company in 2004, asked to get out of his contract, which ran until September 2009, and Joel Silver granted the request.

Also up in the air is the future of Susan Downey, the executive vp of Silver Pictures and co-president of Silver's genre label Dark Castle Entertainment who oversees much of the day-to-day at the Warner Bros.-based shingle. Downey's contract also is up in February 2009, and she has made it known she is looking to begin "a new chapter in her life," according to insiders, ensuring a redefining of her relationship with Silver.

There is speculation that Downey will team with her husband, Robert Downey Jr., to form a production shingle, though the company declined comment.

Downey, a 10-year Silver veteran who is in London overseeing "Holmes," which stars Downey Jr., will help search for her replacement.

The execs that remain include senior vp Erik Olsen and vp David Gambino, plus Steve Richards, who acts as COO of Silver Pictures and co-president of Dark Castle.

Despite a run of poorly received films including "Speed Racer" and "Fred Claus," Silver shows no sign of slowing his output in his 22-year marriage with Warners. He is in preproduction with Silver Pictures not only on "Holmes" but also "The Book of Eli," which will star Denzel Washington. With Dark Castle, he is in post on "The Orphan" as well as "The Factory," with John Cusack, and "Ninja Assassin" while awaiting a release for "Whiteout."

Silver's latest deal with Warners runs out at the end of 2009; the Dark Castle partnership runs through 2011.