U.N.C.L.E. movie delayed to August 2015

Slow down, Solo. You're not being called up for another year.

Stand down, Solo. Mr. Warner says you can wait another seven months.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie is being delayed by seven months to Aug. 14, 2015 from Jan. 16, according to several entertainment news sites, including Deadline: Hollywood and Comingsoon.net.

The Guy Ritchie-directed film, based on the 1964-68 television series, has underwent a series of reshoots. Initially, they were being done with a second-unit crew. But Henry Cavill, who plays Napoleon Solo, traveled from the Detroit area (where a Batman-Superman film is in production) to London to participate in a reshoot along with Armie Hammer, who plays Illya Kuryakin.

Some fans were concerned about the January release date. That’s sometimes viewed as a dumping ground for movies not good enough for the end-of-the-year holiday season. Now it’s slated for a late summer slot. By the time August 2015 rolls around, it will have been 23 months since the start of principal photography. Another chapter in The Man From U.N.C.L.E. curse?

U.N.C.L.E.’s odd post-series history

"It's hard to find our show some times, Illya."

“It’s hard to find our show sometimes, Illya.”

UPDATE: The 1980s section, corrects name of network to Christian Broadcasting Network. CBN changed its name to Family Channel name after it showed U.N.C.L.E.

Also, readers (one is a comment below, the other was on Facebook) have mentioned the following: The Say U.N.C.L.E. Affair, a 1986 A-Team episode with U.N.C.L.E. memes (Robert Vaughn was a regular in that show’s final season and David McCallum was the episode’s guest star) as well as a Dec. 31, 1989-Jan. 1, 1990 U.N.C.L.E. marathon on TNT.

While we’re at it, Turner Classic Movies a few years ago had a daylong marathon of the eight U.N.C.L.E. movies, with the first beginning at 6 a.m. eastern time. TCM still occasionally shows them.

With the news that The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is going to be shown by MeTV in the U.S. starting next month, here’s a review of the show’s odd history after it ended its 1964-68 run on NBC.

This is by no means a definitive history. But it gives you an idea how a series that once was very popular had trouble finding an audience after its first run. The show made stars of Robert Vaughn and David McCallum, even to the point where the Beatles wanted to meet Vaughn in 1966. But later, it was as if the show disappeared.

Meanwhile, other series that were on at the time, such as Mission: Impossible and The Wild Wild West, were much easier to find on local television stations. And, of course, the original Star Trek (which shared many of the same guest stars as U.N.C.L.E.) became a broad pop culture event while in syndication.

Circa 1968-1969: For a period, U.N.C.L.E. could be seen in syndication. An Indianapolis independent station showed U.N.C.L.E. (Both Man and The Girl From U.N.C.L.E.) Monday through Friday in an afternoon time slot.

However, this did not last that long. In general, there was a concern about violence on television and this perhaps affected U.N.C.L.E. For whatever reason, U.N.C.L.E. soon became virtually invisible.

1970s: The best chance to see U.N.C.L.E. was when one of the eight “movies” — re-edited from series episodes — popped up on local television. In the `1970s, I caught To Trap a Spy (an expanded version of the series pilot) on a local television station. CBS even showed The Spy With My Face, an expanded version of the first-season episode The Double Affair, on the CBS Late Movie. At the time, CBS didn’t have its own viable late-night show and was content to show movies starting at 11:30 p.m. eastern time.

1980s: In the early 1980s, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which made the series in association with producer Norman Felton’s Arena Productions, dusted off U.N.C.L.E. The studio made a renewed syndication push. The original MGM logs at the end of episodes were removed and new ones added.

In 1985, the Christian Broadcasting Network — controlled by tele-evangelist Pat Robertson — showed The Man From U.N.C.L.E. at 11 p.m. eastern time in the U.S. But for the CBN debut,the channel skipped over the entire black-and-white first season. Its first telecast was The Arabian Affair from the second season.

By the spring or summer of 1986, CBN showed all but four episodes: the two-part Alexander the Greater Affair and The Very Important Zombie Affair from the second season and The Abominable Snowman Affair from the third. The latter two weren’t shown, reportedly because of their un-Christian content (voodoo with Very Important Zombie, depictions of Eastern religions in Snowman). As for Alexander the Greater, it turned out nobody could find it. More about that shortly.

Meanwhile, there were changes behind the scenes. Television mogul Ted Turner bought MGM, primarily to gain control of its film library, including classic films such as Gone With the Wind and Ben-Hur. But Turner borrowed heavily for the purchase. So he sold the studio, while keeping the film library — which also included U.N.C.L.E.

Thus, in 1988, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. was part of TNT’s Saturday morning (and later Saturday afternoon) programming. TNT telecast Very Important Zombie and Abominable Snowman shortly thereafter.

1990s: By the mid-1990s, U.N.C.L.E. shows up in the early-morning hours of Tuesday (technically part of its Monday schedule). In 1999, a Turner employee finds Alexander the Greater. The two-part story was telecast July 4, 2000, the last U.N.C.L.E. telecast on the cable network. In the interim, Turner has sold out to Time Warner, whose Warner Bros. now controls the show.

NBC had never rerun Alexander the Greater. So the TNT telecast was the first time the television version had been seen since September 1965. Until then, only the movie version, One Spy Too Many, had been available.

In 1999, TV Land had a “spy week” promotion in connection with the second Austin Powers movie. Four episodes each of The Man and The Girl From U.N.C.L.E. are shown on separate nights, along with series such as It Takes a Thief and The Avengers. For Man, four first-season episodes are telecast. (Girl only ran one season, making selection easier.) TNT, around the same time, showed some episodes of The Girl From U.N.C.L.E. in connection with the birthday of star Stefanie Powers.

21st century: Both The Man and Girl From U.N.C.L.E. have shown up on other cable channels but don’t enjoy a lot of visibility.

In 2007, the series is released on DVD, initially by Time-Life. The original MGM logo at the end of episodes was restored. Within a few years, The Girl From U.N.C.L.E. and the eight U.N.C.L.E. movies are released by Warner Archive, the manufactured-on-demand arm of Warner Bros.

MeTV picking up The Man From U.N.C.L.E. comes just ahead of the show’s 50th anniversary as well as a movie version of the show coming in January.

Cavill, Hammer return to U.K. for U.N.C.L.E., fan site says

Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer

Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer

Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer have returned to England for some reshoots for The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie, ACCORDING TO A POST AT THE HENRY CAVILL NEWS WEBSITE.

The post includes a photo that Hammer’s wife posted on Instagram. It also includes a non-spoiler exchange with an extra who doubled for Cavill for some of the previous reshoots of the Guy Ritchie-directed film.

The post also raises a bit of problem. Cavill, who plays Napoleon Solo in the movie, was already beginning to get pumped up during last year’s U.N.C.L.E. shoot to reprise the role of Superman in Batman v. Superman: The Dawn of Justice. According to the post, the actor was already having trouble fitting in his wardrobe before the end of principal U.N.C.L.E. photography in early December 2013. Cavill has been filming the superhero movie in the Detroit area for a few months, so wardrobe may be more of an issue now.

The U.N.C.L.E. movie is scheduled to debut in January 2015. Warner Bros. had test screenings of the movie in June.

Could both 007 and U.N.C.L.E. end up in Rome?

Daniel Craig during the filming of Skyfall

Daniel Craig during the filming of Skyfall

Rome is getting to be a popular place for spies.

Bond 24, according to a local film official, is to include a car chase in Rome. The Play 4 Movie website attributed the news to Luciano Sovena, president of the Roma Lazio Film Commission.

There aren’t many details. Sovena says on the website he’s met with the co-bosses of Eon Productions, Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, about it. “Barbara and Michael really count on it, they’re already excited,” Sovena is quoted as saying. (Thanks to the James Bond Dossier for the heads up.) It should be noted for Skyfall there were reports the producers were looking at India, but the production ended up doing its main location shooting in Turkey.

The 007 film series has been in Italy before, including three stops (From Russia With Love, Moonraker and Casino Royale) in Venice with three different leading men (Sean Connery, Roger Moore and Daniel Craig). The first time viewers see Roger Moore’s 007 in Live And Let Die, he’s back home from a mission M refers to as “the Rome affair.” It’s a passing reference (though we’re told Italian officials were impressed with Bond). It’s mostly to explain for the audience the presence of a woman Italian agent at Bond’s flat. (“They do seem to be missing one of their agents, a Miss Caruso.”)

Last year, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie with Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer also filmed in Rome. A fair amount of location shooting time for the film, which is due out in January 2015, was filmed in Rome and elsewhere in Italy. Here’s a video of the U.N.C.L.E. crew during the Rome shoot.

Film Music Reporter says an U.N.C.L.E. composer chosen

U.N.C.L.E. logo on a second unit crew T-shirt

U.N.C.L.E. logo on a second unit crew T-shirt

The Film Music Reporter website, in a short item, says Daniel Pemberton was hired to score The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie.

Pemberton, has a number of television composing credits and a few movies, according to his IMDB.COM ENTRY. One of his film credits is the 2013 Ridley Scott movie The Counselor.

The Film Music Reporter item doesn’t specify how the website obtained the information. Previously, IMDB had listed Theodore Shapiro as the movie’s composer, but that listing was removed.

If this is correct, the question is whether Pemberton will incorporate Jerry Goldsmith’s theme for The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Goldsmith scored three first-season episodes, but his music was reused constantly in episodes that season that didn’t have original scores. Much of Goldsmith’s U.N.C.L.E. music was re-recorded in the fourth and final season and used in various episodes.

Thanks to laneyboggs2001@Twitter for a headsup.

UPDATE: A YouTube video featuring Pemberton.

UPDATE: U.N.C.L.E. composer? What U.N.C.L.E. composer?

"Don't rely on IMDB, son."

Robert Vaughn says, “Don’t rely on IMDB, son.” (Uncle Agents photo, used with permission)

As Maxwell Smart used to say, “Sorry about that, Chief!”

IMDB.com has altered its ENTRY FOR THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. MOVIE to remove Theodore Shapiro as composer. IMDB has gone back to not listing any composer at all.

As noted in this blog before, both IMDB and Wikipedia both listed Shapiro as composer for the film that’s due out in January 2015. (In fact, as of July 10, Wikipedia STILL DOES.) Both websites rely on users to input information and things occasionally go awry.

Anyway, it appears we’re back to Square One. Whoever gets the gig will be following in the footsteps of famed composer Jerry Goldsmith, who scored the pilot of the 1964-68 television series and wrote its distinctive theme.

Meanwhile, IMDB has, once again, added a name to the movie’s writing credit (Jeff Kleeman, one of its producers). The site for a time added another writer’s name, only to withdraw it later. So, for now, it’s best to say we’ll see what happens.

‘Mr. Warner, when does U.N.C.L.E. get some publicity?’

Henry Cavill in a new publicity image

Henry Cavill in a new publicity image

This past week, Warner Bros. unleashed some publicity images for a movie involving actor Henry Cavill — a movie that won’t be out for 22 months.

That film, of course, is Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, due out in May 2016. Warners released a new publicity image of Cavill as Superman. Various outlets bit on doing stories, including Forbes.com and USA Today. The movie currently is in production.

Meanwhile, Cavill has done another Warners feature. By comparison, the studio is in radio silence concerning the film. That project is a film version of The Man From U.N.C.L.E., which is due in a little more than six months, in mid-January 2015.

Long-time U.N.C.L.E. fans have a mixed reaction. Some would like to see a new take on the 1964-68 television series. Others wished the studio would have left well enough alone. Either way, there’s a feeling of disrespect. Robert Vaughn, who played Napoleon Solo in the series (the role Cavill played in the film), says he wasn’t asked to do a cameo. That rubbed some fans the wrong way.

What it comes down to is business. Warners is looking to Batman v Superman as the precursor to a Justice League movie, where a group of super heroes combine their forces. The studio watched as Disney/Marvel had a huge hit with 2012’s The Avengers and the owners of the WB shield want in on that kind of action.

The U.N.C.L.E. film, meanwhile, is more of a back door operation. Warners would, of course, like it to be a hit. But it has bet a relatively modest sum, if $75 million can be called modest. That’s less money that, say, the first Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes film. That 2009 project, which, like U.N.C.L.E., was directed by Guy Ritchie, had an estimated budget of $95 million. Of course, Downey, fresh off 2008’s Iron Man, was a star. It remains to be seen whether Cavill is a star beyond 2013’s Man of Steel.

Warners has a lot invested in its superhero properties (its parent company owns DC Comics). It’s also trying to play catch up with Disney/Marvel’s machine-like output of films.

Also, Superman has more name recognition among the general public than U.N.C.L.E. does. Christopher Reeve did four Superman films from 1978 to 1987, Warners has produced various Superman TV projects, a 2006 movie and Man of Steel. There hasn’t been an U.N.C.L.E. production since a 1983 television movie. The first-generation U.N.C.L.E. fan base isn’t getting any younger.

Put another way, leveraging DC characters is a top priority for the studio. U.N.C.L.E.? Not so much.

For better or worse, U.N.C.L.E. fans are going to have to wait to see what Cavill and Ritchie have done with U.N.C.L.E.

Robert Vaughn tells fans he’s not in the U.N.C.L.E. movie

Robert Vaughn during fan appearance. (Uncle Agents photo by Nancy Battaglia Frankmano, used with permission)

Robert Vaughn during fan appearance. (Uncle Agents photo by Nancy Battaglia Frankmano, used with permission)

Robert Vaughn told fans during an appearance at the Dean Martin Expo in New York that he was never approached about doing a cameo in The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie, according to a post on the UNCLE AGENTS PAGE ON FACEBOOK.

Vaughn, 81, met fans as part of a “meet and greet” organized in connection with the convention. Here’s the text of an Uncle Agents post:

He was asked if Warner Bros. or the Producers of the NEW Man from U.N.C.L.E. film contacted him to be in it. “No,” was his answer. There were some gasps from the crowd. He told us that, no one ever approached him about being in the film, and that he was only working about a block from the shoot.

According to another post on the site, Vaughn joked about the kind of cameo he’d have wanted to do. “I would have wanted to be the guy pressing the clothes.”

Vaughn played Napoleon Solo in the 1964-68 television series, a role that Henry Cavill had for the movie. Previously, Vaughn’s co-star, David McCallum, said he wouldn’t appear in the movie either. His role of Illya Kuryakin was played by Armie Hammer in the film.

Principal photography on the movie ran from early September to early December 2013. The production was based at Warner Bros.’ U.K. studio. Meanwhile, Vaughn was in the U.K. for a stage production of Twelve Angry Men. For those unfamiliar with the original series, one of the entrances to U.N.C.L.E. headquarters was through Del Floria’s tailor shop.

The movie, which has an “origin of U.N.C.L.E.” plot line, will be released in the U.S. in January 2015.

OCTOBER 2013 POST: VAUGHN SAYS HE’S GOTTEN ‘FEELERS’ ABOUT AN U.N.C.L.E. CAMEO

NOVEMBER 2013 POST: VAUGHN SAYS NO U.N.C.L.E. CAMEO YET

UPDATE: Does the U.N.C.L.E. movie have a composer?

Henry Cavill's Napoleon Solo

Henry Cavill’s Napoleon Solo

Shoutout to @laneyboggs2001 on Twitter for the tip.

IMDB.com’s entry for THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. movie now lists Theodore Shapiro as composer. The website joins the online encyclopedia Wikipedia (both HERE and HERE) as listing Shapiro as doing the music.

The usual caveat: Both Wikipedia and IMDB rely on users to supply information. Editors try to police data for accuracy but errors can creep into both websites.

Shapiro, 42, has scored such films as To listen to samples of his work you can The Devil Wears Prada, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and Marley & Me. You can CLICK HERE to watch a short 2009 video where Shapiro (pronounced sha-PIE-roe) discusses his work.

Assuming Shapiro is the man, the question is whether he’ll incorporate Jerry Goldsmith’s original theme for the original 1964-68 television series. There were five versions during the series (two in the first season, one each for the remaining three). Here’s four of them:

UPDATE: One more caveat. The name of writer Jeffrey Hatcher was added to the IMDB listing for the U.N.C.L.E. movie. It came off later. So, we’ll see if Shapiro does score the movie.

Does the U.N.C.L.E. movie have a composer?

Henry Cavill's Napoleon Solo

Henry Cavill’s Napoleon Solo

Shoutout to @laneyboggs2001 on Twitter for the tip.

There’s been no announcement, but Wikipedia lists Theodore Shapiro as composer for The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie.

The online encyclopedia actually has done it twice, both in its ENTRY FOR THE MOVIE as well as its BIO OF SHAPIRO. Meanwhile, IMDB.com’s LISTING FOR THE MOVIE still doesn’t have a composer.

Both Wikipedia and IMDB rely on users to supply information. Editors try to police data for accuracy but errors can creep into both websites.

Shapiro, 42, was born more than three years after the end of the original 1964-68 U.N.C.L.E. television series. To listen to samples of his work you can CLICK HERE to hear a suite from The Devil Wears Prada; HERE for a suite of tracks he composed for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty; and HERE for a track from Marley & Me.

Besides the obvious question of whether Wikipedia is even correct, it remains to be seen whether the movie’s composer will use Jerry Goldsmith’s theme music from the original show.

The movie, starring Henry Cavill as Napoleon Solo and Armie Hammer as Illya Kuryakin, will debut in the U.S. in January 2015.

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