U.N.C.L.E.’s director of photography talks up Cavill’s Solo

Henry Cavill's Napoleon Solo reports for duty in January 2015

Henry Cavill’s Napoleon Solo

Thanks to C.W. Walker for the heads up.

The man who photographed next year’s movie version of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. has made public comments about Henry Cavill’s version of Napoleon Solo, according to THE INDEPENDENT IN IRELAND.

John Mathieson, the movie’s director of photography, commented about Cavill’s performance and Guy Ritchie’s work as director.

Here’s an excerpt:

Speaking at the launch of the new Samsung Curved UHD screen TV in London he said: “I thought Henry was terrific.

“He plays it quite humorously, everything’s slightly quirky, slightly sharp. It was very comic strip in some ways, I mean that in a good way.

“He plays it very differently [to Superman], this is much more earthbound. He’s a peacock, and he’s very funny. I thought he was great.”

(snip)

(I)t’s got a very British feel….We filmed in London on a digital camera but we were trying to give it more of a sixties feel.

“It’s a very good looking film, it’s set in the sixties, it’s very chic.”

Mathieson also said that Ritchie is “still cutting, he’s very close to finishing….We’ve got to do some post production to get that sixties look really right.”

None of this is startling. Crew members rarely talk down on a movie before it’s released. But there hasn’t been much U.N.C.L.E. publicity since the film completed shooting in early December.

The movie has been given a January 2015 release date by Warner Bros. Ritchie’s version, which he co-wrote with Lionel Wigram, is set in the early 1960s and depicts the origin of U.N.C.L.E. The original Warners’ press release said that Solo was a CIA agent and Illya Kuryakin a KGB operative involved in a joint operation. Armie Hammer has the Kuryakin role in the movie.

The original 1964-68 series, starring Robert Vaughn and David McCallum, downplayed Cold War references.

Earlier this week, some reshoots were filmed of a car chase, something that @laneyboggs2001 at Twitter had sniffed out. The main actors weren’t involved. Cavill is currently in Michigan for production of a Superman-Batman movie scheduled for release in May 2016.

A few questions about the U.N.C.L.E. movie

"Illya, I hope there are more people in the theater when the U.N.C.L.E. movie comes out next year."

“Illya, I hope there are more people in the theater when the U.N.C.L.E. movie comes out next year.”

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie has a release date, Jan. 16, 2015. But, naturally, that just means more questions to deal with.

Is this good news? Not for those who wanted the movie out around the time of its 50th anniversary in September 2015 2014. And it raises questions how much Warner Bros. believes in the project.

Typically, a studio puts its big guns either during the summer season (defined as the start of May through the Labor Day weekend) or Thanksgiving-Christmas (defined as early November through the end of the year).

January is often used for movies that didn’t make the cut for the Thanksgiving-Christmas period. Last month, for example, Paramount released Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, which had been a contended for Thanksgiving-Christmas. The movie limped in at No. 4 in its opening weekend of Jan. 17-19, with U.S. ticket sales of not quite $15.5 million.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit ended up with worldwide box office of $123 million, with almost $75 million of that from international markets. The movie had an estimated budget of $60 million, according to Box Office Mojo. The U.N.C.L.E. movie had an estimated budget of $75 million, according to Variety.

Any news on a composer for the movie? Nope. But given the release date, one can’t help but wonder if this opens the door for Hans Zimmer.

Previously, Zimmer — who scored director Guy Ritchie’s two Sherlock Holmes movies — said scoring the Christopher Nolan Interstellar movie might prevent him taking the U.N.C.L.E. assignment. But U.N.C.L.E. won’t come out until more than two months after Interstellar. Perhaps Zimmer becomes an option again.

2015 will see both an U.N.C.L.E. movie and a James Bond movie (the as-yet untitled Bond 24). Has that ever happened?

Sort of. In the 1960s, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer released U.N.C.L.E. movies primarily for international audiences. They consisted of re-edited from television episodes ith additional footage for the movie versions.

The last year with a new Bond and U.N.C.L.E. *theatrically* movie was 1967, with You Only Live Twice and The Karate Killers, the sixth U.N.C.L.E. film. The former was a big hit (though not as big as 1965′s Thunderball) and the latter wasn’t as U.N.C.L.E. fervor was abating. The last two U.N.C.L.E. movies came out in 1968. (1983′s The Return of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. was a TV movie that aired on CBS the same year Octopussy and Never Say Never Again hit theaters.)

U.N.C.L.E. movie gets January 2015 release date

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 movie version of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. won’t be out in time for the 50th anniversary of the original series.

Warner Bros. assigned the U.N.C.L.E. movie a Jan. 16, 2015 release date in the U.S., ACCORDING TO VARIETY.COM.

It apparently got squeezed out of the 2014 Thanksgiving-Christmas holiday season (which for studios begins at the start of November). Already scheduled during that period were films such as Interstellar, Christopher Nolan’s first movie since his Batman trilogy, and the final of three Hobbit films.

An excerpt from Variety about the competition U.N.C.L.E. will face:

“Man From U.N.C.L.E” is the fourth title set to open on next year’s Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend after Fox’s “Frankenstein,” Sony/Screen Gems’ “The Wedding Ringer” and Universal’s untitled Michael Mann project.

The original series, which starred Robert Vaughn and David McCallum, will mark its golden anniversary in September. Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer will play Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin in the 2015 film. The Guy Ritchie-directed movie portrays the origin of U.N.C.L.E.

Some U.N.C.L.E. movie visual effects to be done in Canada

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

Cinesite, a U.K. visual effects company, is opening a Montreal facility and its first project will be The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie, according to A JAN. 20 HOLLYWOOD REPORTER STORY.

An excerpt:

London-based Cinesite will open a VFX facility in Montreal’s historic quarter, with a capacity for 250 artists, it was announced on Monday.

The international expansion for Cinesite, starting in Canada, follows the sale last year of the U.K. VFX house to private equity firm Endless LLP as part of a management buyout

Cinesite will split the U.N.C.L.E. work between London and Montreal, according to the story. The movie’s home base during production was Warner Bros.’s U.K. studio at Leavesden.

The Hollywood Reporter didn’t offer much in additional details about the movie, which was filmed from early September through early December.

The movie, directed by Guy Ritchie, has a reported $75 million budget. That’s considerably less than Skyfall, Man of Steel (which had Henry Cavill, who plays Napoleon Solo in U.N.C.L.E.) or The Lone Ranger (which had Armie Hammer, who plays Illya Kuryakin in U.N.C.L.E.), all of which had budgets of $200 million or more. So it remains to be seen how elaborate the U.N.C.L.E. visual effects will be.

UPDATE: @laneyboggs2001 on Twitter informs us that BLUE BOLT, ANOTHER U.K. VISUAL EFFECTS HOUSE is doing some U.N.C.L.E. (See right margin of link in this paragraph.)

Tweaked U.N.C.L.E. insignia shows up on Twitter

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

Thanks to @laneyboggs2001 on Twitter for the heads up.

An image of a revamped U.N.C.L.E. insignia has SHOWN UP ON TWITTER in the form of a photo of a second unit crew T-shirt.

It’s very similar to the logo used in the 1964-68 series The Man From U.N.C.L.E. But with the new insignia, the “Man” image has been revamped to more closely resemble Henry Cavill, who plays Napoleon Solo in the movie filmed last year. Robert Vaughn played the role in the ’60s series and a 1983 television movie.

The new logo’s Man wears a three-piece suit while the original Man was clad in a basic suit. Also, the gun the Man is holding appears to be slightly different than the original.

It’s not known if the crew T-shirt logo will actually be used to market the new movie. Warner Bros. hasn’t yet announced a release date for the Guy Ritchie-directed film.

Spy entertainment to watch in 2014

It’s only a few days before the near year. So it’s not too early to think about spy-related entertainment coming up in 2014.

Daniel Craig during the filming of Skyfall

Daniel Craig during the filming of Skyfall


Bond 24 begins filming: The 24th 007 film produced by Eon Productions probably will go into production toward the end of the year to meet is October (U.K.)/November (U.S.) 2015 release date.

There’s not much hard information, other than Daniel Craig is back as Bond, Sam Mendes is again directing and John Logan is writing the script.

Ralph Fiennes, whose Mallory became the new M at the end of 2012′s Skyfall, TOLD REUTERS IN A DEC. 24 STORY that, “I know nothing, I’ve not been told anything, I have no information, no dates, no sense of the journey of my character at all! I don’t!”

If Bond 24 follows the same path as Skyfall, casting details will dribble out, though not be confirmed initially. With Skyfall, the casting of Fiennes, Naomie Harris and Javier Bardem were all reported long before the movie started principal photography in November 2011.

U.N.C.L.E. movie (probably) arrives in theaters: Director Guy Ritchie’s movie version of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. wrapped production the first week of December. Warner Bros. hasn’t publicly announced a release date but there’s certainly enough post-production time for a fall 2014 release.

Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer (Art by Paul Baack)

Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer
(Art by Paul Baack)


The movie, starring Henry Cavill as Napoleon Solo and Armie Hammer as Illya Kuryakin, will be the first U.N.C.L.E. production since the 1983 television movie The Return of The Man From U.N.C.L.E., which reunited Robert Vaughn and David McCallum, the stars of the original 1964-68 television series.

The film will also be a test whether there’s a mass audience in the 21st century for U.N.C.L.E., a “utopian” spy concept in which agents from opposing sides in the Cold War could unite against common menaces. The movie will be set in the 1960s, the same as the original show.

Mission: Impossible 5 starts production: Tom Cruise is back for a fifth time as the star of a Mission: Impossible film, which will be released at Christmas 2015. Cruise had been slated to star in the U.N.C.L.E. movie as Solo but dropped out as M:I 5 (which his production company produces) developed. That move gave the opening for Cavill’s casting in the U.N.C.L.E. movie.

Cruise’s most recent M:I film, Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol, was a hit while while paying homages to the original 1966-73 television series, while the original 1996 movie turned Jim Phelps into a villain. Since then, Cruise has had his ups and downs. So he could use another financially successful M:I movie.

Golfinger’s 50th anniversary: 1964′s Goldfinger turned Bond into a worldwide phenomenon. Dr. No’s 50th anniversary got a lot of attention, in part because Skyfall was coming out. It’ll be interesting to see if Goldfinger’s golden anniversary draws attention.

Are cameos in movies worth it?

Alfred Hitchcock's cameo right after his "directed by" credit in North by Northwest

Alfred Hitchcock’s cameo in North by Northwest

This fall, fans of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. television series wondered if the show’s original stars would have a cameo in a new film version underway. Some fans were vocal, arguing that of course they should.

It’s not known if such a cameo took place for the U.N.C.L.E. movie. (Robert Vaughn said more than once he’d welcome the opportunity; David McCallum made comments suggesting he wouldn’t participate.) The subject though got this blog to thinking: are such cameos worth it, or are they more of a distraction for a finished film?

The king of such cameos was director Alfred Hitchcock, who made a cameo in his more than 50 films. They can be something of a mixed bag. In North by Northwest, he appears right after his “directed by” credit as a man missing his bus in New York City. The appearance, in effect, is an extension of the main titles designed by Saul Bass. At this point, the viewer hasn’t been watching the actual story of the film.

In other cases, Hitchcock’s appearance almost draw attention to themselves. In 1969′s Topaz, there’s an airport scene. The viewer is drawn to Hitchock, in a wheelchair, guided by a nurse. Hitchcock meets a man, abruptly stands up and shakes the man hand before walking off. By this point, more than 20 minutes of the story have been told. You could argue it’s a distraction, although it’s over pretty quickly.

In the James Bond series produced by Eon Productions, co-boss Michael G. Wilson has been performing cameos for decades. Again, they’re a bit of a mixed bag. In some cases (Skyfall, The World Is Not Enough), they’re fleeting, something for the hard-core fans while more casual 007 cinema goers aren’t likely to notice. In others (Tomorrow Never Dies, Casino Royale), they draw attention to themselves. Here are some:

The interest among U.N.C.L.E. fans whether the movie has cameos is different. Vaughn and McCallum established the original show’s popularity. There’d be no movie if there hadn’t been a television show in the first place. If one was filmed, would it distract from the Guy Ritchie-directed story? The counter question: do you owe it to the original actors if they’re interested? (Especially since Ritchie appears to have squeezed former soccer star David Beckham into the movie.)

None of these questions have right or wrong answers. Fan tastes vary. Hitchcock fans, for example, take pleasure in trying to spot the director’s cameos. In any case, it’s likely such cameos will continue in movies.

Actor says U.N.C.L.E. movie may come out in December 2014

U.N.C.L.E. insignia from a second-season episode

U.N.C.L.E. insignia from a second-season episode

Thanks to @Laneyboggs2001 who told the blog about this on Twitter.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie may have a December 2014 release date, according to a member of the cast.

Misha Kuznetsov, who is listed on the movie’s IMDB.COM ENTRY as playing “Oleg (KGB),” posted a picture of himself and co-star Armie Hammer on the VK social network site. The caption read, “Armie Harmer … Лондон на съемках Man from Uncle!! Comming next December 2014 !!!!”

Warner Bros. hasn’t disclosed a release date for the film, in which Hammer’s Illya Kuryakin will be oppose Henry Cavill’s Napoleon Solo. The official Warners site lists Horrible Bosses 2 for Nov. 26, 2014, and The Hobbit: There And Back Again for Dec. 17.

December would seem like a tight fit. Presumably Warners wouldn’t want to put U.N.C.L.E. too close to one of its own releases, particularly the finale of The Hobbit trilogy. According to A CHART on The Numbers website, other December 2014 releases include an Annie remake from Sony and Night at The Museum 3 from 20th Century Fox.

The Guy Ritchie-directed U.N.C.L.E. movie completed principal photography last week. If the December 2014 date does materialize, that would be three months after the 50th anniversary of the original television series starring Robert Vaughn and David McCallum. We’ll see.

Henry Cavill News interviews U.N.C.L.E. film actor

Henry Cavill as Napoleon Solo

Henry Cavill as Napoleon Solo

The Henry Cavill News site today PUBLISHED AN INTERVIEW with actor-musician Rob Jones, who plays, in his words, “one of the employed baddies” in The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie.

Jones is among the actors still working on the movie this week, the last of principal photography. Henry Cavill wrapped up his work as Napoleon Solo last week. The Guy Ritchie-directed film is being done as a 1960s period piece.

In the interview, Jones was careful with his words, trying not to give away much. The fan website asked Jones for his opinion of Cavill’s performance as Solo. The answer: “I think despite the era the film is set in, he will modernise Solo while maintaining the roots. He was great in The Tudors and awesome in Superman. I’ve no fear, especially after witnessing one of the bigger action scenes of MFU, that he’s adaptable to anything!”

The movie has a reported budget of $75 million, considerably lower than films such as Skyfall or Man of Steel, where Cavill played Superman. Jones said the movie has “big BIG sets! They’re not holding back on size here!”

To read the complete interview, CLICK HERE.

What we know and don’t know about the U.N.C.L.E. movie

Henry Cavill as Napoleon Solo

Henry Cavill as Napoleon Solo

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie is days away from finishing principal photography. So here’s a quick look at some of what’s know and not known about the project.

It’s a (relatively) lean production: The movie has a production budget of about $75 million, according to a
JULY STORY IN VARIETY BY JON BURLINGAME.

That’s hardly pocket change and a bigger budget than independent dramas. But it’s also noticeably less than Skyfall, the most recent James Bond movie ($200 million); R.I.P.D. ($130 million); The Lone Ranger ($215 million); and Man of Steel ($225 million).

Then again, a big budget is hardly a guarantee of success. Skyfall was a hit and Man of Steel (with Henry Cavill, the U.N.C.L.E. movie’s Napoleon Solo, playing Superman) did well enough to proceed with a sequel. R.I.P.D. and The Lone Ranger (with Armie Hammer, the U.N.C.L.E. movie’s Illya Kuryakin, as the title character although the star was Johnny Depp’s Tonto) were bombs. That’s especially true of R.I.P.D. a comedy with Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds that generated total worldwide ticket sales of $78.3 million, which was split with theaters.

It was a (relatively) tightly scheduled shoot: The U.N.C.L.E. movie began filming on Sept. 6. It will finish on Dec. 7, according to A TWEET by Luca Calvani, who play’s the film’s villain. That’s almost exactly three months. By comparison, Skyfall had a seven-month filming schedule from late 2011 through mid-2012.

There will be humor; the question is how much: Cavill signed on as a late replacement for Tom Cruise to play Solo. He said U.N.C.L.E. would have “DRY HUMOR.” The 30-year-old actor described himself as liking dry humor but not a fan of slapstick humor.

One fear of first-generation U.N.C.L.E. fans is there would be too much humor, which happened during THE THIRD SEASON of the original 1964-68 series. One sign that may not be the case: Entertainment Weekly DESCRIBED a scene where Calvani attacks Cavill “savagely,” kicking him in the “bollocks.” That never happened during U.N.C.L.E.’s sometimes goofy third season.

A broken record (by this blog), but who’s going to be the composer? One of the biggest unknowns still remains who will be the movie’s composer.

Hans Zimmer, who worked on director Guy Ritchie’s two Sherlock Holmes movies, has said he probably doesn’t have time given other commitments. Jerry Goldsmith, who composed the distinctive U.N.C.L.E. theme, died in 2004. Music is always an important consideration and there’s still no clue who will handle those chores for the new U.N.C.L.E. movie.

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