The Secret Service principals compare movie to old-style 007

UPDATE (July 26): A reader who was at the presentation tells us that a Colin Firth quote below was transcribed incorrectly by Screen Rant. Quote has been changed to reflect that.

Some of the people behind the new Kingsman: The Secret Service compared the upcoming film to 1960s James Bond movies and other spy entertainment of that decade, according to the entertainment website SCREEN RANT.

The movie got promoted at the San Diego comic book convention. The film is based on a 2012 comic book series by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons.

Millar made light of more recent Bond films with Daniel Craig in discussing Kingsman. “James Bond cries in the shower now in these movies but [star Colin Firth] gets to do cool stuff – like firing these gadgets and all this stuff. I think he got the best gig in the end.”

Firth kept his comparisons to the 1960s. He was quoted thusly by Screen Rant (with corrections included): “I enjoyed this kind of thing growing up in the ’60s and the character of the spy movie has its roots in the ’60s. It’s the Man from Uncle U.N.C.L.E., it’s the Harry Donner Palmer films, it’s John Speed’s Steed’s Avengers, and those early Bond films. It’s the guy in the suit who seems slick and cool and capable but very contained but you cross him at your peril.”

The Matthew Vaughn-directed film is due out this fall.

Me TV teases its fall schedule but doesn’t mention U.N.C.L.E.

"What's happening with Me TV, Mr. Solo?"

“What’s happening with Me TV, Mr. Solo?”


So, Memorable Entertainment Television, popularly known as Me TV, has started to tease its fall schedule. But there’s no mention of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Me TV’s website has video four short promos for series to be shown in the fall, including Mission: Impossible.

As recently as Sunday, July 20, its Facebook page had a 10-second promo for The Man From U.N.C.L.E. But, as of Wednesday, July 23, that same FACEBOOK PAGE has no mention of U.N.C.L.E. Meanwhile, Me TV telecast its short M:I promo during its July 23 telecast of The Rockford Files.

Your guess is as good as this blog’s as to what’s going on. The Me TV U.N.C.L.E. promo wasn’t a mirage because various Facebook users were sharing it on their accounts. Meanwhile a two-hour “spy bloc” on Me TV of U.N.C.L.E. and M:I would makes sense. A few years ago, Me TV had a two-hour “war series bloc” of Combat! and Twelve O’Clock High in its overnight offerings.

If Me TV has changed its mind, perhaps it’s yet another example of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. curse.

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.

‘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.

Matt Helm audio books coming in August

Matt Helm cover image that debuted with 1963's The Ambushers novel

Matt Helm cover image that debuted with 1963’s The Ambushers novel

Audio book versions of Donald Hamilton’s first five Matt Helm novels are coming in August.

Death of a Citizen, The Wrecking Crew, The Removers, The Silencers and Murderers’ Row will make their audio book debut on Aug. 26 and cost $49 each. You can CLICK HERE for ordering information.

The five novels were published 1960 to 1962. They were part of a 27-book series, with the last published in 1993. Titan Books returned the Helm series to print in 2011.

For a detailed description of the first five novels, you can check out The Matt Helm Dossier’s descriptions of Death of a Citizen, The Wrecking Crew, The Removers, The Silencers and Murderers’ Row.

You can CLICK HERE for the website’s list of all of the Helm books.

If U.N.C.L.E. is a success, can Cavill do sequels?

Henry Cavill as Napoleon Solo

Henry Cavill as Napoleon Solo

File this under “getting ahead of yourself.” Still, at major companies, people are paid to think about various future scenarios. So…

If The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie, scheduled to debut in January 2015, is a success, will the lead even be able to do any sequels?

Warner Bros. evidently plans on keeping Henry Cavill busy playing Superman. The studio also controls U.N.C.L.E., but you still have to wonder if the actor will have enough time to do future U.N.C.L.E. films. He played Napoleon Solo in the U.N.C.L.E. movie that’s now in post-production.

Here’s what prompts the question:

Nikki Finke, the founder of the Deadline: Hollywood website, is now on her own and has started A NEW WEBSITE. She has a history of scoops that have been proven to be true, such as Sam Mendes being in talks to direct Skyfall and John Logan being hired to write Bond 24 and Bond 25.

In one of her posts on the new site, Finke reported that Warner Bros. plans in the way of superhero movies. It’s already known that Warners is planning a Batman-Superman movie for May 2016 (it’s currently in production) and a Justice League film for 2017.

According to Finke, the studio also wants another solo Superman movie for May 2018. (She also says Warners plans several other superhero projects as it tries to catch up with Disney’s Marvel Studios.) Cavill first played the character in 2013’s Man of Steel.

If Finke is right, you’ve got to wonder if Cavill would have the time to do an U.N.C.L.E. sequel. Superhero movies involve a lot of special effects and long shooting schedules.

The U.N.C.L.E. movie had a tight, three-month shooting schedule — probably in part to make sure Cavill could beef up in time to do the Batman-Superman film. Compare that to Skyfall, the most recent James Bond movie, that had a seven-month shooting schedule.

Again, this is looking way ahead. The U.N.C.L.E. movie hardly is assured of being a hit. It doesn’t have the name recognition of the comic book characters from Marvel and DC that are populating movies.

Considering the seeming curse whether there’d even be an U.N.C.L.E. movie, it’s remarkable there’s even a film to watch. Even then, some fans don’t like the idea of a movie, preferring there never, ever be any more versions of the original 1964-68 series.

Still, it is something to keep in mind as events unfold in the months ahead.

The FBI season 8: time of transition at QM Productions

"Sorry, Arthur, no time to talk right now. I'm ordering season eight of The FBI."

“Sorry, Arthur, no time to talk right now. I’m ordering season eight of The FBI.”

The eighth, and next-to-last, season of The FBI is now available from Warner Archive The 1972-73 season marked a time of transition at QM Productions.

From the fall of 1967 (when The Fugitive ended a four-year run) to the fall of 1971 (When Cannon began the first of five seasons), The FBI kept producer Quinn Martin in business.

Some of Martin’s series, such as The Invaders, were cult hits but didn’t last that long. The Invaders, about an architect’s one-man battle against invading aliens, ran 43 episodes over two seasons. Banyon, a 1930s detective show, and Dan August, a contemporary police show, had short runs.

By the fall of 1972, things had begun to change. Cannon’s second season was starting and QM’s The Streets of San Francisco, was beginning a five-year run. In early 1973, QM added Barnaby Jones to the mix, which would run eight seasons.

Meanwhile, for its eighth season, The FBI continued to cruise along. It was the fourth season under producer Philip Saltzman. It would be his last work on the series. He’d be shifted to Barnaby Jones starting during that show’s second season. Eventually, Saltzman became executive producer of all of QM’s shows after Quinn Martin sold his company in the late 1970s.

Season 8 would also be the last as a regular for William Reynolds, who played sidekick Tom Colby to Efrem Zimbalist Jr.’s Inspector Lewis Erskine. Reynolds had been around The FBI even longer than Saltzman, joining the series as a regular in the third season and had been a guest star in the first and second seasons.

Season 8 hasn’t been included in previous syndication packages for The FBI. For information about ordering, you can CLICK HERE.

Fans say they’ve seen U.N.C.L.E. test showing

Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer

Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer

A few fans took to Twitter saying they had seen a June 9 test screening of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie in the Los Angeles area.

At this point, three fans seem to have Tweeted. You can CLICK HERE or CLICK HERE or CLICK HERE to view the postings. (UPDATE: There’s a fourth from somebody who didn’t like it. You can CLICK HERE to read the negative mini-review.)

The fans involved didn’t provide a lot of details. Some said they liked the stars, Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer, who play the roles of Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin that Robert Vaughn and David McCallum portrayed in the original 1964-68 television series. One fan said the test showing was at a theater in Pasdena, California. The postings were spotted by @laneyboggs2001 on Twitter.

If there actually was a test screening, some questions arise. No composer for the U.N.C.L.E. movie, which won’t be released until January 2015, has been announced. Did the test version use music from another movie, or movies, to take up the slack? Also, some test versions of films can be rough, missing special effects that are still in production.

Still, this may be a sign that Warner Bros. is taking some care with U.N.C.L.E. Some reshoots were done earlier this year that didn’t involve the main actors. A test screening seven months before the premier date would provide time if other fixes are needed. Presumably, it’d be hard to do anything too elaborate. Cavill currently is filming a Batman-Superman movie.

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