Soderbergh loses his Kuryakin, Whatculture! says

Steven Soderbergh, director of the upcoming movie version of The Man From U.N.C.L.E., lost out on the chance to cast his preferred choice as Illya Kuryakin, according to the Web site Whatculture!

The key excerpt:

Steven Soderbergh met with Joel Kinnaman, the Swedish star of Snabba Cash and lead of The Killing, to discuss the role of Illya Kuryakin in his adaptation of the 60s spy show The Man From U.N.C.L.E. that is being turned into a large scale blockbuster at Warner Bros. Upon the meeting, Soderbergh made it known he wanted to cast the rising star but in the end Warner Bros have slotted him into co-leading another of their big money potential franchise starters.

According to the Whatculture! story, which you can read by BY CLICKING HERE, is a movie called Arthur & Lancelot, that starts filming in March.

In The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Russian agent Kuryakin was the Number Two of Section Two (Operations and Enforcement) of U.N.C.L.E., second only to American agent Napoleon Solo, a character created by Norman Felton and Ian Fleming, the latter, of course, the creator of James Bond.

Kuryakin, along with almost everyting else about U.N.C.L.E., was created by Sam Rolfe, who got a “developed by” credit on the show. Kuryakin’s popularity rivaled Solo’s. Many of Kuryakin’s characteristics were established by Alan Caillou, who wrote several episodes that helped develop the Kuryakin character. Robert Vaughn and David McCallum played Solo and Kuryakin in the original series.

The Whatculture! story mostly concerns itself with Kinnaman’s background and details about the Arthur & Lancelot movie project. In any case, no news yet on who McCallum’s successor as Kuryakin may be.

Ian Fleming names names

Fleming's letter to Wren Howard.

James Bond titles have always been a subject of interest to aficionados of the genre. From the evocative titles of the original Ian Fleming novels — From Russia, with Love; You Only Live Twice, etc. — to the “Die/Kill” mashups of the late 90s — Die Another Day; The Facts of Death; Tomorrow Never Dies; High Time to Kill; etc. — the names of the 007 books and films provide ample opportunity for gossip, speculation, and scholarship.

In regards to scholarship, that terrific website Letters of Note has done it again. They have dug up a letter from July of 1954 from Ian Fleming, brainstorming titles for the follow-up to the just published Live and Let Die. The letter was addressed to Wren Howard, of the Jonathan Cape publishing company, and provides an interesting look into the collaborative process that authors and publishers engage in.

We’re not going to steal Letters of Note’s thunder here by naming any examples. Rather, we’ll direct you straight to the site, and to the article The Infernal Machine. (Even if that’s some indication.)

Very interesting and very cool. Well done, guys.