Some unanswered questions about an U.N.C.L.E. movie

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise

Talk about a movie version of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. isn’t going away. If anything, there are signs this project is, at the very least, inching ahead. So, naturally, there are questions begging to be asked, even if the answers aren’t forthcoming.

Is this thing actually going to happen? One sign the answer is yes was the news that a female lead may be cast. According to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, an actress has emerged as the female lead. An excerpt:

Rising Swedish actress Alicia Vikander is in negotiations for the female lead opposite Tom Cruise and Armie Hammer in Warner Bros.’ Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie.


Vikander will play a British agent who has a thing for cars. The character did not appear in the TV series nor the short-lived spinoff, The Girl From U.N.C.L.E., and is a new creation.

Why is that significant? Because during the long soap opera about a possible U.N.C.L.E. movie two years ago, when Steven Soderbergh was hired to direct, there was a lot of trouble casting the leads. For the past couple of months, reports from a variety of outlets have been consistently saying Cruise and Hammer would be the leads. During the Soderbergh project, you never heard about other parts.

Will this project use the Scott Z. Burns script that Soderbergh’s project was based on? Or is it another story entirely? That is one of the biggest of the unanswered questions. Burns’s script was a 1960s period piece that had some common elements to the 1965 007 film Thunderball.

Any red flags? A few. Warner Bros. hasn’t made an official announcement, though often lots of things leak out before a movie is announced. Meanwhile, Cruise is 50 (and turns 51 on July 3) and Vikander is 24 (turning 25 in October). May-December pairings can work. Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall were a quarter-century apart while Gary Cooper and Audrey Hepburn were 28 years apart, to cite two examples. But will it work in U.N.C.L.E. or just lead to some sarcastic humor among fans?

A natural speculation among fans is that Cruise’s Napoleon Solo (presuming he does play Solo and not a new character) will intentionally be older than the Solo of the show. Robert Vaughn, the original Solo, turned 31 while filming the U.N.C.L.E. pilot. He was 50, the same age Cruise is now, when he played Solo in the 1983 television movie, The Return of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

If it gets made, when would this movie come out? Cruise seems to have a lot on his plate, including A FIFTH MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE MOVIE. Even a workaholic like Cruise can squeeze so many projects in a year’s time. It would seem to be 2014 at the earliest, perhaps even 2015 or 2016.

EARLIER POST: The Man From U.N.C.L.E.: the long and the short and the tall