U.N.C.L.E. movie notes: casting and social media

UNCLE logo 02

Bit by bit, scattered details about the The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie are emerging.

CASTING: @laneyboggs2001 on Twitter has tracked down casting from various Internet sources. They include Zee Omar as an Egyptian general and Gabriel Farnese as an Italian playboy.

The movie’s IMDB.COM CAST LIST is filling out, including two KGB agent parts.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Terry Bamber, first assistant director of the movie’s second (or action) unit, put out a Sept. 13 Tweet with a picture of a sign for an office for second unit crew members. It has an U.N.C.L.E. logo in the same font as the original 1964-68 series (though missing the last period in U.N.C.L.E.). Bamber doesn’t give away much except to say “I loved the original – now gang be prepared to be amazed at this.”

Bamber is also production manager for the second unit and performed similar duties on the last five James Bond movies including Skyfall.

(UPDATE Sept. 18): LaneyBoggs spotted AN AUG. 28 TWEET by Bamber where his Diet Coke and coffee were atop a Sept. 25 shooting schedule. Presumably that’s for the U.N.C.L.E. movie but there are no specific references.

Actress Allegra Riggio, who’s engaged to Jared Harris, who has a role in the film, this week visited the U.N.C.L.E. set and posted about it on Twitter. There were no spoilers. Some examples can be seen HERE, HERE and HERE.

Meanwhile, Evie Wray, whose IMDB.com entry lists some actress and makeup department credits, put out a TWEET hinting that she may be involved with the movie. Here’s the text of that Tweet:

Evie Wray‏@eviewray
time to find my Man From U.N.C.L.E box set.. prep for filming next month .. #spy #CIA #60s #ManFromUNCLE pic.twitter.com/nq8dq4prGM

The Tweet included a photograph of the DVD box set of the original show.

From Russia With Love’s 50th Part III: Desmond Llewelyn

Desmond Llewelyn instructs Sean Connery

Desmond Llewelyn instructs Sean Connery

Audiences of the initial release of From Russia With Love didn’t realize it at the time, but they witnessed the start of a character actor’s 17-film, 36-year run.

Desmond Llewelyn took over the role of Major Boothroyd from Peter Burton, who played the part in Dr. No. In the initial 007 outing, Boothroyd presented Bond with his new gun, a Walther PPK. Llewelyn’s Boothroyd gave Sean Connery’s James Bond something more elaborate: a briefcase, if not opened properly, that would emit tear gas. It was also equipped with a sniper’s rifle, 50 gold pieces and a knife.

At this point, the character wasn’t referred to as Q. M mentions “Q branch” and its “smart-looking piece of luggage.” Boothroyd doesn’t reveal much of his feelings toward Bond either.

No matter. The actor’s appearance in From Russia With Love set the stage for his long run in the part. The Guy Hamilton-directed Goldfinger established Boothroyd’s annoyance at Bond regarding the agent’s disrespect of Q-branch equipment. In the 1965 television special The Incredible World of James Bond, the character would be referred to as “the fussy Major Boothroyd.”

Eventually, Llewelyn’s character would just be called Q, though Soviet agent Triple-X reminded viewers of the Boothroyd name in 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me.

Llewelyn would play opposite five Bond actors. In the 1990s, the question was how long would the actor continue. Bruce Feirstein’s first-draft screenplay of Tomorrow Never Dies, includes a character named Malcolm Saunders, who is “Q’s successor.”

In his first appearance in the script, Saunders is “looking like a mummy – plaster casts on his left leg, left arm; neck-brace, crutch.” Saunders explains how he received his injuries: “Q’s retirement party. I’d just put the knife into the cake, and – ” However, the retired Q shows up later in the story. In the much-revised final story, we get a standard Bond-Q scene with Llewelyn opposite Pierce Brosnan, except it takes place in Germany instead of MI6 headquarters.

In Llewelyn’s finale, 1999’s The World Is Not Enough, Q/Boothroyd is talking retirement. Brosnan’s Bond doesn’t believe it — or doesn’t want to believe it. Q gives Bond some advice (always have an escape route) and makes his exit.

Llewelyn died in December 1999 of injuries from a car accident.

NEXT: Legacy