The U.N.C.L.E. movie’s `Easter eggs’

Napoleon Solo, past and present

Napoleon Solo, past and present

As filming of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie continued this week in Italy, it seems as if the film has “Easter eggs” for fans of the original 1964-68 series.

The term “Easter Eggs” could be heard this summer when Warner Bros.’s Man of Steel, which starred Henry Cavill, came out. There were references to other DC Comics characters, such as a Wayne Enterprises sign on a satellite or refernces to references to Lexcorp, the conglomerate run by Lex Luthor. The idea is provide fans of the source material a little something extra while (the studio hopes) providing a movie that appeals to a broader audience.

The U.N.C.L.E. movie may be doing something similar.

Cavill, who’s playing the Napoleon Solo role originated by Robert Vaughn, was photographed in a black outfit, including a black jacket, apparently as part of a sequence where U.N.C.L.E.’s ace sneaking about. The black jacket, shirt and pants looks similar to outfits Vaughn wore in episodes of the series such as The Quadripartite Affair and The Dippy Blonde Affair.

Cavill's Solo, complete with pinkie ring

Cavill’s Solo, complete with pinkie ring

Earlier in the week, Cavill was photographed in a suit and wearing a pinkie ring. Such as ring was also a trademark of the original Solo. Now, Cavill has been photographed with a pinkie ring at other times, as can seen on the home page of the DAILYCAVILL.COM fan Web site. So it may just be coincidence.

On the other hand, Armie Hammer, who plays Illya Kuryakin, the role originated by David McCallum, has been seen seen in a turtleneck, which was one of the trademarks of McCullum/Kuryakin.

Even assuming all of these are intentional “Easter eggs,” that doesn’t mean director Guy Ritchie won’t put his own spin on the material. The guess here is he will, and in ways that remain to be seen.

What’s more, Man of Steel, despite its “Easter eggs,” made some major adjustments to the Superman mythos, including the Clark Kent-Lois Lane relationship and having the hero take the life of villain General Zod whereupon the comic book Superman once took a vow to never kill. The repercussions of the latter is supposed to be explored in the Superman-Batman film that Cavill will film in 2014.

As for the U.N.C.L.E. movie, one request. No clogs for Solo as an “Easter egg,” please.

David Picker, key UA executive, publishes memoir

Picker: Diamonds Are Forever saved the franchise

Picker: Diamonds Are Forever saved the franchise

David Picker, a United Artists executive who helped get the James Bond film franchise off the ground, has come out with a memoir, MUSTS, MAYBES AND NEVERS.

Picker, 82, provided a detailed description to THE DEADLINE ENTERTAINMENT NEWS WEB SITE and its editor in chief, Nikki Finke. Here’s an excerpt concerning the 007 series. It begins with how Picker pushed 007 producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman to bring Sean Connery back for 1971’s Diamonds Are Forever:

It’s a book about movies that I was actually part of – from getting Sean Connery to come back and do one more James Bond film and save the franchise…


James Bond – briefly: Why did it take years (seven books worth) before James Bond came to the screen? Couldn’t any intelligent studio production executive see that Bond was a franchise waiting to happen? The answer is complex. Sometimes everything has to fall in place…

…Bud Ornstein, the head of UA London production called and said that Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman were coming to New York and they wanted to meet with Arthur Krim, Robert Benjamin, Arnold Picker and me. I set up the date. Harry, Cubby and Harry’s lawyer, Irving Moskowitz, sat in Arthur Krim’s office with Bob Benjamin, Arnold Picker and me. I usually sat to the left of Arthur’s desk, often with one of my long legs propped on the corner of the desk so I could tilt my chair back. Cubby was the first to speak. “We own the rights to James Bond. Are you interested?”

My leg came down and my chair hit the ground with a thud. And 007 began his screen life.

Picker was one of the biggest backers of the Bond series in the UA executive offices. His description about the book’s contents to Finke is much longer and mentions various films. You can read it BY CLICKING HERE

You can order the book from Amazon BY CLICKING HERE.

UPDATE (Sept. 28): On, the book’s preview includes the table of contents and part of the index. There’s a chapter devoted to the 007 series and different aspects of the movies are referenced in the index. Non-Bond topics in the book include studios operating as part of larger conglomerates, including flak United Artists executives got from Transamerica Corp. Picker also discusses successful movies he let get away. Finally, Picker discusses people he worked with such as diverse as the Beatles, Billy Wilder and Stanley Kramer.