U.N.C.L.E.: what’s same, what’s different

Image that accompanied Guy Ritchie post

U.N.C.L.E. movie poster

The principals of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie have spelled out in a bit more detail about what’s the same (or at least similar) and what’s different from the original 1964-68 series.

IGN.com on June 11 ran an interview originally conducted last year with co-writers/co-producers Guy Ritchie and Lionel Wigram as well stars Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer. The story apparently was online for a time the day before because the Henry Cavill News site quoted IGN in a JUNE 10 POST.

Regardless, what follows is information in the interview that caught our eye.

SAME/SIMILAR: The lead characters of Napoleon Solo (Cavill) and Illya Kuryakin (Hammer).

A quote from Wigram: “The personalities of Solo and Kuryakin are inspired by the show, clearly.”

DIFFERENT: Solo’s background. It was already known that Solo is a CIA agent in the film and he had history as an art thief. Cavill expanded on that to IGN:

“My character is not a born CIA man,” the actor said. “He was very much into the black market before that and got blackmailed into the CIA… he has learned some skills, but he’s not sort of born and bred by any means.”

Meanwhile, Kuryakin’s loyalty to the Soviet Union — something the show mostly avoided addressing — is made clear in the film. Kuryakin is “a hardcore red communist, you know?” Hammer said in the interview.

SAME/SIMILAR: An attempt at a drama-humor balance. The original series itself varied, with the first two seasons mostly balancing the two, the third going overly light and the final going very serious for the most part.

” This is a piece of entertainment,” Wigram told IGN. “We’re not trying to say anything important about the meaning of life or politics or anything like that. We’re trying to have fun, without insulting anyone’s intelligence, kind of like the show.” At the same time, Wigram cited not only early James Bond films as influences but Michael Caine’s Harry Palmer movies and John Le Carre.

DIFFERENT: U.N.C.L.E.’s timeline. In the show, U.N.C.L.E. has been established for some time (Solo and Kuryakin joined it in the 1950s). The organization doesn’t exist at the start of the movie.

Wigram commented to IGN on why the filmmakers went with an origin story.

“(T)his is really the story of how the U.N.C.L.E. organisation came together,” the co-writer/co-producer said. “The television story has not told that. U.N.C.L.E. is simply a sort of United Nations of spies. You have a Russian and American working together at the height of the Cold War, but it’s never explained why, so I thought, it could be really interesting if you actually start with Napolean Solo a CIA agent and Illya Kuryakin as a KGB agent who are on opposite sides.”

To read the entire interview, CLICK HERE.

Third U.N.C.L.E. movie trailer goes online

A third trailer for The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie went online today at 1 p.m. New York time.

The new trailer appears to be a slightly tweaked version of the trailer that played in some U.S. theaters on May 29-31 with the Warner Bros. movie San Andreas.

The main change is a scene toward the end where Waverly (Hugh Grant) tells Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) that his new code name is “uncle” (or perhaps “U.N.C.L.E.”). In the May 29-31 trailer that scene was present, but there was no dialogue. Also, the scene was played in slow motion in the earlier trailer.

One other notable change: The May 29-31 trailer had a scene where there’s an explosion. Solo is annoyed. “My jacket was in there,” he says calmly. It’s not in the trailer that came out today.

Otherwise, the trailer that’s online includes Solo in peril (he’s in an electric chair) and a demonstration of how Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer) is a huge, powerful man when he rips off a car’s trunk lid.

Sam Rolfe, developer of the original 1964-68 series and the creator of Kuryakin, envisioned him as large. That all changed when 5-foot-7 David McCallum was cast.

Anyway, you can take a look below. The trailer includes more snippets of the film’s main titles. The movie is scheduled to debut Aug. 14.

UPDATE: Composer Daniel Pemberton, on Twitter, says the new trailer contains some of his score.

Guy Ritchie posts a preview to new U.N.C.L.E. trailer

Logo for The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie

Logo for The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie

Director Guy Ritchie, IN A POST ON INSTAGRAM provided a preview of the new trailer for The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie.

According to the post, the trailer should be out around 1 p.m. New York time. The preview in Ritchie’s Instagram post has some scenes that were in the teaser trailer released Feb. 11 and some that were in a trailer shown in theaters May 29-31.

One exchange between Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) tells and Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer) that he hates work with him. Kuryakin replies, “You’re a terrible spy, cowboy.”

Christopher Lee dies at 93

Christopher Lee in The Man With the Golden Gun

Christopher Lee in The Man With the Golden Gun

Christopher Lee, who enjoyed a long film career in character roles, died June 7, according to AN OBITUARY IN THE GUARDIAN.

Lee, 93, was well known for playing Dracula. As a change of pace, he played the title character in 1974’s The Man With the Golden Gun. Lee transformed the thuggish Scaramanga of Ian Fleming’s final James Bond novel into a sophisticated villain with psychological issues.

Golden Gun is viewed by many fans a weaker entry in the Bond film series though Lee’s performance usually isn’t cited as a factor. Also, Lee was a distant relative of Fleming and had experience in intelligence work during World War II, according to the documentary Inside The Man With the Golden Gun.

In addition to the obituary, The Guardian posted an appreciation of Lee’s career. Here’s an excerpt from the commentary by Peter Bradshaw, referring to the actor’s first appearance as Dracula:

(W)hen Lee’s Count Dracula first walked down to the stairs to greet his visitors in the first Hammer movie version it was a revelation. He was tall (six foot five), handsome and well-built, with an easy athleticism and a frank, direct manner. His deep, melodious voice completed the effect: commanding. There was nothing unwholesome-looking about this vampire, not at first: he looked more like a British or at any rate Central European version of Gary Cooper….Christopher Lee was Dracula; he had taken over the character as clearly as Sean Connery took over James Bond.

To view a list of Lee’s acting credits on IMDB.com, CLICK HERE. To view The New York Times’s obituary for Lee, CLICK HERE.

UPDATE (9:30 a.m., New York time): Roger Moore, who played Bond opposite Lee, commented on Twitter:

UPDATE II (11 a.m., New York time): Also, via Twitter, here’s a chart showing how Christopher Lee and Ian Fleming were related: