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.

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