Henry Cavill: The U.N.C.L.E. footnote

Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer (as devised by the late Paul Baack)

There has been plenty of coverage how Henry Cavill is being retired as Superman. Some James Bond fans still hold out (the fading) hope the 39-year-old Cavill could still be cast as James Bond. But that may be a long shot at this point.

Meanwhile, this week, the Collider website published an article that The Man From U.N.C.LE. was “the Henry Cavill franchise that should have been.”

Background: Cavill was a late casting as Napoleon Solo for the U.N.C.L.E. movie (filmed in the fall of 2013, but not released until August 2015).

Until Cavill came aboard, the filmmakers envisioned an older Solo paired with a younger Illya Kuryakin. Armie Hammer was cast as Illya first. Eventually, Guy Ritchie took over the project and his first choice was Brad Pitt as an older Solo. For a time, Tom Cruise was in the picture, but he went back to Paramount’s Mission: Impossible franchise.

When Cavill was cast as Solo, the concept of the original series was re-established: Two leads of about the same age.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie was not a financial success. It divided fans of the original 1964-68 television series. Some loved it. Others despised it, saying it was U.N.C.L.E. in name only.

Regardless, there is a “what could have been” vibe associated with all this. We’ll likely never know what could have been.

3 Responses

  1. Yeah, Cavill is a tad too old now. He would have been the right age beginning with SPECTRE. Also, it’s too bad he is no longer Superman and even when he was in the role, he never got good material. Today’s cynicism would not permit Superman to be himself. He has to be a freak, an alien, ugh.

  2. A comment here, just to see others. Knowing all this has been discussed. New actors, new age “had” to bring it up to date. But writers needed to tie to original. Sloan did that much, because he was an original fan. Just not enough. The 2015 movie could’ve referenced episodes, quirky villains, adventures, locations & settings, tropes, danger & rescues, chemistry (both curious & womanizing). Poking fun at itself (flashbacks?). Such an opportunity, missed!

    Whenever “action” and “easy flash” is trying to cover for missing pieces, it fails. Actors were so far from original intention (concept). The movie stole the title. That was the crime. Instead of justifying the excitement, escape, nostalgia, plot devices, creative novelty. If it was going to use the title, it needed a connection. Only actors can bring an imaginary universe to life. Instead of rejecting the original intention, they needed to improve it.

    Or just not do it at all.

  3. I wish the 2015 U.N.C.L.E. franchise could have launched. It was an entertaining picture. But even if it had been a hit, would it have survived Hammer’s cannibalism?

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