Elizabeth Debicki talks up her U.N.C.L.E. movie role

Elizabeth Debicki

Elizabeth Debicki

Elizabeth Debicki, cast as a femme fatale in a movie version of The Man From U.N.C.L.E., has been talking up her role in the film scheduled to start filming in September.

The datails can be found ON THE WEBSITE OF THE TELEGRAPH NEWSPAPER IN AUSTALIA. Here’s an excerpt that refers to director Guy Ritchie and actors Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer:

“I’m a big fan of Guy’s work, I always have been,” Debicki told Confidential. “It is really exciting to be part of a remake of such a great show. The cast is fantastic and it will just be fresh and interesting and fun and dynamic. I love Guy’s genre, it is such a mashup which makes for really interesting films.”

(snip)

“I’ve certainly had more offers than before but I just felt like this was the right project,” said Debicki, who is staying with friends in LA until rehearsals start later this month.

“The timing is right for me and it is a great role.”

Debicki, who hasn’t yet met Ritchie, Cavill or Hammer in person, can’t reveal too much information on her character.

Cavill and Hammer will play secret agents Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin, the characters made famous by Robert Vaughn and David McCallum in the original television series.

“It is a substantial role, certainly to the plot and storyline,” she said. “Armie and Henry are really the leads as they are in the original TV series and there are baddies and goodies on either side of them.”

There were a number of femme fatale characters in the original 1964-68 television series. Two of the most memorable were Angelique, played by Janine Gray, and Serena, played by Senta Berger, both in the show’s first season. It remains to be seen whether the 23-year-old Debicki is playing of those characters or an entirely new character.

Red 2 utilizes a familiar meme

Luciana Paluzzi and Sean Connery during the filming of Thunderball

Luciana Paluzzi and Sean Connery on the set of Thunderball

This weekend’s release of Red 2 includes one of the most dependable memes of spy fiction: the hero and the femme fatale who have been more than friendly.

In the new movie, Catherine Zeta-Jones’s Katja is described as “Kryptonite” for Bruce Willis’s Frank Moses. Often the femme fatales are enemies but at times reach an uneasy alliance with the hero — at least until she starts trying to kill him again.

James Bond-Fiona Volpe (Thunderball): In Goldfinger, Sean Connery’s James Bond “recruited” Honor Blackman’s Pussy Galore to the side of right. In Thunderball, Connery’s Bond tries it again, albeit unsuccessfully, with Fiona Volpe (Luciana Volpe), the chief executioner for SPECTRE. “What a blow it must have been — you having a failure,” Fiona says. “Well, you can’t win them all,” Bond replies.

Fiona doesn’t survive long after that. But Paluzzi made such an impact that in the next 007 film, You Only Live Twice, Karin Dor’s Helga seems to be a knockoff of Fiona.

Napoleon Solo/Angela-Angelique-Serena Luciana Paluzzi had a dry run before her Thunderball role. When The Man From U.N.C.L.E. pilot was in production, producer Norman Felton had additional footage shot for a movie version for international audiences. Paluzzi’s Angela lures an U.N.C.L.E. agent to his death and tries to do the same with Robert Vaughn’s Napoleon Solo. The extra footage for the movie version as used, yet again, in a first-season episode of the series called The Four-Steps Affair.

Other Thrush femme fatale operatives showed up in Man’s first season, Serena (Senta Berger) and Angelique (Janine Gray). Solo has had a history with both but the viewer isn’t provided many details. Serena helps abduct Solo for a double can take his place. But at the story’s climax (the TV version was called The Double Affair, the movie version The Spy With My Face), Serena ends up shooting the double.

Matt Helm/Vadya: In the third Matt Helm novel by Donald Hamilton, The Removers, Helm goes to the “recognition room” to review dossiers of Soviet-bloc assassins. One of the dossiers concerns the mysterious “Vadya.” Helm readers don’t meet Vadya until Hamilton’s sixth Helm novel, The Ambushers. The encounter ends in a draw. Helm meets Vadya twice more in the novels The Devastators and The Menacers. She’s killed off early in The Menacers, but her death is a key part of the novel’s plot.

Meanwhile, the 1967 adaption of The Ambushers, starring Dean Martin, includes Vadya (Senta Berger again), except the character has been renamed. The character is killed before the end of the movie.