Jared Harris says U.N.C.L.E. movie is ‘very stylish’

Jared Harris, who has a supporting role in The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie, described the film as “very stylish” in an interview posted on YouTube on Nov. 12.

“First of all, it’s Guy Ritchie,” Harris said, referring to the movie’s director. “His films always have really good, clever plotting, that funny, great action sequences….It’s a buddy movie, you know, with two huge, fantastic actors in the main roles…I think it has that lovely feel to it because it’s set in the ’60s.”

“It’s going to be very stylish,” Harris also said. “Guy is very stylish.” Harris played Professor Moriarty in one of the Ritchie-directed Sherlock Holmes movies.

Harris plays Sanders in the U.N.C.L.E. movie, who is the CIA controller for Napoleon Solo. Harris said he mostly acted opposite Henry Cavill, playing Solo, the role originated by Robert Vaughn in the 1964-68 television series. Armie Hammer plays Illya Kuryakin, the Russian orignally portrayed by David McCallum.

Overall, not a lot of detail. The movie is scheduled for release in the U.S. in mid-August 2015. Separately (via @laneyboggs2001 on Twitter), Cavill did some U.N.C.L.E. post-production work at BAM Studios in Chicago while filming Batman v. Superman. You can CLICK HERE for details.

You can see the Harris interview for yourself here:

The Cold War and the U.N.C.L.E. movie

Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer during filming in Italy

Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer during filming in Italy

Jared Harris, in A RECENT INTERVIEW provided a detail about his part in The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie: he plays Napoleon Solo’s CIA superior.

The interview is a reminder about how the movie is going to play up the Cold War angle whereupon the original 1964-68 television series downplayed it.

Harris participated in one of the first sequences filmed, where Solo and Illya Kuryakin (here a KGB operative) meet at an outdoor cafe. (CLICK HERE to see a photo on the Henry Cavill Fan website.)

The movie’s story will, in part, depict the beginnings of U.N.C.L.E., a multi-national security agency, in the early 1960s.

In the series, U.N.C.L.E. had been well-established. The Odd Man Affair, the final episode for season one, implies U.N.C.L.E. has been around for a couple of decades, or roughly the end of World War II. The Survival School Affair, in the fourth season, establishes that Solo and Kuryakin graduated from the agency’s training facility in the 1950s.

Both the makers of the series and the network that carried it (NBC) wanted to avoid a lot of specific Cold War references. Something similar happened in the James Bond film series. In the Ian Fleming novels Dr. No and From Russia With Love, the villains worked for the Soviet Union. In the film versions, they work for SPECTRE. The film Rosa Klebb, for example, has just recently defected to SPECTRE in the From Russia With Love film.

There’s also the matter of doing a movie as a period piece. Compare Murder, My Sweet with Farewell My Lovely. Both are adaptations of a 1940 Raymond Chandler novel. The former was released in 1944. The latter debuted in 1975. Philip Marlowe (Robert Mitchum) is constantly musing about Joe DiMaggio and his 56-game hitting streak in the 1975 film, which establishes a firm time.

By making U.N.C.L.E. a period piece, the Cold War becomes a device, along with vintage cars, of helping to establish the mood for the story. In the original show, it was revolutionary enough in 1964 to have an American and Russian together. The series, with Robert Vaughn and David McCallum, debuted only 23 months after the Cuban Missile Crisis. Meanwhile, the cinematic Bond wouldn’t be paired with a Russian ally until 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me. For a movie to be released in 2015, the thinking appears to be you have to remind everyone about the Cold War to show why the Solo-Kuryakin team is unusual.

Apparently, director of photography John Mathieson did some things to also give the movie a 1960s look. Here’s an excerpt from THE INDEPENDENT:

John added: “We filmed in London on a digital camera but we were trying to give it more of a sixties feel.

“It’s a very good looking film, it’s set in the sixties, it’s very chic.

“So in some ways we were using old lenses and things to deteriorate the image. However what we did has a certain flavour to it, and that has to be screened so the cinema goer or viewer at home can see what we were trying to do.” (emphasis added)

The movie, starring Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer, is scheduled to be released in January 2015.

Jared Harris talks briefly about his U.N.C.L.E. role

Jared Harris

Jared Harris

Thanks to @LaneyBoggs2001 on Twitter for the heads up.

Actor Jared Harris gave an an interview to the Latino Review website where, at the very end, he provided a tiny bit of information about his role in The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie.

Latino-Review: And just real quick, who are you playing in “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.?”

Jared Harris: I play a CIA agent who is initially involved in training and running Napoleon Solo. So it’s running him as a spy as you would like. It’s set in the 60s and it’s a Guy Ritchie film. It has a great mixture of action and comedy. And there’s fantastic plotting.

That’s all there is. Harris did his filming in September with both Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer, who play Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin in the film, which will be released in January 2015.

Warner Bros. has previously specified that in the movie Solo is a CIA agent who becomes involved in a joint operation with KGB operative Kuryakin. The original 1964-68 series played down such Cold War references. A first-season episode, The Neptune Affair, included a brief scene where David McCallum’s Kuryakin is seen in a military uniform in the Soviet Union.

Such scenes were more the exception than the rule. Other references were more subtle. Another first-season episode, The Love Affair, depicted Kuryakin telling Robert Vaughn’s Solo, “Suddenly, I feel very Russian” as the two approach a mansion on Long Island.

U.N.C.L.E. movie notes: casting and social media

UNCLE logo 02

Bit by bit, scattered details about the The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie are emerging.

CASTING: @laneyboggs2001 on Twitter has tracked down casting from various Internet sources. They include Zee Omar as an Egyptian general and Gabriel Farnese as an Italian playboy.

The movie’s IMDB.COM CAST LIST is filling out, including two KGB agent parts.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Terry Bamber, first assistant director of the movie’s second (or action) unit, put out a Sept. 13 Tweet with a picture of a sign for an office for second unit crew members. It has an U.N.C.L.E. logo in the same font as the original 1964-68 series (though missing the last period in U.N.C.L.E.). Bamber doesn’t give away much except to say “I loved the original – now gang be prepared to be amazed at this.”

Bamber is also production manager for the second unit and performed similar duties on the last five James Bond movies including Skyfall.

(UPDATE Sept. 18): LaneyBoggs spotted AN AUG. 28 TWEET by Bamber where his Diet Coke and coffee were atop a Sept. 25 shooting schedule. Presumably that’s for the U.N.C.L.E. movie but there are no specific references.

Actress Allegra Riggio, who’s engaged to Jared Harris, who has a role in the film, this week visited the U.N.C.L.E. set and posted about it on Twitter. There were no spoilers. Some examples can be seen HERE, HERE and HERE.

Meanwhile, Evie Wray, whose IMDB.com entry lists some actress and makeup department credits, put out a TWEET hinting that she may be involved with the movie. Here’s the text of that Tweet:

Evie Wray‏@eviewray
time to find my Man From U.N.C.L.E box set.. prep for filming next month .. #spy #CIA #60s #ManFromUNCLE pic.twitter.com/nq8dq4prGM

The Tweet included a photograph of the DVD box set of the original show.

Jared Harris’s role in the U.N.C.L.E. movie

Jared Harris

Jared Harris

So what will Jared Harris be doing in the U.N.C.L.E. movie?

The Sept. 3 WARNER BROS. PRESS RELEASE doesn’t mention the name of the character Harris will play, much less whether he’ll be the film’s villain.

However, the DEADLINE entertainment news Web site, SLASHFILM.COM and WE GOT THIS COVERED all said the character’s name is Sanders.

In the original show, veteran actor George Sanders (1906-72) played G. Emory Partridge, one of the few villains to make a return engagement. Slashfilm.com even posed the question whether the character name is a nod to George Sanders, whose Partridge character appeared in first- and second-season episodes of the 1964-68 TV show.

Neither of the Web sites identifying the character’s name as Sanders say how they obtained the information.

Harris also played Professor Moriarty in 2011’s Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, which was helmed by Guy Ritchie, who’s directing the U.N.C.L.E. film.

Some fans have already speculated whether the U.N.C.L.E. film, which features “a mysterious international criminal organization” might be tied into Moriarty.

As previously noted, ONE OF THE ACE U.N.C.L.E. NOVELS of the 1960s provided an origin for Thrush (the name of the villainous organization in the television show) just such a backstory. Warner Bros. also released the two Ritchie-directed Holmes movies, so such a move could be a possibility.

Or, of course, all of this could be a string of coincidences that will bear little resemblance to the eventual finished film.

Here’s a shoutout to @laneyboggs2001 on Twitter who pointed this blog to the Slashfilm.com post.

U.N.C.L.E. movie to start filming Sept. 9, Warner Bros. says

Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer

Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer

Warner Bros. said today that a movie version of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. will begin on Monday, Sept. 9. The primary bit of news: Hugh Grant will play U.N.C.L.E. chief Alexander Waverly, the role originated by Leo G. Carroll in the 1964-68 series.

An excerpt of THE PRESS RELEASE:

BURBANK, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Principal photography will begin on September 9 on Warner Bros. Pictures’ “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” The film is the first to be made under filmmaker Guy Ritchie’s and producer Lionel Wigram’s new production shingle, Ritchie/Wigram Productions, which has a first-look deal with Warner Bros. Having successfully re-imagined the classic detective Sherlock Holmes in two hit films, the pair now bring their fresh take on the hugely popular 1960s television series by bringing super spies Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin to the big screen.

Henry Cavill (“Man of Steel”) stars as Napoleon Solo opposite Armie Hammer (“The Social Network”) as Illya Kuryakin, alongside stars Alicia Vikander (“Anna Karenina”), Elizabeth Debicki (“The Great Gatsby”), Jared Harris (“Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows”), and Hugh Grant (“Cloud Atlas”) as Waverly.
(snip)
Set against the backdrop of the early 1960s, at the height of the Cold War, “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” centers on CIA agent Solo and KGB agent Kuryakin. Forced to put aside longstanding hostilities, the two team up on a joint mission to stop a mysterious international criminal organization, which is bent on destabilizing the fragile balance of power through the proliferation of nuclear weapons and technology. The duo’s only lead is the daughter of a vanished German scientist, who is the key to infiltrating the criminal organization, and they must race against time to find him and prevent a worldwide catastrophe.

The screenplay is written by Ritchie and Wigram, who also serve as producers. John Davis (“Chronicle”) and Steve Clark-Hall (“RocknRolla,” the “Sherlock Holmes” films) are also producing. David Dobkin is executive producer.

Grant, who turns 53 on Sept. 9, is more than 20 years younger than Carroll was when the series started production. The pilot episode originally had an U.N.C.L.E. chief named Mr. Allison played by Will Kuluva. Executive producer Norman Felton opted to recast and rename the role. For the broadcast version of the pilot, Carroll re-filmed a series originally done by Kuluva. The movie version of the pilot, To Trap a Spy, uses the Kuluva footage.

Besides specifying that Grant has the Waverly role is that Jared Harris, who played Professor Moriarty in one of Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes films is also in the cast.

A number of crew members were also listed, including director of photography John Mathieson and editor James Herbert. Not mentioned is who will be the movie’s composer.

Also, the press release confirms that this is will be an “origin” story. In the original series, a few hints of the background of Solo (Robert Vaughn) and Kuryakin (David McCallum) were provided but not many.