Film Music Reporter says an U.N.C.L.E. composer chosen

U.N.C.L.E. logo on a second unit crew T-shirt

U.N.C.L.E. logo on a second unit crew T-shirt

The Film Music Reporter website, in a short item, says Daniel Pemberton was hired to score The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie.

Pemberton, has a number of television composing credits and a few movies, according to his IMDB.COM ENTRY. One of his film credits is the 2013 Ridley Scott movie The Counselor.

The Film Music Reporter item doesn’t specify how the website obtained the information. Previously, IMDB had listed Theodore Shapiro as the movie’s composer, but that listing was removed.

If this is correct, the question is whether Pemberton will incorporate Jerry Goldsmith’s theme for The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Goldsmith scored three first-season episodes, but his music was reused constantly in episodes that season that didn’t have original scores. Much of Goldsmith’s U.N.C.L.E. music was re-recorded in the fourth and final season and used in various episodes.

Thanks to laneyboggs2001@Twitter for a headsup.

UPDATE: A YouTube video featuring Pemberton.

UPDATE: U.N.C.L.E. composer? What U.N.C.L.E. composer?

"Don't rely on IMDB, son."

Robert Vaughn says, “Don’t rely on IMDB, son.” (Uncle Agents photo, used with permission)

As Maxwell Smart used to say, “Sorry about that, Chief!”

IMDB.com has altered its ENTRY FOR THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. MOVIE to remove Theodore Shapiro as composer. IMDB has gone back to not listing any composer at all.

As noted in this blog before, both IMDB and Wikipedia both listed Shapiro as composer for the film that’s due out in January 2015. (In fact, as of July 10, Wikipedia STILL DOES.) Both websites rely on users to input information and things occasionally go awry.

Anyway, it appears we’re back to Square One. Whoever gets the gig will be following in the footsteps of famed composer Jerry Goldsmith, who scored the pilot of the 1964-68 television series and wrote its distinctive theme.

Meanwhile, IMDB has, once again, added a name to the movie’s writing credit (Jeff Kleeman, one of its producers). The site for a time added another writer’s name, only to withdraw it later. So, for now, it’s best to say we’ll see what happens.

UPDATE: Does the U.N.C.L.E. movie have a composer?

Henry Cavill's Napoleon Solo

Henry Cavill’s Napoleon Solo

Shoutout to @laneyboggs2001 on Twitter for the tip.

IMDB.com’s entry for THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. movie now lists Theodore Shapiro as composer. The website joins the online encyclopedia Wikipedia (both HERE and HERE) as listing Shapiro as doing the music.

The usual caveat: Both Wikipedia and IMDB rely on users to supply information. Editors try to police data for accuracy but errors can creep into both websites.

Shapiro, 42, has scored such films as To listen to samples of his work you can The Devil Wears Prada, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and Marley & Me. You can CLICK HERE to watch a short 2009 video where Shapiro (pronounced sha-PIE-roe) discusses his work.

Assuming Shapiro is the man, the question is whether he’ll incorporate Jerry Goldsmith’s original theme for the original 1964-68 television series. There were five versions during the series (two in the first season, one each for the remaining three). Here’s four of them:

UPDATE: One more caveat. The name of writer Jeffrey Hatcher was added to the IMDB listing for the U.N.C.L.E. movie. It came off later. So, we’ll see if Shapiro does score the movie.

Does the U.N.C.L.E. movie have a composer?

Henry Cavill's Napoleon Solo

Henry Cavill’s Napoleon Solo

Shoutout to @laneyboggs2001 on Twitter for the tip.

There’s been no announcement, but Wikipedia lists Theodore Shapiro as composer for The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie.

The online encyclopedia actually has done it twice, both in its ENTRY FOR THE MOVIE as well as its BIO OF SHAPIRO. Meanwhile, IMDB.com’s LISTING FOR THE MOVIE still doesn’t have a composer.

Both Wikipedia and IMDB rely on users to supply information. Editors try to police data for accuracy but errors can creep into both websites.

Shapiro, 42, was born more than three years after the end of the original 1964-68 U.N.C.L.E. television series. To listen to samples of his work you can CLICK HERE to hear a suite from The Devil Wears Prada; HERE for a suite of tracks he composed for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty; and HERE for a track from Marley & Me.

Besides the obvious question of whether Wikipedia is even correct, it remains to be seen whether the movie’s composer will use Jerry Goldsmith’s theme music from the original show.

The movie, starring Henry Cavill as Napoleon Solo and Armie Hammer as Illya Kuryakin, will debut in the U.S. in January 2015.

What we know and don’t know about the U.N.C.L.E. movie

Henry Cavill as Napoleon Solo

Henry Cavill as Napoleon Solo

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie is days away from finishing principal photography. So here’s a quick look at some of what’s know and not known about the project.

It’s a (relatively) lean production: The movie has a production budget of about $75 million, according to a
JULY STORY IN VARIETY BY JON BURLINGAME.

That’s hardly pocket change and a bigger budget than independent dramas. But it’s also noticeably less than Skyfall, the most recent James Bond movie ($200 million); R.I.P.D. ($130 million); The Lone Ranger ($215 million); and Man of Steel ($225 million).

Then again, a big budget is hardly a guarantee of success. Skyfall was a hit and Man of Steel (with Henry Cavill, the U.N.C.L.E. movie’s Napoleon Solo, playing Superman) did well enough to proceed with a sequel. R.I.P.D. and The Lone Ranger (with Armie Hammer, the U.N.C.L.E. movie’s Illya Kuryakin, as the title character although the star was Johnny Depp’s Tonto) were bombs. That’s especially true of R.I.P.D. a comedy with Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds that generated total worldwide ticket sales of $78.3 million, which was split with theaters.

It was a (relatively) tightly scheduled shoot: The U.N.C.L.E. movie began filming on Sept. 6. It will finish on Dec. 7, according to A TWEET by Luca Calvani, who play’s the film’s villain. That’s almost exactly three months. By comparison, Skyfall had a seven-month filming schedule from late 2011 through mid-2012.

There will be humor; the question is how much: Cavill signed on as a late replacement for Tom Cruise to play Solo. He said U.N.C.L.E. would have “DRY HUMOR.” The 30-year-old actor described himself as liking dry humor but not a fan of slapstick humor.

One fear of first-generation U.N.C.L.E. fans is there would be too much humor, which happened during THE THIRD SEASON of the original 1964-68 series. One sign that may not be the case: Entertainment Weekly DESCRIBED a scene where Calvani attacks Cavill “savagely,” kicking him in the “bollocks.” That never happened during U.N.C.L.E.’s sometimes goofy third season.

A broken record (by this blog), but who’s going to be the composer? One of the biggest unknowns still remains who will be the movie’s composer.

Hans Zimmer, who worked on director Guy Ritchie’s two Sherlock Holmes movies, has said he probably doesn’t have time given other commitments. Jerry Goldsmith, who composed the distinctive U.N.C.L.E. theme, died in 2004. Music is always an important consideration and there’s still no clue who will handle those chores for the new U.N.C.L.E. movie.

A modest proposal for the U.N.C.L.E. movie

Introduction used in episodes 2-7 of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Introduction used in early U.N.C.L.E. episodes.

Not that director Guy Ritchie would ask this blog’s opinion, but here’s a modest proposal for a way to end his movie version of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

A caveat: this suggestion presupposes that Ritchie’s movie won’t be really, really dark and have Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) or Illya Kuraykin (Armie Hammer) killed off with the villains winning.

In many movies today, there isn’t a proper main titles. Instead, everything comes at the end. Also, Ritchie’s film, co-written by the director and writer-producer Lionel Wigram, has an “origin of U.N.C.L.E.” plot line. Therefore, why not adapt the introduction used in early episodes of the 1964-68 series to get viewers familiar with the characters and format?

Specifically, an announcer begins, “In New York City…on a street in the East Forties…there’s an ordinary tailor shop. Or is it ordinary?” Stars Robert Vaughn and David McCallum go through the secret entrance to U.N.C.L.E. headquarters. Eventually, Solo and Kuryakin (and boss Alexander Waverly, played by Leo G. Carroll), break the fourth wall and explain what U.N.C.L.E. is.

In the movie, viewers will have seen the U.S. and Soviet Union join forces, in the person of Cavill’s Solo and Hammer’s Kurykin, to (presumably) defeat a larger menace. Your could have the screen go dark for a second, then come up again with the now permanent allies re-enacting the Vaughn-McCallum opening (along with Hugh Grant as the new Waverly), followed by Jerry Goldsmith’s theme and the credits. It would hint of adventures to come (particularly if the movie is a financial success).

Anyway, just something to thing about. Here’s how the original opening worked, the last time it was used in The Giuoco Piano Affair, the seventh episode broadcast on NBC.

1964: Broccoli and Saltzman try to derail U.N.C.L.E.

Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman

Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman

By early 1964, post production was underway on the pilot for Solo. On Jan. 7, composer Jerry Goldsmith recorded his score, according to Craig Henderson’s U.N.C.L.E.-007 Timeline. But things would shortly get bumpy for Norman Felton’s production.

Toward the end of January, The New York Times ran an article about spy-oriented pilots, including Solo. In early February, Albert R. Broccoli, co-boss of Eon Productions, which made the 007 films, had had enough. Here’s how the Henderson website describes it:

Tuesday, Feb. 4, 1964
Cubby Broccoli telephones Sam Kaplan of Ashley-Steiner, telling Kaplan he intends to sue Arena, Felton and all others connected with Solo for violating Broccoli’s and Saltzman’s rights to the James Bond stories, referring specifically to the Jan. 26 New York Times story.

Ian Fleming hadn’t been involved with Solo since June of the previous year. The author signed away his rights under pressure from Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, the other co-head of Eon. The name Napoleon Solo had been one of his few contributions to make it to the final product of the U.N.C.L.E. pilot..

Still, it appears Broccoli couldn’t stand U.N.C.L.E. In his later years, in ill health, Broccoli worked on an autobiography that wouldn’t be published until after his death. Here’s how he described U.N.C.L.E.:

MGM came in with The Man From UNCLE, which was a straight steal from Fleming’s use of acronyms like SMERSH and SPECTRE.

When The Snow Melts, the autobiography of Cubby Broccoli with Donald Zec, 1998, page 199

Of course, Smersh wasn’t an acronym and Fleming was involved with U.N.C.L.E. from October 1962 until June 1963. Nothing had been stolen from Fleming (though he signed away his rights for a mere one British pound). Also, it was pretty easy to tell Napoleon Solo, suave U.N.C.L.E. agent apart from Mafia boss Solo in Fleming’s Goldfinger novel and Eon movie.

None of that mattered. Again, an excerpt from the Henderson website:

Wednesday, Feb. 19, 1964
New York law firm for Saltzman and Broccoli sends cease-and-desist letter to Felton, MGM, NBC and Ashley-Steiner demanding immediate end to use of Fleming’s name in connection with planned Solo series — and end to all use of name and character “Solo,” “Napoleon Solo” and “Mr. Solo,” claiming theft of the “Mr. Solo” character in Goldfinger, which Eon is currently filming.

By April, the two sides agree Solo won’t be the title but the Napoleon Solo name is retained for the television series. NBC picks up the series to debut the following fall.

In May, the new series title ends up being The Man From U.N.C.L.E. By that time, first drafts of series scripts have been written. The first draft for an episode to be called The Double Affair refers to the villainous organization as MAGGOT. The name is later changed to Thrush, which had been the choice of Felton and Sam Rolfe, the writer of the pilot, all along.

U.N.C.L.E. is now on its way to becoming reality. But more changes await before the cameras roll on the early episodes of the show.

CRAIG HENDERSON’S U.N.C.L.E. BOND TIMELINE FOR 1964

Earlier posts:

JUNE 1963: IAN FLEMING SIGNS AWAY HIS U.N.C.L.E. RIGHTS

MAY 1963: IAN FLEMING CRIES U.N.C.L.E.

Zimmer scoring U.N.C.L.E. movie looks doubtful

Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer

Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer

Composer Hans Zimmer has cast doubt whether he’ll be able to score The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie now in production.

Zimmer scored both of director Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes movies. In an interview with COLLIDER.COM, Zimmer was asked if he’d work again with Ritchie on U.N.C.L.E.:

“I have no idea, because once I’m really in full Interstellar mode I’m just gonna go be in full Interstellar mode. I think it might not work out timewise. I love Guy and I’d love to do something else with him. If it’s not this then I’m sure we’ll meet up again sometime.”

Interstellar is director Christopher Nolan’s new science fiction movie, which is scheduled for a fall 2014 release. Zimmer worked on Nolan’s Batman triology of films. The composer also is slated to do Amazing Spider-Man 2, which is also coming out next year. (Note: the Henry Cavill News fan site provided a heads up about the Collider.com interview.)

The composer slot is the last major crew position that hasn’t been announced for U.N.C.L.E., which doesn’t have a formal release date yet.

David Arnold, the five-time James Bond film composer, said SEPT. 3 ON TWITTER in a response to a question from this blog that he hasn’t been asked to do the job. With his Bond work, plus films such as a Samuel L. Jackson version of Shaft, Arnold has been willing to use theme music by other composers. Jerry Goldsmith (1929-2004) wrote U.N.C.L.E.’s distinctive theme, something long-time fans would want in the movie version with Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer.

Another fan favorite would be Michael Giacchino, who did 2011’s Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol, 2004’s The Incredibles and is slated to do at least three movies with 2014 release dates according to HIS IMDB.COM BIOGRAPHY.

Finally, a possibility that would excite some fans of the original 1964-68 series would be 81-year-old Lalo Schifrin. The Argentine-born composer is best known for his theme to Mission: Impossible. (The theme has been used in the four Tom Cruise movies but Schifrin has been passed over for actually scoring the films.)

Schifrin also scored two U.N.C.L.E. episodes as well as arranging Goldsmith’s theme for the second season.

No April Dancer in the U.N.C.L.E. movie

U.N.C.L.E. insignia from a second-season episode

U.N.C.L.E. insignia from a second-season episode

(Shoutout to @laneyboggs2001, Henry Cavill News and HenryCavill.org, who Tweeted and blogged all day on Oct. 10.)

Well, you can’t win them all.

On OCTOBER 3 this blog posed the question whether Alicia Vikander was playing April Dancer in The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie that has wrapped filming in Rome and is headed back to the U.K.

April was the lead character in the spinoff series The Girl From U.N.C.L.E. and was a name devised by Ian Fleming (originally as a Miss Moneypenny type character for The Man From U.N.C.L.E.) The answer looks to be no. During filming in Italy, the actors had chairs with the names of their characters on it.

For the finale of Rome shooting, a picture showed up in a picture on the Henry Cavill News fan Web site. If you CLICK HERE and scroll down, you’ll see a photo of some of the chairs.

One of the chairs appears to be for Vikander. The character name on the chair isn’t April Dancer. Vikander plays a character who is an MI6 agent who gets involved in the story. Unless the production is being exceptionally sneaky, the April Dancer theory now bites the dust.

Next week, the movie is scheduled to be in the U.K. to film a scene involving GRAND PRIX RACING. The production has solicited owners of 1960s vintage cars to participate.

Finally, here’s a video of the last night of filming in Rome. You can see Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer and Vikander as well as director Guy Ritchie. Amusingly, Cavill, who plays Napoleon Solo, is wearing a 1960s-style suit but takes out a 21st century digital camera or smartphone to take some pictures while waiting to film a scene.

The music on the video is Hugo Montenegro’s version of Jerry Goldsmith’s Man From U.N.C.L.E. theme that first appeared on a 1965 album.

45th anniversary of the best TV theme

Morton Stevens (1929-1991)

Morton Stevens (1929-1991)

Sept. 20 is the 45th anniversary of, arguably, the best television theme of all time: Hawaii Five-O by composer Morton Stevens.

The Five-O theme is one of the most famous pieces of music in the world. People who’ve never watched an episode recognize it when just a few notes are played. Over the decades, it’s been used in commercials and been played by marching bands. Yet, the vast majority of those who’ve heard it probably couldn’t name the man who wrote it.

In the 1960s, the likes of Stevens, John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith and Lalo Schifrin were busy doing scores for television. Of that quartet, three became big-time film composers. Stevens didn’t.

In the spring of 1965, CBS hired Stevens to supervise its West Coast music operation. It was in that capacity that Stevens scored the Hawaii Five-O pilot. But Stevens couldn’t do every job himself. Thus, he hired Williams to score 1969’s The Reivers, which CBS released under the Cinema Center Films label. The Steve McQueen movie helped Williams transition from TV to films.

Stevens died in 1991, at the age of 62, of cancer. His lasting music achievement was the original 1968-80 Five-O series. Not only did he write the theme, he created the music template for the series. Stevens delivered episode scores for 11 of the 12 seasons. The Five-O theme was often used by Stevens and other composers in the background music. It showed up as an action riff. It would also be slowed way down for reflective moments in a story.

Only recently did Stevens get attention for his other work. The DVD set for the 1960-62 Thriller anthology series with Boris Karloff featured a number of episodes where viewers can isolate the scores of Stevens and Jerry Goldsmith. Jon Burlingame, who has written extensively about film and television music, did a commentary track about each composer. He discussed Stevens’ work in detail.

Sept. 1 post: HAWAII FIVE-O’S 45TH ANNIVERSARY: COP SHOW WITH A SPY TWIST