REVIEW: The Man From U.N.C.L.E. trailer

Logo for The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie

Logo for The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. teaser trailer debuted Wednesday night. There were at least a couple of surprises. And one possible James Bond homage.

To be specific:

–0:04 mark: Henry Cavill’s Napoleon Solo, in the back seat of a vintage car, asks, “Are they still following us?” He employs dramatic pauses similar to the original Solo, Robert Vaughn. Why is that surprising? Cavill has said he never watched an episode of the original 1964-68 series. Meanwhile, Brit Cavill sounds convincingly American (not surprising given how he played Superman in 2013’s Man of Steel).

–Armie Hammer, as Illya Kuryakin, has a strong Russian accent. It’s much stronger than David McCallum, the actor who originated the part, ever displayed.

–The homage? Around the 1:00 mark, CIA agent Solo and KGB operative Kuryakin fight in a rest room, demolishing it. That’s extremely similar to the pre-credits sequence of the 2006 James Bond film Casino Royale, the rebooted 007 movie where the British agent records his first kill.

According to the trailer, the year is 1963. An unknown criminal organization “with ties to former Nazis” is said to have built an atomic bomb. This forces the United States and Soviet Union to cooperate — even to the point of assigning Solo and Kuryakin, shown here as being foes, to work together.

Obviously, this just a taste of the movie. It doesn’t have familiar U.N.C.L.E. memes such as the secret headquarters, because U.N.C.L.E. hasn’t been formed yet. At the very end of the trailer, we catch a glimpse of Hugh Grant as Waverly. It’s hard to evaluate anything about how the actor will do playing a role originated by Leo G. Carroll.

The trailer, in effect, was the first “official” U.N.C.L.E. production since the 1983 TV movie The Return of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. It’s interesting. You can’t evaluate an entire movie based on a trailer, of course. For those who welcome a new take on U.N.C.L.E., there’s nothing to be discouraged about. For those who wanted the series left alone, they likely won’t be reassured.

GRADE: Incomplete. But we’d like to see more. You can view the trailer below:

UPDATE: Missed this the first three times, but at 1:08 mark, Kuryakin appears to be using a preliminary version of what would become the U.N.C.L.E. Special on the television series.

1:19 mark: another Vaughn like delivery by Cavill: “This could get a little messy.”

1:57 mark: possible homage to the original series and the third-season opener, The Her Master’s Voice Affair.

UPDATE II: Warner Bros. has yanked the video we embedded.

UPDATE III: This embedded video still works.

UPDATE IV: Could this be the movie’s version of the U.N.C.L.E. Special?

Armie Hammer with a weapon that looks like an U.N.C.L.E. special

Armie Hammer with a weapon that looks like an U.N.C.L.E. special

UPDATE V: The official WEBSITE FOR THE MOVIE is now up.

UPDATE VI: Daniel Pemberton, who composed music for the film, says via Twitter the trailer doesn’t contain his score.

People, Entertainment Weekly have U.N.C.L.E. peek

Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer (Art by Paul Baack)

Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer
(Art by Paul Baack)

Both People magazine and Entertainment Weekly, both part of Time Inc., have put out sneak peeks of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie hours ahead of the release of the film’s teaser trailer.

THE STORY ON PEOPLE’S WEBSITE centers on Henry Cavill, who plays Napoleon Solo, the role created by Robert Vaughn in the 1964-68 series. Here’s a brief excerpt:

Henry Cavill ditches his Superman suit for a sleek tux in this summer’s silver-screen adaptation of the 1960s TV series The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

The Man of Steel actor calls the film, which is directed by Guy Ritchie, “a cool, sexy and especially not heavy Cold War spy thriller.”

The story is pretty short but has new images from the movie, which had principal photography in September-December 2013.

The ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY STORY is a little bit broader (and contains additional images). It includes this quote from co-writer Lionel Wigram about how the movie came to be an origin story.

“The series hadn’t really done the origin story—U.N.C.L.E. already existed,” says producer Lionel Wigram, who also co-wrote the screenplay. “At the height of the Cold War you’ve got a Russian and an American working together. How did that come about?”

The Russian is Illya Kuryakin, played in the film by Armie Hammer and a role originated by David McCallum. The trailer is scheduled to go online at 8 p.m. today, New York time.

UPDATE: This image of a poster has shown up on Twitter. Also the movie now has A TWITTER FEED. According to one of the images on the Twitter page, the movie will be available in Imax. (Also, there is now a FACEBOOK PAGE for the movie.)

Cavill says U.N.C.L.E. role ‘different’

Henry Cavill

Henry Cavill

Actor Henry Cavill, in an interview with the B2B GIBRALTAR WEBSITE said Napoleon Solo is “a bit different to my other roles.”

The 31-year-old actor didn’t elaborate. Here’s pretty much the entire mention of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie in the Jan. 16 article on the Gibraltar business website:

Henry’s next box office blockbuster will see him take on the big-screen reboot of hit TV show The Man from U.N.C.L.E. in another iconic role, this time recreating the character of Napoleon Solo made famous by Robert Vaughn. “It is very exciting and it is going to be a great movie, a bit different to my other roles there is even a comedic element to it,” Henry said. “We have already finished filming and it’s due to be released in August 2015.”

The interview was conducted in October when Cavill was at Gibraltar for a fundraiser run on behalf of the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund. At the time, Cavill was still filming Batman v. Superman: The Dawn of Justice. Most of the interview concerns his Superman role.

Cavill has previously said there’s a comedic element to the story. The actor has also said he didn’t watch the original 1964-68 television series. He had avoided watching other actors play Superman prior to 2013’s Man of Steel film.

Shoutout to the Henry Cavill News site, which Tweeted about the Gibraltar interview.

The main difference between Fleming’s two spy heroes

"I would have thought the difference was obvious," Solo said.

“The difference is obvious,” Solo said.

In 2015, there will be two movies featuring two spy characters Ian Fleming helped to create. The one with the most publicity is SPECTRE, the 24th James Bond film. The other is The Man From U.N.C.L.E., a movie adaptation of the television series, coming to theaters a few months before the 007 film.

With U.N.C.L.E., Fleming’s involvement was limited (lasting from October 1962 until June 1963) and he exited the project after being bullied by 007 film producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman (whose film series was in its earliest stages) to quit.

There are some basic similarities. Both Bond and Napoleon Solo, the lead character in U.N.C.L.E., are womanizers. Both deal in espionage and death. But Solo has one major difference with Bond: The U.N.C.L.E. agent has a moral core than Bond doesn’t appear to possess.

Eon Productions co-boss Michael G. Wilson has called Bond an “antihero,” defined as “a central character in a story, movie, or drama who lacks conventional heroic attributes.” His stepfather, Eon co-founder Broccoli, used the same terms in his autobiography.

In Fleming’s first novel, Casino Royale, Bond describes how he got his 00-designation, which involved killing two people. In Fleming’s fifth Bond novel, From Russia With Love it’s stated that Bond had never killed in cold blood. (Collector Gary Firuta pointed this out and we looked up our copies of the novels to verify.) But fans say Casino Royale cancels that out. Dissenting fans say in Casino Royale the two kills were described by Bond (who may or may not have been lying) while the From Russia With Love reference is in the “voice of God” (i.e. Fleming’s “narrator” description).

Napoleon Solo, meanwhile, demonstrates a moral streak periodically throughout the 1964-68 series.

In the first-season episode The Finny Foot Affair, the “innocent” is a young boy played by Kurt Russell. Russell’s character has a rough time. He witnesses an U.N.C.L.E. agent fight to the death. The agent, with his dying breath, entrusts the boy with an object that may be of assistance to Solo.

Later, on a flight to Norway, the boy describes what he saw to Solo. The U.N.C.L.E. agent attempts to deceive the boy that what he saw wasn’t as serious as it seems.

Later, the boy witnesses Solo kill some of his opponents. “Chris,” Solo tells the boy at one point, “you know now this is for real.” At the end of the episode, the Russell character decides Solo may not be the best potential mate for his “beautiful widowed mother.”

The best example of Solo’s moral streak occurs during the last episode of the series, broadcast by NBC on Jan. 15, 1968. Its one of the best scenes in the entire show for star Robert Vaughn. Solo confronts a group that plans to bring the entire world under its control, ending the “fight between good and evil” once and for all. The leader of this scheme is named Kingsley (Barry Sullivan), a former top U.N.C.L.E. official.

SOLO: You intend — you seriously intend — to make the world world act and think like you want it to?
(snip)
It’s a blasphemy. Your plan denies humanity its freedom to find its own way to better times.

At the end of the episode, there’s this exchange between Solo and his boss, Alexander Waverly.

WAVERLY: Good job, gentlemen.

SOLO: Kingsley sincerely believed history would have said the same of him, sir.”

That’s not the kind of thing that Bond stops to reflect about.

MeTV’s spectacular Dec. 7 spy TV double feature

Madlyn Rhue, David McCallum and Robert Vaughn in The Terbuf Affair

Madlyn Rhue, David McCallum and Robert Vaughn in The Terbuf Affair

MeTV, the U.S. channel devoted to classic television series, is scheduled to telecast one of the best episodes of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. followed by one of the best Mission: Impossible outings on the night of Dec. 7.

At 10 p.m. New York Time, is The Terbuf Affair, the 14th episode of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. It was the fourth, and final, episode directed by future A-list movie director Richard Donner.

Alan Caillou, the episode’s writer, developed the character of Illya Kuryakin played by David McCallum. But Caillou also provides one of the few episodes to provide some of the back story for Napoleon Solo, played by Robert Vaughn.

In Terbuf, a woman from Solo’s past (Madlyn Rhue) seeks help from the U.N.C.L.E. agent. Solo and Kuryakin are due back at U.N.C.L.E. HQs shortly but Kuryakin isn’t going to let Solo venture into this personal mission alone.

Caillou, besides scripting this particular adventure, also gets to play a villain. From this point forward, U.N.C.L.E. fans wouldn’t get much in the way of Solo’s background. Menawhile, Caillou’s script builds upon what he established with previous episodes he wrote. All in all, a favorite for U.N.C.L.E. fans.

A classic M:I con in Operation: Rogosh

A classic M:I con in Operation: Rogosh

At 11 p.m., MeTV is scheduled to show the third episode of Mission: Impossible, Operation: Rogosh.

The original leader of the Impossible Missions Force, Dan Briggs (Steven Hill), has a doozy of an assignment. Rogosh, an operative of an unfriendly foreign power, has been in Los Angeles for a week. Rogosh typically leaves mass destruction in his wake.

Moreover, Rogosh (Fritz Weaver) is not know to break through “conventional means.” Briggs has a limited time to make the unbreakable Rogosh spill his guts.

The episode has many great moments. Rogosh (Fritz Weaver) is no one’s fool, so the IMF won’t have an easy time. Briggs’ plan calls to con Rogosh to believing it’s three years later and he’s being tried for his life in his native country. At the same time, Rogosh’s confederates are trying to find him to silence him permanently.

This episode would become the template for future M:I adventures. It’s greatly enchanced by a Lalo Schifrin score.

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:

Happy 82nd birthday, Robert Vaughn

Normally, we’d have more to say but we see you’re busy with the party. So we’ll just say here’s to many more.

solonye

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