Apr 11, 2015

Entertainment Weekly Reveals Cool Man From U.N.C.L.E. Movie Details

In its summer movie preview, Entertainment Weekly has revealed some very cool details about Guy Ritchie's upcoming movie version of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. We already knew that it was a period piece set in the era of the TV show (and the height of spymania), the 1960s, and we knew from the trailer that East/West checkpoints play a role. But until now I hadn't seen anything to indicate that the movie would feature one of my very favorite tropes of Cold War spy fictions both fantastical and realistic—a Berlin wall crossing! According to the magazine, "In one extended chase sequence, Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) and Gabby Teller (Alicia Vikander) elude Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer) by zip-lining across the Berlin Wall." This, of course, happens before the American and Russian agents eventually team up, as the movie serves as an origin story for the famous partnership. I would guess the zip-lining leads into the sequence we've seen in the trailer (albeit clearly edited out of order) in which Illya pursues the pair in a nighttime car chase. EW provides some terrific concept artwork for the sequence, too (above). "What we’re trying to capture are iconic memories of the East-meets-West scenario,” Ritchie told the magazine. "Getting over the Wall is part of that world." The stunt, EW reports, was inspired by a real-life incident in 1983 in which Michael Becker and Holger Bethke fled East Berlin in the same manner. "We looked up every conceivable way of getting over the Berlin Wall," said Ritchie. "That was the most plausible." (But did he consider Jason King's method of being transported across in a shipping crate lined with luxurious cushions and stocked with champagne?) As well as the series itself, Ritchie was inspired by the Sixties Bond movies and the Harry Palmer films starring Michael Caine. Wall crossing plays a major role in the second of those movies based on Len Deighton's novels, Funeral in Berlin. And the concept of escaping an Eastern Bloc nation also recalls one of the very best episodes of the TV show, Season 1's "The Dove Affair." I would be very happy if it turns out that the movie leans heavily on that Robert Towne-penned classic! Henry Cavill News has scans of additional illustrations from the print version of Entertainment Weekly, including a cool storyboard image of the zip-lining sequence.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. opens August 14.

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